Small Business Grants for Women (2024 Guide)

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Woman Entrepreneurs

As women continue to make strides in the business world, access to capital remains a critical factor in their success. Whether they are starting a new venture or expanding an existing one, women entrepreneurs often face unique challenges in securing funding. To level the playing field and promote gender equality in entrepreneurship, numerous organizations offer small business grants specifically tailored to women-owned businesses. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various small business grants for women entrepreneurs, providing valuable insights and resources to help them thrive in their entrepreneurial journey.

The Importance of Small Business Grants for Women

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Starting and growing a business requires sufficient capital. However, studies have shown that women entrepreneurs face significant obstacles when it comes to obtaining conventional business loans and government-supported loans. They are less likely to receive loans compared to their male counterparts, and even when they do, the loan amounts tend to be smaller. This gender disparity highlights the need for alternative funding sources, such as small business grants, to empower women in business and foster their economic growth.

Private Small Business Grants for Women

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Private corporations and organizations recognize the importance of supporting women-owned businesses and have established grant programs specifically tailored to their needs. Here are some notable private small business grants for women:

1. Amber Grant

The Amber Grant, provided by WomensNet, offers monthly grants of at least $30,000 to female entrepreneurs. Each month, the organization awards a $10,000 Amber Grant, a $10,000 Start Up Grant for businesses in the idea phase, and a $10,000 Business Category Grant for businesses in specific categories. Additionally, at the end of each year, three $25,000 annual grants are awarded to the monthly grant winners. The application process is straightforward, and grants are awarded on a rolling basis.

2. The Papaya Grant

The Papaya Grant awards a $10,000 grant to one female entrepreneur to start or expand her business. While the application period for this year’s grant has ended, it’s worth keeping an eye on their website for future grant opportunities.

3. Giving Joy

Giving Joy provides grants ranging from $250 to $500 to U.S. women to help fund their entrepreneurial dreams. The grants can be used to start or expand a business, non-profit, charity, or project. Applications for Giving Joy grants are open until April 30, 2024, with awards being announced in August 2024.

4. EmpowHER Grant

The Boundless Futures Foundation awards EmpowHER grants of up to $25,000 to female entrepreneurs aged 22 and older. The grants are specifically for businesses that address social issues, and recipients also gain access to a network of business advisors for long-term planning support.

5. Ladies Who Launch

The Launch Program, funded by Ladies Who Launch, provides $10,000 grants, mentoring, and education to women and non-binary small business owners. Applications for the 2024 awards will open in February 2024.

Grants for Black or Latina Women

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Women of color face additional economic challenges in accessing funding for their businesses. However, there are grants available specifically for Black or Latina women entrepreneurs. Here are a few notable grant programs:

1. Women of Color Grant Program

The Women of Color Grant Program, sponsored by the Tory Burch Foundation, awards grants of $10,000 or $20,000 to 75 businesses owned by women of color. Preference is given to businesses that have been operating for one to five years and have generated at least $100,000 in revenue. Keep an eye on the website for updates on the next grant cycle.

2. Publish Her Business Impact Grant

The Business Impact Grant (BIG) awards a $5,000 grant to a woman of color who is making a difference through her business. To be eligible, the business must be at least a year old, have annual revenue of $50,000 or more, and the applicant must be at least 21 years old. Applications open in June.

3. Sage Invest in Progress Grant

The Sage Invest in Progress Grant, in partnership with the BOSS network, provides 25 grants of $10,000 each to Black women entrepreneurs. Applicants must have been in business for no longer than five years.

Location-Specific Grants for Women Entrepreneurs

In addition to national grant programs, there are location-specific grants available for women entrepreneurs in certain regions or states. Here are a few examples:

1. Vanguard Accelerator

The Vanguard Accelerator provides grants and forgivable loans to businesses owned by Latinas and/or Black women in the Minneapolis St. Paul area. The program offers 10 $5,000 business grants, program scholarships, and access to forgivable loans ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.

2. Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation

The Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation awards grants of up to $10,000 to women entrepreneurs who live and operate a business in Michigan. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and submit a business plan.

3. StartHER Grant

The StartHER grant program, through the Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Women’s University, offers grants of $5,000 to 25 businesses in Texas. To qualify, the business must be at least 51% owned by women and located in Texas.

Grant Databases

To simplify the grant application process, several databases aggregate information about various grants for business owners. These databases provide a centralized resource for finding and applying for multiple grants with a single application. Here are two notable grant databases:

1. iFundWomen

iFundWomen is a grant database that allows entrepreneurs to apply for multiple grants by filling out a single universal application. The database includes grants from well-known companies such as American Express, Visa, Unilever, and adidas.

2. Hello Alice

Hello Alice is a platform that offers a single application for multiple grants, along with knowledge, networking, and connections for entrepreneurs. It constantly updates its database with new grants, so entrepreneurs can stay informed about upcoming opportunities.

Grants for Everyone

While some grants are specifically targeted towards women, there are also grant opportunities available to entrepreneurs regardless of gender. Here are a few grants open to all:

1. Freed Fellowship Grant

The Freed Fellowship awards a $500 grant to the owner of an existing U.S. business every month. Monthly recipients are also eligible for one of two year-end grants of $2,500. Membership in the Freed Studio is required to be eligible for the grant.

2. SheaMoisture Fund

The SheaMoisture Fund offers grants and purpose programs to small, Black-owned businesses. The Next Black Millionaires program awards $100,000 grants, along with business development services and retail distribution support.

3. Stacy’s Rise Project

Stacy’s Rise Project provides $25,000 grants, mentorship by PepsiCo executives, networking opportunities, and exposure on for women-founded businesses.

Successful Grant Application Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs

Securing funding through small business grants can significantly impact the growth and success of women-led enterprises. However, navigating the grant application process requires strategy, insight, and attention to detail. Here are some effective strategies tailored specifically for women entrepreneurs seeking grant opportunities:

Understand the Grantor’s Objectives: Each grant has its unique set of goals and criteria. It’s crucial to thoroughly understand what the grantor is looking to achieve and tailor your application to align with these objectives. Demonstrating how your business goals complement the grantor’s mission can significantly enhance your application’s appeal.

Craft a Compelling Narrative: Storytelling is a powerful tool in grant applications. Share your journey as a woman entrepreneur, the challenges you’ve faced, and how you’ve overcome them. Highlight the uniqueness of your business and its impact on the community or market. A compelling narrative can make your application stand out and resonate with the grant evaluators.

Showcase Your Business’s Impact: Clearly articulate how the grant will fuel your business’s growth and what specific outcomes you anticipate. Include data and evidence to support your claims. If your business has a social impact, emphasize how the grant will help expand this positive influence.

Prepare a Detailed Business Plan: A well-structured business plan demonstrates your commitment and the viability of your business. It should outline your business model, market analysis, financial projections, and how the grant funds will be utilized. A strong business plan can reassure grantors that their investment will be put to good use.

Highlight Your Achievements: Don’t be shy about sharing your successes. Whether it’s previous business milestones, community work, or awards, highlighting these achievements can build credibility and trust with the grant committee.

Seek Feedback Before Submitting: Before finalizing your application, seek feedback from mentors, business advisors, or fellow entrepreneurs. Fresh eyes can provide valuable insights and help catch any errors or areas for improvement.

Adhere to Application Guidelines: This might seem obvious, but strictly following the application instructions is crucial. Ensure that all questions are answered thoroughly and that you meet all eligibility requirements. Pay attention to deadlines and submission formats to avoid disqualification.

Follow Up and Show Persistence: After submitting your grant application, consider following up with the grantor to express your continued interest and availability for any additional information. If your application is not successful, seek feedback and use it to improve future applications. Persistence and resilience are key traits of successful entrepreneurs.

By employing these strategies, women entrepreneurs can enhance their chances of securing grant funding. Remember, grant writing is both an art and a science; it requires clear communication, strategic thinking, and a touch of creativity. While the process can be challenging, the potential rewards make it a worthwhile endeavor for any woman looking to grow her business and achieve her entrepreneurial dreams.

