• Pailor Team

6 Business Grants for Women

Funding can make or break a business. Many start-ups die, and numerous small enterprises do not take off or expand because of a lack of capital. It is especially hard for female entrepreneurs who, according to statistics, are less likely to receive traditional small business loans. When they do, the funding is usually lower than that of their male counterparts.

It is under this backdrop that many private organizations and non-profits, as well as government entities fund grant programs that target women-owned businesses. Their efforts are explicitly aimed at leveling the entrepreneurial playing field for women business owners. For female entrepreneurs, understanding what these grants are and how to apply for them can provide the much-needed capital to grow and expand their businesses.


Small Business Grants for Women


Grants are great funding sources because, unlike loans, one does not have to pay back the money awarded. As such, the competition for these grants is often very high and includes an intensive application process. Here's a list of six great small business grants for women-owned businesses and the qualification requirements.


1. Government Grants

Grants.gov is a database for all federally sponsored grants. While it is open for both male and female business owners, it is the best place for female entrepreneurs to find federal grants for female business owners. The site's database has all federal grants, including those specific to small businesses. Women business owners can visit the grant applicants section to apply for assistance based on eligibility.


2. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program

This is one of the best known, women-focused grant programs. It awards a maximum of $40,000 per recipient grant to deserving female small business owners. It targets women-owned non-profits that impact positively on the environment and rights of women.

Requirements: Have a female executive leader. Engage and train women in sustainable economy and climate change adaptation. You can find more details here.


3. Amber Grant Foundation

This foundation awards $10,000 to one female business owner every month. One of the 12 recipients for the year gets an additional $25,000 year-end grant in December. The program is geared to helping women business owners achieve their entrepreneurial goals in honor of Amber, a young woman who died before fulfilling hers.


Requirements: Looks for female owners passionate about their ventures. Tell a story about your business and what you intend to do if awarded the money. Find more details on the application process on the site.


4. Girlboss Foundation Grant


This foundation is exclusive to women business owners in the design, music and art industries. Two female entrepreneurs that display creativity, innovation and forward planning in the above sectors are awarded $15,000 every year plus online exposure via Girlboss' website.


Requirements: Samples of your creative works and a comprehensive plan on how you'll use the grant money.


5. Cartier Women's Initiative Award


This award aims to propel women business owners worldwide to their entrepreneurial success. Twenty-one finalists are chosen from the pool of applicants and receive business mentoring and media visibility. From the 21, seven are awarded $100,000. Cartier provides them with an expert for one-on-one mentoring. The remaining 14 winners get $30,000 in prize money.


Requirements: Early-stage, for-profit business. Must participate in the January to April Cartier program.


6. FedEx Small Business Grant


This program is not technically only for women business owners, but encourages women to apply by its policy of fairly awarding grants to both men and women. There are a total of 10 winners every year. The $25,000 grand prize is awarded to one winner, and a $15,000 silver prize to another. The eight remaining winners get $7,500 each. All winners also receive FedEx printing and business services.


Requirements: Your business must be more than six months old, with no more than 99 employees, and not a non-profit. Find more information here.  


Join the Community


As a female business owner, you need to belong to a community that will offer the support, ideas and morale needed to stir your firm to higher levels. Pailor is the fastest growing female business owners' community in the United States. We come together for peer learning, access capital and strategic services.

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