If you’re a woman and planning to start your own business, it’s quite obvious that you’ll look for some sort of financing and it’s more obvious to be wary of the small business loans available in the market. But why should you take on a debt when you can get a good small business grant that doesn’t require you to repay? Though it is hard to come by and the competition is too fierce, you can get it, provided you’re up for taking challenges. There are a number of places like small business associations that help young female entrepreneurs find grants.
Here are 7 places you can look for small business grants.
Federal small business grants for empowering women
The federal government of United States offers some wonderful grants for the small business owners though those are mostly meant for specific purposes like certain research and development projects or for small businesses in rural community. Remember, such grants may not be used for day-to-day expenses or cover start-up costs; and they are not specifically designed for the women.
- 1. Grants.gov
- 2. Small business innovation research (SBIR) and small business technology transfer programs (STTR)
- 3. InnovateHER challenge
Grants.gov contains a comprehensive database of all federally funded grants. You can look for small business grants here. You need to filter the results located left side of the page to see grants especially designed for the small businesses. These are not like typical self employed personal loans.
The SBA offers these two programs to provide grants to the small businesses that work for federal research and development. Eleven agencies including departments of defense, health and human service, and agriculture offer grant opportunities through their websites.
The SBA hosts an annual competition for the businesses that offer marketable services and products to affect women’s life in a positive way. For this, you have to enter, win a local InnovateHER challenge and qualify for national semi-final round. Top three national level finalists would win 40000 USD, 20000 USD and 10000 USD respectively.
State and Local Grants
Since federal small business grants are few in number and are extremely competitive, you can look for grants at state and local levels.
- 4. Economic development agencies
- 5. Women’s business centers
Each state and different cities have economic development agencies that are focused on endorsing sturdy local economy. Even though the agency doesn’t offer any grant, it can guide you to along the right way.
The SBA funds almost 100 Women’s business centers countrywide. They are ready to provide female entrepreneurs with access to fund for business development. Some directly lend money while others just help business owners find grants and small business startup grant that they may be eligible for.
Private small business grants for female entrepreneurs
There are many private organizations that offer business development grantsfor the women small business owners.
- 6. Amber grant
- 7. Eileen Fisher women-owned small business grant
This foundation offers 500 USD to a different women-owned and operated business every month. And at the end of the year, one of those 12 grant winners is awarded with an additional 2000 USD. It’s simple to apply for this grant. All you need to explain your business, what you’d like to do with the grant money and pay only $7 as application fee. The foundation’s advisory board holds all the rights to select the winners depending on their passion and good business plan.
Eileen Fisher, the renowned women’s apparel retailer gives 100000 USD to up to 10 female entrepreneurs every year. To qualify, you should make up at least 51 percent of the business’ ownership. Also your business should have been operative for a minimum of three years and it shouldn’t exceed $1million as annual revenue. Your business should be focused on social and environmental changes.
These are some best small business grants to meet your needs and achieve your goals. All of them are created to ensure benefits for self employed people.Visit individual websites of the grant-providers and compare them to choose the best.