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The Definitive Guide to Small Business Grants for Women

Opportunities are all around for women in business. If you’re ready to find funding for your business, we’re here to point you in the right direction.

Claire Grady
6 min read
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According to the United States Census Bureau, Women-owned businesses made up only 19% of all businesses in 2020.  

With that said, it’s imperative that we highlight any resources available that may help sustain women-owned businesses. 

Women interested in starting a business or looking for funding to help maintain their business should know there are quite a few grant opportunities available. Unlike loans, grants don't need to be paid back—making them an ideal funding option for most businesses.

But where to start? There are plenty of grant opportunities just for small businesses—especially women and minority-owned small businesses. Keep reading on where you can find these opportunities and get started on your applications in no time. For more tips, news, and resources like these delivered straight to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog below! 

Where to Find Grants

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The organizations, websites, and databases listed below are great places to start your search. 

Federal Grants

Federal grants are supported by the government to help fund research, public services, and to stimulate the economy. There are thousands of federal grants available that can be found on this site. Be aware of the requirements and the funding cycle of each grant as they are all different. Download the mobile app to search and access new grant opportunities. 

Grant Watch

Grant Watch is a membership site that offers both free and paid services. They promote themselves as a one-stop shop when it comes to searching for grants. You can customize your search on their site to find opportunities that fit you. They provide tips and updates on available grants and even links to help find grant writers. 

US Small Business Association

SBA helps small businesses across the US find funding, federal contracting, and local assistance. Their Women Business tool helps women entrepreneurs launch new businesses and compete in the marketplace. Grants and funding opportunities are available on their searchable website.

Grants for Women

Grants for Women is a database that provides information on grant opportunities for women across several industries. They can be searched by topic or name, and they provide you with a short description of the grant to help with the research. You can also find tips on how to apply for these grants.

Business Grants for Women

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Here are a few of our favorite grant programs specifically tailored to women in business. Many of these grants offer mentoring, networking opportunities, and classes in addition to their monetary awards. 

Amber Grant

The Amber Grant is specifically for small business owners. It was created in memory of a woman named Amber, who passed away before she could reach her entrepreneurial dreams. Each month, they award $10,000 to a woman business owner with a compelling story. They give an additional $25,000 to a previous winner at the end of the year. There is a $15 application fee for this grant and women can apply monthly. 

Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Eileen Fisher—the women’s clothing retailer—grants $100,000 to up to 10 women-owned businesses every year. These grants are for businesses with a revenue under one million, that are at least three years old, and have a 51% female ownership and leadership in their operations. They award companies that focus their business on environmental or social change.  

Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

Around the globe, 21 women entrepreneurs receive the Cartier Women's Initiative Award every year. This grant is awarded to women who are in the early stages of their business and are creating an impact on social or environmental development. The first prize goes to the top seven finalists. They each receive $100,000 and can participate in a mentoring program. The second prize goes to the remaining 14 applicants who each receive $30,000. They also have launched a Science & Technology Pioneer Award, which aims to recognize women entrepreneurs at the forefront of scientific and technological innovation. 

Tory Burch Foundation

The Tory Burch Foundation seeks to support the empowerment of women entrepreneurs. It is a year-long program that helps women grow their businesses. It offers virtual fellowship and classes, networking opportunities, intensives, a trip to the Tory Burch offices, and a $5,000 grant. Businesses must be primarily women-owned, for-profit, and in its early stages.

Other Grant Opportunities

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Although not specific to women-owned businesses, the grants below are great, overall options that most small businesses qualify for. 

National Association for the Self-Employed

The NASE works to support the self-employed community. They give back to the community through grants and scholarship opportunities. Each month they award $4,000 to a small business to help support the growth of that business. The grant may be used for marketing, advertising, hiring employees, expanding facilities, and other specific business needs.

FedEx Small Business Grant

Every year FedEx awards grants to 12 small businesses. The grand prize winner receives $50,000 and $7,500 in FedEx services. The silver prize winner receives $30,000 and $5,000 in FedEx services. Ten Bronze prize winners get $15,000 each and $1,000 in printing services. Applicants must submit a business summary and an explanation of how they would use the money. All eligible entries must be for-profit businesses, have been operating for at least six months, and have less than 99 employees.

Before you Apply

Here are a few quick reminders and tips to consider before you start any grant application: 

  1. Be aware that the grant cycle process can be long and time-consuming.
  2. Competition is tough, so make sure your application is thoughtful and concise.
  3. Triple-check all the requirements to make sure you qualify.
  4. Consider hiring a grant writer. 

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