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Raising money is certainly an important aspect of becoming an entrepreneur. Some government agencies, charities, and private groups offer small business awards for women to assist them thrive.

Unlike small company loans and credit cards, grants are basically free money that you don’t have to pay back. As a result, they face stiff competition. You can put your best foot forward if you know where to search and what advantages are accessible. Here’s a list of the finest small business grants for women (many of which are also available to men), as well as advice on how to apply.

Women’s Small Business Grants

Grants.gov

A searchable database of government funded awards, including small business grants.

How to make an application: To discover whether you are qualified, go to Grants.gov, the official government grants website, and look at the section on grant applicants.

Benefits that may be gained: The benefits vary depending on the kind of grant and the government entities that participate.

Grants.gov is the best place to start if you’re searching for government funded grants for women. Male and female company owners are eligible for all government awards, and this site serves as a directory of all federal programs, including those especially for small business owners. To discover whether you’re qualified for this kind of award, go to the official government grants website and look for the section for grant applicants.

It’s worth noting that this database has a wide range of awards, so you may need to go through them all to discover the ones that are most applicable to small company owners.

Despite the lack of specialized small business awards for women on this site, Grants.gov may still be a good place to start for women searching for federal grant opportunities. The database includes nearly a dozen federal government entities.

Growth Grants from the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

These awards are given to any small company owner who is a member of NASE and can show a clear need for the funds.

How to make an application: On the NASE website, you may apply online.

Benefits that may be gained: Several $4,000 award prizes are available.

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers a grant program to its approximately 50,000 members. To join NASE, you must pay a one-time fee of $120 for a basic membership. NASE provides networking and mentoring opportunities, as well as discounts on business goods and legislative lobbying to its members.

Members get unique access to grants and scholarships in return for their membership. NASE has awarded over $1 million in grants to members since 2006.

To be eligible for their Growth Grants program, you must show a particular company need that the award may help with, in addition to being a NASE member.

You must also provide a résumé and a business strategy, as well as demonstrate how the grant will benefit your company’s overall development and success.

Amber Grant

A small business award for female entrepreneurs established in memory of a young lady who died before realizing her entrepreneurial ambitions.

How to make an application: Tell your tale and submit an application fee of $15.

Benefits that may be gained: Every month, a woman company owner receives a $10,000 grant from the program. At the conclusion of the year, one winner will receive an extra $25,000 prize.

Womensnet.com established the Amber Grant in 1998 to commemorate the memory of Amber, a young woman who died before realizing her business ambitions. When Amber was unable to achieve her objectives, the award was established to assist women entrepreneurs.

Each month of the year, one qualified women company owner receives a $10,000 grant via this initiative. By the end of the year, one of the monthly qualifying grant winners will receive an extra $25,000 grant. These grants are modest, but they may be extremely beneficial to people who are trying to start a company. Remember, there’s no guarantee that this money will be repaid.

The application deadline for each monthly award is the last day of the month, so you may apply at any time of the year for a chance to win the Amber Grant. To apply, all you have to do is share your experience and pay a modest ($15) application fee. More information on the app may be found here.

Grant from IdeaCafé

A small business grant is accessible to anybody who owns or intends to establish a company.

To apply, just complete out the online application.

Small company owners may be eligible for a $1,000 award.

Every year, the IdeaCafe Grant gives a $1,000 micro-grant to a small company owner. The deadline for applications is in January, so apply as soon as possible. Despite the fact that the financing isn’t specifically for women, the overwhelming majority of the winners have been female entrepreneurs.

If you’re a company seeking for financing, this is a fantastic award to apply for. This award is also accessible to people who have a company concept but have not yet begun working on it.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

Every year, a grant is given to 21 female entrepreneurs from across the world.

How to make an application: Here are the steps for submitting an application.

