7 Business Grants to Help Women Launch and Grow Their Startup

For female founders only

The number of women entrepreneurs has grown tremendously over the last decade. According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses report commissioned by American Express OPEN, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45% between 2007 and 2016, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses in the U.S. Today 11.3 million women own 38% of businesses in the country. Back in 2007, women owned 29% of American businesses. Meanwhile, black women are the majority owners of 1.9 million firms, which employ 376,500 workers and generate $51.4 billion in revenues.

 

business grants (Image: iStock/shapecharge)

 

Despite the substantial growth of women in entrepreneurship, it’s harder for female-controlled startups to access capital to launch and/or scale their businesses. When compared with men, female founders are less likely to receive bank loans, venture capital, and angel investments. In 2015, for instance, venture capitalists invested over $58 billion in startups, but only 2% of that money went to women.

To help close the gender gap in entrepreneurship, a number of organizations are providing women with the funding they need for their businesses. Here are seven grants specially targeted to aid female business owners.

 

  1. The Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Amount: $10,000 – $100,000

Deadline: Applications open Spring 2018

Female entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least three years can apply for the Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant, which awards 10 women with grants of up to $100,000. To be considered, your company must be majority women-owned and women-led and promote social and environmental change. In addition, applicants cannot have earned more than $1 million in revenue in the year prior to applying.

  

  1. InnovateHER Grant

Amount: $70,000

Deadline: Applications re-open in 2018

The InnovateHER Business Challenge is a nationwide competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration that allows budding entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and judges. In 2017, the national winner received a $70,000 grant.

 

  1. Amber Grant

Amount: Up to $3,000

Deadline: The last day of each month

Each month, the Amber Grant awards $500 to a female entrepreneur planning to launch a small, local business. At the end of the year, one of the monthly winners is selected for an additional $2,500 grant. The application cutoff for the next $500 qualification grant is Oct. 31, 2017.

 

  1. Smart Women Smart Money

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: TBA

Each year, Utah’s Zions Bank awards one $3,000 Smart Women Grant in six categories: Business, Community Development, Continuing Education and teacher support, Child and Eldercare, Health and Human Services, and Arts and Culture. Grants are open to anyone with a business proposal that promotes women empowerment or directly benefits women, low-income, or underserved populations in Utah and Idaho.

 

  1. Open Meadows Foundation Grants

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: Applications for the Spring Cycle: Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. Applications for the Fall Cycle: July 1 to Aug. 15

The Open Meadows Foundation awards grants on a biannual basis to women and girls with projects that promote racial, gender, or economic equality. However, the company’s operational budget cannot exceed $75,000.

 

  1. 37 Angels Grants

Amount: Up to $150,000

Deadline: Rolling basis

37 Angels is a great resource for female entrepreneurs and offers grants as large as $150,000.

 

  1. Belle Capital Grants

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Belle Capital offers various grants to women-led companies. It also helps entrepreneurs gain access to an angel investment fund to launch or expand your business.