Grants for Women-Owned Small Businesses (And How to Apply in 2024)

Are you interested in starting an independent business, in addition to or instead of your job, to diversify your income stream, build equity, and create more financial resilience?

Great!

This post is for you.

In it, you’ll find a list of US-based business grants aimed at women from all backgrounds.

Federal government small-business grants for women

Small-business federal government grants are for specific purposes, like businesses in rural areas and development projects. While federal grants aren’t for daily expenses or start-up costs, they can assist you with your business in many other ways, so let’s see what’s on offer. 

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is the central database for Federally sponsored small business grants.

While grants aren’t only for women-owned businesses, Grants.gov is an excellent place to begin your search for free financing. 

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Although the SBA doesn’t give grants to start or expand your business, it provides research and development, community organizations, exporting for state entity grants, and to women entrepreneurs through training programs and counseling.  

To see woman-owned small business grant opportunities, visit the SBA’s website and check out the list below. 

Program for Investors in Micro-entrepreneurs (PRIME)

The SBA PRIME program provides microenterprise development grants to private, nonprofit, local, state, and tribal-run organizations to facilitate training, coaching, and technical help to disadvantaged woman-owned small-business owners.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The SBA Program for Investors in Micro-entrepreneurs offers federal grants to help low-income entrepreneurs gain the capital and training they need to establish and grow their small businesses.

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs

Small businesses conducting scientific research and development can apply for SBIR and STTR grants via the SBA website.

Successful applicants can also apply for the following two grants:

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

The Department of Energy collaborates with the STTR and SBIR grant programs to assist businesses with environmental management, energy use, and production costs. 

National Institutes of Health

Women-owned businesses in the SBIR and STTR programs working to improve the nation’s health (biomedical research) can apply to the NIH for additional funding. 

State Trade Expansion Program

The SBA also funds the State Trade Expansion Program to encourage the global expansion of small businesses. 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Nonprofit and research woman-owned businesses working in the green or environmental sector can apply to the EPA for grants that help improve air quality and prevent pollution. 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Awards

The U.S. COC Dream Big Award provides grants of up to $25,000 for small businesses deemed to have made positive economic contributions. Applicants must be in business for under one year. 

State and local resources for women

Women-owned businesses can also apply for grants at state and local levels. Each U.S. location has its own grant programs and application requirements, and the following list of grant providers is an excellent resource for small business grants for women. 

Economic Development Administration

Each U.S. state has an economic development administration focusing on growing local economies by providing funding and grants to encourage women-owned businesses. 

Contact your location’s economic development office to see what might be available for your women-owned small business. 

Small Business Development Centers

The SBA sponsors small business development centers throughout the U.S. that provide grants, crowdfunding, business loans, consultation, and other helpful resources, such as the Women Business Enterprise Certifications and SBA 8(a) Business Development Program. 

U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

The EDA works with local communities to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development and is an excellent resource for female entrepreneurs seeking state business grants. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The USDA funds state and local governments (and some nonprofit and private organizations) to provide grants and low-interest government loans to women entrepreneurs in rural areas. 

State Business Incentives Database

The SBID doesn’t provide grants; however, it’s a valuable resource for women-owned small business owners looking for incentive programs. The only downside is that it charges a $362 annual fee.

Private small-business grants for women

Federal and state grants can be challenging to get; fortunately, there’s an alternative: private small-business grants.

Companies, foundations, and individuals provide these grants to help women fund, start, run, and grow their businesses; let’s see what’s available.

IFundWomen Grant

An online database where you’ll find many grant opportunities. All you do is provide your business details, and IFundWomen selects the eligible grants for your business. 

The Amber Grant

A $10,000 monthly grant where two winners can apply for the $25,000 annual award. The Amber Grant Award was named after Amber Wigdahl, who tragically passed away before realizing her entrepreneurial dreams. 

Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

The Eileen Fisher Organization Award provides grants from $10,000 to $40,000 to women-owned businesses to assist them in participating in positive environmental practices and a sustainable economy. 

Atomic Grant

The Passion Collective, a community of women that supports aspiring female entrepreneurs, provides its Atomic Grant award to enable women to change their lives and rediscover their purpose and passion. 

Winners receive a $1,500 grant and one-year complimentary membership to Passion Collective On Demand, which gives free coaching and access to in-person and virtual events. 

Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards program supports start-ups focusing on economic, social, and environmental issues by awarding 3 annual, globally available grants. 

The winner receives $100,000, 2nd place $60,000, and 3rd $30,000. All winners receive free coaching and business work-shop opportunities. 

Grant application opens on May 22 and runs until July 3, 2024.

Freed Fellowship Grant

The Freed Fellowship offers a $500 grant, free mentorship, free Fred Studio membership (their business community), and a $2,500 one-off annual prize to female entrepreneurs who can describe their unique selling point (USP) and how their business will generate revenue.

HerRise Micro-Grant

The Yva Jourdan Foundation funds the HerRise Micro-Grant to provide a $1000 capital award (a micro-grant) to women of color to help purchase equipment and marketing strategies.

You Glow Girl Woman Entrepreneur Grant

The Eat Me Guilt Free health food product line offers its You Glow Girl Women Entrepreneur Grant to support women-owned businesses. The grant includes $10,000, mentoring from CEO Cristie Besu, and a free year’s supply of Eat Me Guilt Free products.

37 Angels

A collective of female entrepreneurs who invest $50,000 to $200,000 in women-owned businesses and encourage recipients to invest in others.

IdeaCafe Small Business Grant Program

IdeaCafe offers small business owners $1000 grants and online resources to assist with their business ideas, business plans, and marketing strategies. 

