Business Grants For Women
Brilliant ideas turn into practical business solutions only if the idea is supported in the right ways. The most important factor being, the capital to launch the business.
After detailing out the practicality of your business solution, the next step is to get a ballpark figure of the money required to run the business. This process will help you find out if you have enough money for your dream business launch or if you need external help.
Why Do Business Grants for Women Exist?
In the last two decades, there has been an increase in the amount of women starting their own business. The large number of women run businesses that exist today are providing jobs to about 4-5 million people. This still doesn’t change the fact that women aren’t treated equally in spite of their contribution to the world. Women work as hard as men and sometimes even more, but they still don’t get all the advantages that men do. For instance, women only manage to get half the funds for a business launch as compared to men. Women generally aren’t treated equally in their workplace either. This sort of inequality stems into other areas too such as job promotions, opportunities and salaries. We all like to hope that this problem would be completely wiped off soon but until then women should be made aware of other possible sources of funds that they could tap into to start their business.
While business loans are a popular source of capital, they often prove to be a hassle and an extra stress. They have to paid back with interest.
Scholarships and grants are two sources that can aid your business, without you having to repay the money back. While scholarships are awarded to applicants based on their merit, several grants for women owned businesses are made available. There are more scholarships than grants, but grants are usually easier to secure than scholarships.
Business grants targeted especially towards women, help them in reaching their entrepreneurship dreams. It enables them to enter the market place, armed with the necessary funding. They aren’t’ a widely explored source of capital, primarily because not many women know that they exist and secondly because of the lengthy process involved in the application for it. However, the outcome you get after the time and hard work you put in, is extremely rewarding. After all, what could be better than securing the funds to skyrocket your dream business?
What are the available grants for women owned businesses?
Several grants for women starting a business exist today. These grants help provide the necessary boost needed to launch a new business or aid the growth of an already existing business. Not every grant is available to women starting businesses in all sectors. Thorough planning and then applying will help you save time and increase the chances of you securing the grant.
The grants are divided differently by every organization. However, the two main divisions are grants available for brand new businesses and grants available to boost an existing business.
Grants for women starting a new business:
- Federal Grants: Women who are looking to start their own new business, should first search through the grants and scholarships provided by the Federal Government. The government has kept millions of dollars aside to aid women that wish to start their own business. This money is accessible indirectly through 26 grant agencies funded by these governmental bodies in order to help women entrepreneurs. The grants start from the range of $200-$500 and sometimes go upto $5000 and more. The grants are awarded to women in career fields like agriculture, engineering, commerce, development and welfare of women, and many more.
- Private Grants: Many private organizations also exist that provide free grant money for women owned businesses based on the nature of the business solution. This money too ranges from a small amount of $100 and goes up to $10,000. Individuals or foundations that wish to empower women and boost the involvement of women in certain career fields usually set up these grants. A few famous people that have generously provided private grants include Oprah Winfrey & Bill Gates.
Grants for women to expand an existing business:
- A women owned business that’s been out in the real world for 3-5 years could apply for the federal and private grants. These grants are reserved for the expansion of businesses. These grants go up to $5000. This money aids the growth of the women owned business and also helps in restarting a business that’s been at a standstill for quite a while if it lacked the capital to run.
Where to look for these grants for women in business?
If you have established that your business needs the necessary funding via grants, you still might be confused as to where exactly you could find these grants. Lucky for you, several articles and websites like ours exist today to make this research process much easier.
Before jumping into the research phase for the grants, the first step should be to plan out your business solution right to all the minute details. This will help you be confident about your business, which in turn will help you in applying and convincing an organization to believe in your plan.
The next recommended step is to do an extensive online research on the possible categories of grants. Look for grants in general as well as the ones that are meant for women only. You might come across an overwhelming amount of information but trust us, every bit of research helps in securing the business grant.
Federal grants for women to start a business:
The government has made available, about 1000 federal grants. While not all of them are women specific, they still turn out to be very useful to anyone looking for funds for their business. These government grants can specially benefit women that run steady non-for-profit businesses. If you have a record of providing service to other women and aiding the development of your country through your business, then your chances of securing these grants increase manifolds. The next popular grant category is businesses in the field of research and development.
Sources of business grants for women:
A few helpful places to look for grants are:
There’s a wealth of information available on this website. It has a list of all the government organizations that offer grants for women business. There are also a few miscellaneous grant opportunities that might be worth looking into. Logon on to http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html. Their search engine is crisp, making it easier to put in the appropriate keywords and business type to find grants that suite your organization.
The Small Business Administration has a resourceful website that has information on the possible grants & business opportunities available to women. Getting in touch with the Women’s Business Center of your state will be the quickest way to get more information on the grants available to you.
Small Business Innovation Research & the Small Business Technology Transfer
Businesses that aid the development or research of technology stand a chance to secure the grants provided by the SBIR & STTR programs.
Business Development Agency
If you are a woman of minority, Business Development Agency might prove to be a great place to start your research for grants. It’s under the wing of the US department of Commerce. They provide a lot of information on how women can find financial support for their business. Additionally, you will find helpful links to all other possible grants and scholarships.
