Business Grants for Women: There’s Still Time
Business grants are a great way for a small, independent business to get much-needed funding, as well as establish a clear goal. Whether offered by a private company or the US Government, many business grants are available every year and have an annual deadline for submissions. Here are some business grants we identified in late April, 2018 that still have open deadlines. If you are reading this at a much later date, click the links anyway. It’s very likely that the submission period for these grants has reopened or that similar ones are available. To that end, we’ve also included some good places to go to hunt down other business grants.
US Federal Business Grants For Women
- Grants.gov is the natural place to start the process of getting a federally-sponsored grant It’s a huge clearinghouse of available business grant opportunities searchable by category, keywords, closing date, and other criteria. The first thing to do, however, is to educate yourself on the basics of federal grants. The Grants 101 area has almost everything you’ll need to know before applying, what the application process is like, how the grant winners are chosen, and how the grants are awarded.
- Another US government database for grants is Challenge.gov, where various federal agencies offer prizes for those able to meet specifically idenitifed goals. One area is tech challenges; for example, investigating environmental problems, analyzing digital images, developing software, etc. Most interesting here is the InnovateHER Challenge, which is a Small Business Administration fund focusing on women’s empowerment. Regional winners advance to a national, semifinal competition. The top finalists win cash awards from $10,000 to $40,000.
Economic Development Administration
- State and local business grants are available in every state from the Economic Development Administration. This agency does a lot with disaster recovery but also has programs for small businesses.
Private Business Grants For Women
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
- The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant supports 10 innovative, women-owned companies each year that have moved beyond the start-up phase and are ready to expand. The $100,000 in grant money ($10,000 per winner) goes to growing businesses making a positive social and environmental impact. The main requirements are that the company must be at least 51 percent female-owned and be woman-led, in operation for a minimum of three years, have annual revenue of less than $1 million, and have a mission of environmental and social change. The business leadership must be fluent in English.
AAUW Community Action Grants
- The American Association of University Women is a Washington, DC-based organization dedicated to pursuing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. It offers one- and two-year grants to companies that promote education and equality for women and girls.
Amber Grant Foundation
- The Amber Grant Foundation was set up to honor a young entrepreneur named Amber who died tragically young without fulfilling her business dreams. The grant awards $1,000 to a different woman-owned business each month. At year’s end, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $2,500. The application is relatively simple.
Idea Cafe Small Biz Grant
- This small business-centered website offers $1,000 for innovative, compelling small business ideas. The idea can be groundbreaking or simple, so long as it involves a creative solution to an everyday problem. It’s not a ton of money, obviously, but the signup is pretty easy and an award comes with free publicity. Sign up at Idea Cafe.
FedEx Small Business Grant
- This deadline for this one has already passed, but it will be back next year so we wanted to bring it to your attention. The FedEx Small Business Grant awards eight Bronze Prize grants of $7,500 plus $1,000 in FedEx print and business services, one Silver Prize grant of $15,000 plus $5,000 in print and business services, and one Gold Prize grant of $25,000 plus $7,500 in services. US-based small business owners in operation longer than six months are eligible
Mission Main Street Project
- The US’s largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, and tech giant Google jointly offer more than $3 million in grants to 20 businesses each year. Mission Main Street awardees are chosen for their proven commitment to progressive goals, and women and minorities have successfully obtained grants. Any for-profit business in the U.S. with fewer than 100 employees that meets all the other eligibility requirements may apply.
There are many more grants out there from private companies, banks, non-profits, state and local governments, international organizations, and other sources. Has your business received a grant? Have you ever applied? IAW is a great place to share your story, learn from others, and network with like-minded professional women to help grow your small business.