Networking and Mentorship Opportunities for Women in Business

Building a strong network is crucial for any entrepreneur, but for women, it can be especially valuable. Networking offers the chance to meet like-minded professionals, gain advice, and open doors to new business opportunities. Women-focused networking groups, such as Women in Business Networking (WiBN) or the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), provide platforms where female entrepreneurs can connect, share experiences, and support each other’s growth. Attending industry conferences, joining local business groups, and participating in online forums are also excellent ways to expand your professional network.

The Power of Mentorship

Mentorship can be a game-changer in the entrepreneurial journey, offering guidance, support, and wisdom from experienced business leaders. Women entrepreneurs should seek out mentors who can provide insights based on their own successes and challenges. Organizations like SCORE and MicroMentor offer free business mentoring services, including those specifically aimed at supporting women in business. Furthermore, mentorship doesn’t only have to come from formal arrangements; informal mentorship can occur naturally through networking events and professional associations.

Leveraging Online Platforms

In today’s digital age, online platforms offer vast opportunities for networking and mentorship. LinkedIn, for instance, is an invaluable tool for connecting with other business professionals, joining industry-specific groups, and participating in discussions. Websites like can help you find local networking events or groups dedicated to women entrepreneurs. Additionally, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook offer access to a global community of business leaders, influencers, and potential mentors.

Creating Your Support Network

Beyond formal networking and mentorship programs, building your own support network of peers, colleagues, and advisors can provide a solid foundation for your business endeavors. This could involve forming a mastermind group, joining or creating a Slack channel for female entrepreneurs, or setting up regular meet-ups with local business owners. The key is to cultivate a community that encourages mutual support, collaboration, and accountability.

Benefits of Diverse Networks

While connecting with other women in business is essential, diversifying your network can provide broader perspectives and opportunities. Engage with professionals from different industries, backgrounds, and experiences to enrich your understanding and approach to business. A diverse network can introduce you to new ideas, potential clients, and different ways of thinking, contributing to your personal and professional growth.

In summary, networking and mentorship play indispensable roles in the success of women entrepreneurs. By actively seeking out these opportunities and building meaningful relationships, women in business can navigate challenges more effectively, accelerate their growth, and pave the way for future success. Remember, the strength of your network can significantly impact the trajectory of your entrepreneurial journey, making it a critical aspect of your business strategy.

Innovations in Funding: Exploring Alternative Finance Options

The landscape of business funding is evolving rapidly, offering new and innovative ways for women entrepreneurs to secure the capital they need. Beyond traditional loans and grants, options such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and revenue-based financing are gaining popularity. These alternatives can provide more flexible terms and may be more accessible for businesses that don’t meet the strict criteria of traditional lenders.

Crowdfunding: A Community-Based Approach

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe allow entrepreneurs to raise funds directly from the public. This method not only helps in gathering financial support but also in validating your business idea and gaining early customers. Women entrepreneurs can leverage crowdfunding to showcase their products or services, tell their story, and build a community of supporters.

Peer-to-Peer Lending: Bypassing Traditional Banks

Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms connect borrowers directly with individual lenders, bypassing traditional financial institutions. Platforms like Lending Club and Prosper offer an alternative for obtaining business loans, often with less stringent requirements and quicker approval processes. This can be an excellent option for women entrepreneurs looking for competitive loan rates and a more personalized lending experience.

Revenue-Based Financing: Aligning Payments with Income

Revenue-based financing is an innovative funding solution where repayments are tied to the business’s monthly revenue. This model can be particularly advantageous for businesses with fluctuating income, as it aligns loan repayments with actual cash flow. Companies like Lighter Capital and Clearbanc offer revenue-based financing options tailored to the needs of growing startups and SMEs.