Benefits that may be gained: Each of the 21 finalists will earn either a $100,000 first prize and one-on-one mentorship, or a $30,000 second prize.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is given to 21 female entrepreneurs from across the globe once a year. The Cartier award is for women business entrepreneurs who are in the early phases of their company’s growth (between one to three years old). The company should make money, but it does not have to be lucrative. The top seven finalists will get $100,000 and one-on-one business mentorship from a Cartier-sourced expert. A $30,000 reward will be awarded to the remaining 14 candidates.

Each of the 21 small company grant award finalists will be accepted into the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Six-Day Executive Program (ISEP), which will include entrepreneurship courses, business coaching seminars, and networking opportunities.

GrantsforWomen.orgWomen’s job opportunities from a variety of sectors are included in this database.

How to make an application: Use the database to find positions that interest you and then follow the application procedures.

Benefits that may be gained: Each opportunity has its own set of advantages.GrantsforWomen.org is a fantastic website if you’re searching for a complete resource for business grants for women and other financing possibilities. On this site, you may look for scholarships and grants for women, but be aware that the majority of them are not for commercial reasons.

Small Business Grant from FedEx

It’s what it sounds like: small business grants.

How to make an application: Here are the guidelines for submitting an application.

Benefits that may be gained: Twelve winners will be awarded business awards as well as free FedEx printing and business services.

Despite the fact that the FedEx Small Company Grant isn’t specifically for women entrepreneurs, women small business owners are urged to apply. Nicole Snow, the founder and CEO of Darn Good Yarn, was the first prize recipient of the FedEx Small Business Grant. FedEx has given $250,000 in small business awards to entrepreneurs throughout the nation since 2013.

FedEx awards money to 12 winners each year. One grand prize winner will get $50,000 plus $7,500 in FedEx services, one silver prize winner will receive $30,000 plus $5,000 in FedEx services, and ten bronze prize winners will receive $15,000 plus $1,000 in printing services

The Halstead Grant

What it is: A small business grant for jewelry industry women entrepreneurs.

How to make an application: Submit a portfolio and an outline of a business strategy in response to a series of questions.

Benefits that may be gained: A $7,500 cash award and $1,000 for Halstead jewelry materials.

The Halstead Award was established in 2006 as a small business grant for jewelry-related women entrepreneurs. The prize is given to young jewelry designers in the United States, with a focus on companies that are less than five years old.

Applicants can expect to be asked a series of questions regarding their company’s objectives and strategy. The winners will receive a $7,500 cash prize, $1,000 in Halstead jewelry materials, and exposure in the jewelry business. The good news is that even those who do not win will get general comments from the judges on their company plans.

Open Meadows Foundation

Open Meadows is not now taking new applications, but keep an eye on their website for updates on when this award may be available again.

A grant-making organization that supports women-led initiatives that promote gender, racial, and economic equality.

How to make an application: Follow the steps outlined here.

Benefits that may be gained: The organization awards $2,000 to initiatives with minimal financial resources that are qualified.

The Open Meadows Foundation is a grant-making organization that supports women-led initiatives that promote gender, racial, and economic equality. The companies must help women and girls, and the applicants must be women.

The award gives $2,000 to qualifying initiatives with limited financial resources to help them develop. Open Meadows exclusively accepts groups with a budget of $75,000 or less in resources. This award is ideal for individuals who have just established or are in the process of establishing a company.

37 Angels

What it is: An angel investment organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in startup funding.

How to make an application: Submit an application via Gust, and eight candidates will be selected every two months to pitch their investors.

Benefits that may be gained: As a network, the group invests $50,000 to $200,000 in each business (usually angel investors spend $25,000 apiece).

While 37 Angels is not a conventional grant program, it may be a fantastic way for entrepreneurs to get financing. While 37 Angels does not only invest in women-owned companies, they are working to bridge the gender gap in startup investment. According to their website, women entrepreneurs make up approximately a third of their portfolio.