Halstead Grant

Aspiring silver jewelry-making entrepreneurs can apply for the Halstead grant, with the winner receiving $7,500 and other business growth benefits. The 5 semi-finalists receive $200 to $500 and business promotion advice.  

Belle Capital Grants

The investment firm Bella Capito offers small business grants for women-owned businesses of various sizes in the information technology, digital health, life sciences, and clean tech industries.

The Bella Capital Grant application requirements state businesses must have one female founder, high capital efficiency (a positive cash flow), and reliable financial projections and infrastructure that shows they can achieve $20 million in revenue within 5 years. 

National Association for Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

The NASE awards quarterly growth grants of up to $4,000 to female (and male) business owners to assist with hiring employees, marketing, advertising, and other business needs. 

Only NASE members can apply, and your business must have a minimum of 3 months good standing.

High Five Grant for Moms

Belly Bandit, Proof, Caden Concepts, and The Mama Ladder (all brands) partner to provide the High Five Grant for Moms so caregivers and moms (including first-time expecting and stepmoms) can fund and grow their businesses. 

Each year, the organization selects 8 women-owned businesses, and the public votes for the 3 winners (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) who receive $10,000, $5,000, and $2,000, respectively. 

Tory Burch Foundation Grants

Fashion brand Tory Burch sponsors small business grants for women that provide $5000 in educational grants, access to further capital, a peer-to-peer network, and expert workshops to assist and promote female entrepreneurs. 

Grants for women of color

The Harvard Business Review reports, “Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States.” 

But only 3% own a mature business!

One reason is low financing. 

Because of that, 61% of Black women entrepreneurs self-fund their startups. 

You might be asking why.

If so, it’s a valid question.

The Federal Reserve gives this worrying answer:

“Black-owned businesses continue to be the group least likely to be approved for business loans.”

In other words, endemic racism is rife in the country’s financial system.

Fortunately, you’ve another option. 

Business grants for Black female business owners.

Let’s see what’s available for Black women entrepreneurs here in the old USA:

Women of Color Grant Program

The Tory Burch Foundation partners with the Fearless Fund to provide funding for black women small business owners. 

Start-ups in business under 5 years that generate a minimum of $1000,000 annually can apply and receive grants from $10.000 to $20,000.

Backing the B.A.R. Grant

Bacardi and the NAACP offer the B.A.R. Grant to black-owned sales/beverage and hospitality businesses.

Black female entrepreneurs who own nightclubs, restaurants, liquor stores, lounges, or bars can apply for $10,000 in grants and educational and mentor support to help grow their businesses. 

Brown Girl Jane x SheaMoisture Grant

Wellness and beauty brands SheaMoisture and Brown Girl Jane offer grants from $10,000 to $25,000 to black and white women-owned businesses in the wellness or beauty industries.

Fearless Strivers Grant

The Fearless Fund and Mastercard collaborate to provide the Fearless Strivers Grant to 4 successful black women-owned small business owner applicants who generate $3 million or less annually. Winners receive a $20,000 grant, mentorship, and digital tools.

Waves of Change Grant

A small business grant for women of color in the early stages of business who generate $50,000 or less per year, the Waves of Change Grant helps cover operating costs for one year. 

Coalition to Back Black Businesses

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (in partnership with other organizations) offers the Coalition to Back Black Businesses to support black entrepreneurs with training, resources, and grants of $5000 to $25,000. 

Black Founder Startup Grant

The SoGal Foundation offers The Black Founder Startup Grant program to give grants of up to $10,000 to mixed-race, nonbinary, and Black entrepreneurs with registered businesses who need investor financing.

Wish Local Empowerment Program Grant

To fight the impact of systemic racism on Black-owned businesses, the Wish Local Empowerment Program Grant provides grants from $500 to $2000 to stores and shops with less than 20 employees and $1 million in annual revenue. 

Kinetic Black Business Support Fund

Black-owned businesses with less than 26 employees (and who meet other requirements) can apply for a $2,500 grant and free internet from the Kinetic Black Business Support Fund

Business resources for woman

Okay, let`s finish with business resources for female business owners who don`t meet grant criteria.

State Chambers of Commerce

Your State’s local chamber of commerce often lists available grants for your area and other funding opportunities to encourage local business growth. 

Women’s Business Centers

Women’s business centers provide grant opportunities to women-owned businesses at state and local levels and help entrepreneurs identify funding relevant to their business activities. 

CDFIs

Community Development Financial Institutions support women business owners in low-income communities with difficulties getting financing from traditional lenders by funding their business expenses.

SCORE

SCORE, a nonprofit organization, gives free educational workshops to small business owners and mentors who can help you on your entrepreneurial journey. 

Pro tip #1: Make sure to check your local SBA

Your local SBA office (each US state has one) teams up with lenders to provide SBA-backed loans with longer repayment times and lower interest rates than average loans to help you start, run, and grow your business. 

Pro tip #2: Check Reddit and Quora

Online platforms like Reddit and Quora offer a wealth of information from individuals from all industries who answer questions and advice on how to fund your women-owned business.

FAQs

What government grants are available for women who want to start their businesses?

Grants come in 4 types:

How to apply for business grants for women?

Take your time when applying for grants because a mistake on your application could lose you a free funding opportunity. 

Most grant providers also ask for the following information to apply: 

Conclusion

Grants for women-owned businesses are an excellent resource for entrepreneurs like you to start, grow, and expand your vision without high-interest loans. 

If you research correctly and nail your grant application, you could get free money to help start and run your business.

However, not everyone is successful!

Fortunately, there are many other funding options available to help you. 

This portion of our website is for informational purposes only. Tailor Brands is not a law firm, and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. All statements, opinions, recommendations, and conclusions are solely the expression of the author and provided on an as-is basis. Accordingly, Tailor Brands is not responsible for the information and/or its accuracy or completeness.

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