While the Internet is definitely a great source of information, some amount of actual research in your own network and locality might lead to fruitful results. Several state and community organizations have career specific grant programs. Pay a visit to the Small Business Administration office in your city and discuss your enterprise. They will point you to the right direction and save you a lot of time.
How to apply for grants for business women
A few steps are involved in applying for grants, right from the research stage to the final application to the chosen grant.
Step 1 – Find Eligible Grants:
It’s a waste of your precious time to apply for grants that you may not be eligible for. The organizations in charge of these grants are very specific with the requirements and eligibility criteria. Check if you’re eligible multiple times before zeroing in on the grants.
Step 2 – Paperwork:
After listing down the grant opportunities that suit your business and finding the ones you are also eligible for, the next step is to prepare your paperwork for the grant. A number of documents will be required from the applicant that could include the resume, education certificate, statements from the bank etc. Make sure to submit each and every document that’s listed, otherwise you risk the chance of having your application rejected.
Step 3 – Detail out your business:
Whether your starting a new business or simply looking for funds to expand your current enterprise, it’s important to have a detailed overview of your business solution. Having an approximate idea of the expected outcome will help convince the grant organization to invest in your business.
Step 4 – Pay attention to Deadlines
There are a few grant applications that consist of multiple rounds of applications. Each of these come with their own deadlines. Just so you don’t miss out on any important dates, reconfirm with the organization about all the possible deadlines associated with the application of your grants.
Step 5 – Apply Early:
People turn away from applying to grants because of the lengthy procedure involved. It’s true that it does take a lot of time to process your application and win a grant, but the time frame depends on a number of factors that can’t be controlled. The application starts with the submission of the grant application form, which is then sent to the respective department of the organization. The grant commit then carefully reviews your application and either approves or rejects it. Expect anywhere from weeks to a few months for this whole process. Which is why we suggest properly preparing your paperwork and then applying well in advance for the grants. Patience is the key to successfully win a grant.
Note: Check Your Application
It would be terrible to spend all the time in applying for a grant and having it rejected due to a minor mistake in the application process. To avoid this kind of a blunder, having your application crosschecked by friends or family is highly recommended. An additional set of eyes sometimes can help catch a few mistakes that otherwise might go unnoticed.
Note: Apply To Several Grants
It’s quite rare to win a grant on the first try. There are several opportunities out there that might fit your business plan. Grants are a competitive platform where hundreds of people are applying each time. So it’s smarter to apply to many grants one after the other before giving up. A rejection from one grant does not mean your business doesn’t deserve the funding. It simply means that you have to keep trying until you win one. It’s never a good idea to place all of your hopes on a single grant opportunity.
If you find the grant application process to be too complicated and time consuming, there are plenty of private organizations as well as individuals who will assist you in applying to the grants available for women business owners. Their fees depend on their experience in the business world. If you think you can’t complete the application by yourself then such organizations might be worth getting in touch with.
Business grants for African American women
Out of all the women run businesses currently; African American women run about 14% of them. These businesses altogether make close to $50 billion. They also provide jobs to about 300,000 citizens. This ever increasing number makes it clear that African American women have a huge part in the economic world.
In spite of these statistics, women entrepreneurs especially, African American women face constant problems in securing loans and capital to launch or grow their existing business. To blur this line, certain grants have come into existence. Some of these grants are available to all but benefit African American women the most while some are solely meant for African American women in business.
Below are four business grants that African American women should consider applying to.
Open Meadows Foundation Grants
Startups and businesses by women, that aid in the welfare of other women and provide services to the needy, stand a chance to win $2,000 through this grant. Not-for-profit businesses stand a better chance of winning this grant. This organization rewards enterprises that believe in non-discrimination. The annual income of the applicant should be less than $150,000 to be eligible for this grant. Visit openmeadows.org to learn more about this foundation.
The Small Business Administration Office of Women’s Business Ownership offers the InnovateHER Innovating for Women Business Challenge. Three lucky women stand a chance to win $30,000 in the form of prize money. This money can be used in the expansion or launching of women’s small business. The award is applicable to business solutions that have a positive effect on the lives of other women.
Intuit “Love A Local Business” Competition
This competition hosted by Intuit, awards almost $25,000 in the form of small business grants to businesses that win the most number of votes. Most of the awards are in the range up to $5,000. However, bigger prizes are awarded annually to a lucky women entrepreneur.
Sharing the story of your small business might earn you the grand prize of $25,000. There are eight more awards each amounting to $7,500 in the form of prize money, waiting to be given away to the right candidate. This is a great opportunity since one part of the application process involves gaining public votes. This step would reveal your business story to a wide audience, which in turn might give you additional leads in securing your funds.
While not all of these programs are specifically meant for African American women, they are incredible opportunities that black women should take advantage of.
Along with these, logging on to Grants.gov and searching for opportunities that are targeted towards African American women only, will lead to helpful results. There are many available opportunities for African American women. Those who are truly determined will find the fund they require for their small business or enterprise.
Large amounts of funds are kept aside every year to be invested in women entrepreneurship. The organizations associated with offering these grants, have strong principles and visions. They are always on the lookout for the right candidates for their grants. These organizations understand the difference that talented women entrepreneurs make in society and country’s economy. Which in turn positively impacts the globe in the long run.