In the rapidly changing modern economy, entrepreneurs need access to fresh capital for new products, research goals and fluctuating inventories. While large companies that have fared well on the open market for several years can rely solely on profits to reinvest, every new firm needs to set up the basics like a tax id, business insurance, etc. But to grow, they need loans to survive rough business quarters. This is especially true for small businesses.
While it can be difficult enough for startup companies to become profitable, small businesses led by women are at a disadvantage. Data from the loan market suggests that female entrepreneurs are 5 percent less likely to receive conventional business loans. This trend also pertains to women who apply for the government-supported loans of the Small Business Administration. On average, women who manage to secure a loan also receive smaller sums than male borrowers. This means that businesses with female owners struggle to obtain credit, which is a necessary part of being competitive in any market.
Economists, sociologists and market analysts have examined many factors to learn why women entrepreneurs struggle to obtain credit. Some researchers believe that women may be more averse to financial risks than men, and others state that women simply apply for fewer loans. These are important topics to consider, but the lower loan amounts for women clearly show that bias is a critical factor.
Fortunately, several lenders and corporations have acknowledged female entrepreneurs’ disadvantages. They have attempted to reduce gender inequality and build the economy with these 15 small business grants for women.
1. The Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
Female entrepreneurs who are in need of capital to expand a business can apply for the Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant. Eileen-Fisher awards five women with grants up to $120,000. To be considered for this grant, yours must be a woman-owned company that promotes social and environmental change. Your business must have existed for at least three years, and you cannot have earned more than $1 million in annual profits.
2. FedEx Small Business Grant
FedEx has demonstrated through its previous grant competitions that it is fair with its distribution of funds to women and men. To determine the winner, FedEx allows the public to vote for their favorite company in the competition. The winners with the most votes receive a $75,000 grant, and they receive free exposure through FedEx’s media outlets.
3. InnovateHER Grant
The InnovateHER Challenge is sponsored by the Small Business Administration. This women-only grant allows budding entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to audiences and a panel of judges. The national winner receives a $75,000 grant to transform her ideas into profitable products or services.
4. Amber Grants
Amber Grants are suitable for female entrepreneurs who are planning to launch small, local businesses. Each month, one female-owned business is selected for a $500 grant. At the end of the year, one of the monthly winners is selected for a $2,000 grant. To apply for an Amber Grant, you simply need to explain the purpose of your business.
5. Small Business Technology Transfer Program
Your company may also be able to obtain funds from the Small Business Technology Transfer Program for research and development needs. To obtain a research grant from the federal government, your company must have fewer than 500 employees. You can earn up to $75,000 during the startup phase, and you can receive an additional $750,000 if your research yields positive results.
6. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp Small Business Competition
If you are looking for funds to grow your human capital, pay attention to the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp Small Business Competition. The WVEC offers a small business competition for women who would like to be trained to take their companies to the next level. Competitors simply need to present a two-minute presentation about an innovative business idea. If you are selected as the winner, you will gain access to an eight-month business training course.
7. Smart Women Smart Money
Utah’s Zion Bank offers a grant competition for women in search of capital for their business ventures. The winner of this competition receives a $3,000 grant to invest in her business.
8. Small Business Innovation Research
If you have a cutting-edge idea that you believe will satisfy the needs of the market, apply for a Small Business Innovation Research grant. Your company can earn a $150,000 grant to establish research and development goals. If the goals are proven to be feasible, you can receive up to $1 million in a two-year window.
9. Mission Main Street Project
Tech giant Google and finance leader Chase offer over $3 million in grants to 20 businesses each year. The sponsors have been recognized for their commitment to progressive goals in the past, and women and minorities have successfully obtained funding. The Mission Main Street Project awards $150,000 grants to winners.
10. Mom Inspired Grants
Huggies offers its Mom Inspired grants to women who create innovate products and who are “inspired by the joys of motherhood.” Twelve mothers are awarded $15,000 grants each year.
11. Open Meadows Foundation Grants
The Open Meadows Foundation awards grants to women on a biannual basis. To qualify for this grant, your company must promote racial, gender or economic equality in some way. Your company’s operational budget cannot exceed $75,000. If your company is selected by the panel, you can earn a $2,000 grant.
12. Halstead Grant
If your small business sells silver jewelry, you may earn a Halstead Grant. Each year, a $6,000 grant is awarded to a designer who demonstrates exceptional talent with silver jewelry designs.
13. Idea Cafe Grants
Idea Cafe offers numerous grants to forward-thinking business owners who aim to trigger positive social and environmental changes in the world. Throughout the year, you can apply for $1,000 grants.
14. 37 Angels Grants
37 Angels is an organization that recognizes the disadvantages that female entrepreneurs face in the loan market. To help women keep their companies afloat, 37 Angels offers grants as large as $150,000.
15. Belle Capital Grants
Belle Capital offers grants to companies led by women. The sizes of the grants vary, and you can also gain access to an angel investment fund to launch or expand your business.