Angel Investors and Venture Capital: Seeking Equity Investments

While more traditional, the realms of angel investing and venture capital are also innovating to be more inclusive and supportive of women entrepreneurs. Networks like Golden Seeds and Female Founders Fund specifically focus on investing in women-led businesses. While these options involve giving up equity, they also provide valuable capital and business expertise.

Microloans: Small Loans for Emerging Entrepreneurs

Microloans are designed for small startups or entrepreneurs who need a smaller amount of capital. Organizations like Kiva and Grameen America specialize in microloans and often have programs specifically aimed at supporting women entrepreneurs. These loans can be perfect for those starting out or looking to make a modest investment in their business.

Utilizing Fintech Solutions for Business Finance

The rise of financial technology (fintech) has led to the development of new funding platforms tailored to the unique needs of small businesses. Fintech solutions can offer quicker loan approvals, more flexible terms, and innovative financing products compared to traditional banks. Women entrepreneurs should explore fintech options like Fundbox or Square Capital as potential sources for business funding.

By exploring these innovative funding options, women entrepreneurs can find the right financial solutions to start and grow their businesses. Each option has its own set of advantages and considerations, so it’s important to assess your business’s needs, goals, and financial health when deciding the best path forward. Diversifying your funding sources can also mitigate risks and increase the resilience of your business in the ever-changing economic landscape.


Small business grants for women play a crucial role in empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs. These grants provide much-needed capital that can help women-owned businesses start, grow, and thrive. By exploring the various grant opportunities available, women entrepreneurs can unlock new avenues for success and achieve their entrepreneurial aspirations. Whether through private grants, location-specific programs, or databases that simplify the application process, women entrepreneurs have access to resources that can propel their businesses forward. By harnessing these opportunities, women entrepreneurs can break barriers, challenge gender disparities, and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse business landscape.

FAQ Section: Funding and Financial Support for Businesses

How do I get money to start a business?

To fund your startup, consider several options: savings, loans from friends or family, bank loans, venture capital, crowdfunding platforms, angel investors, or government grants. The best choice depends on your business type, creditworthiness, and willingness to share equity.

Is it easy for a woman to get a business loan?

While challenges exist, many institutions now offer programs specifically for women entrepreneurs. Organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and various non-profits provide loans, grants, and resources aimed at supporting women in business.

What is the $10,000 grant for small businesses in Wisconsin?

The $10,000 grant refers to specific programs like the “We’re All In Small Business Grant” provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), aimed at supporting small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Details and eligibility can vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest updates from WEDC or similar entities.

How do I write a grant proposal for a small business?

Writing a grant proposal involves several key steps: Research potential grants to ensure your business is eligible, follow the application instructions carefully, include a detailed business plan that outlines your objectives, budget, and the impact the grant will have on your business, and proofread your proposal to ensure it’s clear and error-free.

Is the government giving out money to start a business?

The government offers various grants and loans to help start businesses, especially for specific groups like veterans, women, or minority-owned businesses, and sectors like technology, education, and healthcare. Check federal, state, and local government websites for available programs.

Do I have to pay back the Wisconsin grant?

Most grants, including those offered by the state of Wisconsin for small businesses, do not require repayment. However, it’s crucial to read the terms and conditions of each grant carefully, as obligations may include reporting on how the funds were used.

What is the easiest SBA loan to get approved for?

The SBA 7(a) loan program is often considered one of the easiest SBA loans to qualify for due to its flexibility and the variety of uses for the loan, such as working capital, debt refinancing, and purchasing equipment. The exact requirements can vary, so consulting with an SBA-approved lender is advisable.

How can I start a business with no money?

Starting a business with no money might involve leveraging personal skills and resources, bootstrapping, or finding a co-founder with financial resources. Other strategies include pre-selling your product, crowdfunding, applying for grants, or seeking out angel investors.

Is the IRS giving startups money?

The IRS does not directly give money to startups. However, startups can benefit from various tax credits and deductions designed to encourage business growth and innovation, such as the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. It’s beneficial to consult with a tax professional to maximize these opportunities.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng; Unsplash – Thank you!

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for and many more major media outlets.