You may have the chance to pitch their network of investors after completing an application via their website (an event that happens every two months). You’ll get a financing decision in four weeks and may get up to $200,000 in funding. 37 Angels offers education and continuous assistance in addition to money.

Visa Everywhere Initiative

A competition aimed at startups and fintech firms to address future payment and commerce problems.

How to make an application: By answering a particular challenge question on their website, you may apply.

Benefits that may be gained: The prize pool varies between $10,000 and $50,000.

While this grant is open to both male and female-led companies, Visa also has a Women’s Global Edition of this competition, which awards two $100,000 prizes to two women who solve a fintech and social impact challenge. While this award requires a lot of effort, it may be a fantastic opportunity for women-owned fintech companies.

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) is a program that encourages small businesses

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program encourages scientific and technical innovation by allocating federal research funding to small companies engaged in research and development with commercial potential.

How to make an application: You may use their website to look for SBIR grant opportunities and apply for them.

Benefits that may be gained: Grants begin at $150,000 and may go up to $1 million.

SBIR is a small company research and development grant program funded by the Small Business Administration. Because these funds are offered by many federal entities, there are stringent qualifying criteria. To begin, your company must be for-profit, have more than 50% ownership by a U.S. citizen, and employ less than 500 people.

Women’s Small Business Grants at the State and Local Level

Check out the choices above if you’re looking for the finest small business grants for women. They’ve all been around for a while and have consistently assisted female entrepreneurs in achieving their company financing objectives.

The grants listed above are available to companies all across the country, but there may also be state and local alternatives. The Women’s Business Development Council in Connecticut, for example, provides up to $10,000 in equity-match awards to women-owned companies in the state.

Make an appointment with your local Small Company Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE office when establishing or growing your business. These groups are well-connected in the local finance world and may advise you on if there are any small business grants for women available in your region from local businesses, charitable organizations, or economic development agencies.

You may also check into SBA loans, which are low-interest loans for small company entrepreneurs. The SBA has long been a supporter of women-owned small companies, and they have a wealth of tools accessible to them (SCORE is actually a partner of the SBA). Still not sure whether a grant is the best option for you? Below is a handy flowchart to determine whether you’re ready to take the next step toward entrepreneurship!

Women’s Small Business Grants: Where to Look

Although each small business grant is different and has its own set of criteria, there are a few basic steps you can take to find and apply for the grants that are most relevant to your company:

Do your homework.

Grants.gov is an excellent place to start looking for grants that may be a good match for your company. Attending small company conferences and networking with industry colleagues may also help you discover about small business grant possibilities that aren’t generally publicized.

Make sure you’re eligible.

The majority of awards have strict qualifying criteria. These guidelines may be based on demographics, educational attainment, the age of your company, and other variables. Paying attention to these criteria may save you time applying for grants that aren’t a good match for you.

Make your application on time.

Calendar time in your weekly or monthly schedule to apply for business grants. Although it may be difficult to find time to submit applications, the benefits of receiving funding for your company may be enormous. To make your application stand out from the crowd, make sure you submit it on time.

Keep an eye on your applications.

Keeping track of the grants you’ve applied for as well as any impending deadlines in a spreadsheet is a fantastic way to remain organized and motivated during the application process.

Keep an eye out for con artists.

Be wary of grantors that need you to pay a hefty fee or sign up for a subscription in order to get small business grants for women.

Remember that putting all your eggs in one basket is never a smart idea. You should also look into small company loans for women, venture capital companies, women-only business accelerators, and other financing alternatives that may be available to you.

Final Thoughts

There may not seem to be many small business grants available for women who want to start or develop a company, but the alternatives listed above should help you get started. Plus, when you include in state and municipal grant opportunities for women entrepreneurs, you should be able to find a significant number of grants to apply for.

Do thorough study on the qualifying criteria for any scholarships you apply for, and submit your application on time. If grants don’t work out or you need more money, make sure you look into your other financing sources.