According to a report from the World Economic Forum, women entrepreneurs are definitely having a moment. On a global scale, about 1 in 3 companies are run by women business owners, and the overall number of female-launched startups has grown by 28 percent since 2019. Despite this exciting momentum, however, women entrepreneurs still face more financial and sociocultural barriers than their male counterparts.
In the aftermath of COVID-19, female representation within the global workforce fell nearly 10 percentage points, WEF continues. This is especially true for BIPOC women, who were behind half of all U.S. women-owned business launches in the pandemic, a survey from the National Association of Women Business Owners found. These entrepreneurs are twice as likely to cite “financial imperative” as their main reason for starting a company.
As this data also reveals, 51 percent of women business owners are either the sole or primary source of income for their families, and 66 percent are running the enterprise all on their own. But even with those inequitable challenges and systemic obstacles, women are also fiercely committed to long-term success—no matter what it takes.
Business Grants for Women
Nearly 80 percent would start a business all over again, while 31 percent would forgo at least a month of compensation and another 23 percent would sell personal items in order to keep their business afloat. With that said though, women should not have to sacrifice so much just to access capital and maintain cash flow. So if you’re a female entrepreneur, here are 5 business grants for women you need to know about right now.
This grant was created by the WomensNet foundation in honor of Amber Wigdahl, a 19-year-old entrepreneur who passed away before realizing her business ambitions. For 25 years, The Amber Grant has been awarding $10,000 per month to a woman entrepreneur in a rotational category. For instance, the recipient might be a food truck owner one month, then a fashion designer the next. The Amber Grant also doles out another $10,000 per month to a female business owner who does not meet the industry-specific criteria, but still deserves recognition. At the end of each year, 2 of those monthly recipients will score an extra $25,000 as well. If you’re interested, take note of the eligibility requirements below:
- You must be 18 years or older to earn this grant, and the application fee is $15.
- Your business must be located in either the United States or Canada.
- Your business leadership must be at least 50 percent women-owned.
- You must provide a summary of the business and how you will use the money.
This organization is basically an online crowdfunding platform for women entrepreneurs to scale their business. Here’s how it works: major corporations such as American Express, Adidas, Visa, Neutrogena, and others will partner with IFundWomen to award money to women-owned companies through a universal grant application database. All you have to do is submit your information into this portal, then you’ll receive a notification if IFundWomen matches your business with one of their corporate donors. In the meantime, you can also launch your own campaign to raise venture capital directly through the IFundWomen website. Monetary benefits aside, this program is committed to empowering female business owners on a daily basis with professional coaching and other skills-based resources as well.
According to recent statistics from the SoGal Foundation, Black women are currently joining the entrepreneurial arena in record numbers, but they receive less than .5 percent of venture capital funding. To combat this disparity, SoGal has launched the Black Founder Grant to award $5,000 and $10,000 cash investments to Black female or nonbinary business owners. Grant recipients will also have lifetime “ask me anything” access to the SoGal Foundation team. This is a unique opportunity to obtain strategic, practical advice from successful business leaders in a variety of fields. SoGal is looking to finance the next billion dollar enterprise, so if you meet the following qualifications, pitch your business for the Black Founder Grant:
- You must be a Black woman or nonbinary person (inclusive of multiracial identities).
- You must own a lawfully registered business with a scalable, impactful idea or solution.
- You must plan to use this money to grow the business, either now or in the future.
Use this comprehensive online directory to search for women-centric business grants all over the world. The organizations are filtered in alphabetical order. But you can narrow these results even further based on nonprofit or for-profit business grants. Whether you’re interested in state, federal, or private financing, it’s all here in the Grants for Women database. Not to mention, each search result has been fully vetted to ensure it’s legitimate. Once you find a grant that catches your attention, just click on the URL, and it will redirect you to the application page. Grants for Women also features tips on how to make your business stand out in the application process, as well as information on networking events, seminars, mentorships, and other training tools to help you scale. Consider this your one-stop resource.
If you’re a Woman of Color who recently launched a U.S. business, The Fearless Fund Strivers Grant has as much as $3 million dollars worth of Pre-seed, Seed, or Series A capital to invest in early-stage startups. This financier is looking for companies that can exhibit a clear business concept, a viable product or service, and at least some measurable consumer traction. Once you are chosen, the Fearless Fund claims a 10 percent stake of ownership. But in return, you’ll have access to venture capital, as well as a suite of digital tools to automate your business functions and entrepreneurial advice from a one-on-one mentor. This grant is open to all industries—just be sure you meet the criteria below:
- Your business must have at least 1 WOC founder who controls significant equity.
- You must have a quality management team led by at least 1 full-time founder.
- You must be registered as a C-Corporation (or an LLC on-track to full incorporation).
- Your business must demonstrate a competitive, innovative edge in the marketplace.
- You must show a strong business model, 5-year pro forma, and exit strategy.
- You must have a clear plan for accelerated, high-value scalability and revenue.
Take Your Entrepreneurial Ambitions to the Next Level
Are you a woman entrepreneur looking to scale your venture in 2023? What financial goals do you plan to achieve as this year continues to unfold? Can you think of other services or business grants for women worth including on this list? We would love to hear all of your entrepreneurial insights, so please share in the comment section below!