Women have been historically underrepresented in the business world, but that’s been changing in recent years. To support female entrepreneurs, several organizations provide grants for women starting a business. These business grants for women can help you cover the startup costs of your new business while you get it off the ground.
5 grants for women starting a business
Let’s take a closer look at the following business grants for women:
- Plus: Consider angel investors for women-led businesses
- Plus: Where to find grants to start your business
Grant amount: $10,000-$40,000
Who it’s for: Nonprofit organizations that work on behalf of women and girls and the environment
Since 2019, Eileen Fisher’s grant program has supported organizations that are committed to improving the status and rights of women, and the health of the planet.
This grant program awards $200,000 annually in award amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000.
To win this grant, applicants must align with one of the following criteria:
- Help increase women’s participation in decision-making and improve women’s representation while bringing about positive environmental outcomes
- Train women and girls in adapting to and solving the problems of climate change and advocating for sustainability
- Create opportunities for women in the sustainable economy, including helping them become environmental leaders while improving their well-being and that of the planet
To qualify, an organization must be a recognized 503(c) nonprofit that’s been operating for at least one year.
Application dates vary, but you can check out the full list of qualifying criteria on the Eileen Fisher website.
Grant amount: $10,000 with the chance to win an annual grant of $25,000
Who it’s for: Female entrepreneurs who demonstrate passion about their business plans
Since 1998, the Amber Foundation has awarded grants for women starting a business. Each month, the organization offers a $10,000 grant to one recipient, plus an additional $25,000 to one winner at the end of the year.
The Amber Foundation isn’t looking for a specific business type but instead seeks “passion as well as business smarts.”
Applying for an Amber Grant is easy. After providing your name, business name and website, simply answer two prompts:
- Tell us about your business or business idea.
- Tell us what you would do with the money if awarded a grant.
You may also provide additional comments along with the $15 application fee.
Grant amount: $10,000, $20,000 or $40,000
Who it’s for: Individual business owners or corporations who make a positive impact on women and families
The InnovateHER Challenge is one of the few government grants for small business owners that prioritize women’s empowerment. People of any gender can apply as long as their products or services improve the lives of women.
To be eligible for this grant from the Small Business Administration (SBA), your work must positively impact women and families. You must fill a need and show the potential for commercialization.
Grant amount: $3,000-$10,000
Who it’s for: Individuals or organizations that encourage girls to enter the fields of physical science or engineering
The AAUW provides Community Action Grants to individuals, AAUW branches, AAUW organizations or nonprofits that promote education and gender equity. In particular, the AAUW rewards work that encourages girls to select physical science or engineering as a career before starting college.
When selecting winners, the AAUW looks for projects that reach underserved audiences and meet a local need.
Grant amount: Under $2,000
Who it’s for: Women who lead projects to promote gender, racial or economic justice
The Open Meadows Foundation provides grants of under $2,000 to women-led projects that benefit women and girls. It’s specifically looking for work that promotes gender, racial and economic justice.
The foundation gives priority to small organizations and startups. Your project must have a limited budget of $75,000 or less.
In past years, applicants could create a proposal using the foundation’s online form and email it to [email protected]. But at the time of writing, the foundation is reorganizing and will announce its new programming on its website.
While angel investments aren’t grants, they can help get your business off the ground. According to Forbes, angel investors provide funding — typically between $25,000 and $100,000 — in exchange for equity.
There are several angel investing groups that specifically invest in women-led businesses. Belle Capital USA, for instance, invests in a number of women-led, high-growth companies.
Pipeline Angels is a group of women investors who back women-owned businesses. To date, its 400 members have provided over $6 million in funding.
While women-led businesses are on the rise, grants for women starting a business remain limited. But you don’t have to narrow your search to women-specific grants.
Instead, look around for general grants to start a business. You can find government grants for small business owners at Grants.gov. The Women’s Business Center also has branches around the country that connect you with local resources.
Plus, you may find grants from private organizations. FedEx, for example, awarded over $250,000 to 12 small business owners in 2020.
By relying on online resources and local agencies, you can find extra sources for funding your startup. Once you’ve secured funding, you can also look for mentors for female entrepreneurs.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2021!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|5.99% – 19.16%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|8.27% – 35.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|6.94% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $35,000|
|99.00% – 199.00%2||$500 - $4,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%3||$5,000 - $40,000|
|7.99% – 29.99%4||$7,500 - $40,000|
|7.99% – 20.88%5||$5,000 - $50,000|
|15.49% – 35.99%6||$2,000 - $25,000|
|10.68% – 35.89%7||$1,000 - $40,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi. |
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.
Direct Deposit required for payroll.
Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.
3 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
4 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
5 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
6 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
7 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.
Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s lending partners. Information on Upgrade’s lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.