Small Business Grants for Women – How to Benefit from These Great Sources of Free Money
There are almost 10 million women business owners in the US today, so women are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the economic environment in the country, making small business grants for women more and more in demand. If you are also a female entrepreneur, looking for a way to fund a start-up or to expand your small business, here are a few resources and tips for you.
Understanding Small Business Grants for Women
Business grants are forms of non-repayable funding given to enterprises under specific conditions to allow the applicant enterprises to achieve specific goals such as creating more workplaces or other kinds of development and growth. Besides not having to pay back the grant money, this form of funding comes with the benefit of not requiring changes in the ownership structure of the funded entity, allowing the owner to maintain control over the company’s operations. However, it is exactly these favorable conditions that make the competition for these grants fierce.
How to Find Business Grants for Small Businesses Owned by Women
Small business grants for women are available from various sources, mostly from private organizations, non-profit organizations and foundations. Federal and state-level agencies provide only a very limited range of grants and only for entities that operate in certain very specific domains, but they also encourage women entrepreneurship by providing information about finding grants, about preparing grant applications as well as about identifying other sources of funding, so government agency websites and the site of the Small Business Administration (SBA) are great sources of information.
Eligibility Conditions for Ladies Who Own Small Businesses
Each grant program comes with a different set of eligibility conditions, but most of them are available only for businesses that are 100% owned by women. Some small business grants for women take the form of challenges or contests and they reward the business that comes up with the most innovative business idea for a certain niche or promotes sustainability in the most efficient way in a specific geographic area. There are grants that facilitate business initiatives for women belonging to certain demographic groups such as single mothers, women belonging to a minority, veteran women or women-owned businesses in certain industry.
How to Apply for a Grant for Female Business Owners
After you have read several grant synopsis guidelines and you have identified several grant programs that your business is eligible for, it is time to start preparing your application. Start as early as you can – proposal writing is a complicated and time-intensive activity, especially if you are a first-time applicant. To prevent omissions and late submissions, make a checklist with all the documents you are required to attach to your application and create an agenda with the submission deadlines for the various grant programs. Follow all the guidelines of each of the grant programs and get a second opinion about your documentation from someone you trust in order to eliminate errors and mistakes, then submit your applications. Small business grants for women are excellent opportunities to help you achieve the success you want as a business owner, so apply for as many programs as possible and don’t be discouraged if your first few applications are not accepted.
For many years, women were encouraged to be stay-at-home mothers with those few who worked outside of the home being constantly scorned for their occupation. This outlook has changed greatly and, in fact, is encouraged by the federal government. To encourage women in entrepreneurship and business endeavors, the federal government decided to offer incentives to women that own their own business or hold a majority of shares in a corporation. The incentive is in the form of women business grants. Many women are not aware of government business grants for women or are overcome by the amount of paperwork involved in registering as a WBE (Women Business Enterprise). It is required that you be registered before you will qualify for business grants for women.
Once the registration is completed, the challenge is identifying and then submitting women business grants. Some funding sources will only give women business grants to not-for-profits or local governmental entities, who in turn utilize the funds to provide technical assistance and support to women businesses.
If you are a woman interested in starting a business, there are additional women business grant funds available for business startup. The important thing to remember is most grants are not just for women. You may receive additional consideration for being a woman business owner, but other businesses and individuals are allowed to apply. The most well-known organization out there to assist startup businesses is the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is focused on providing assistance that will help you be successful in today’s economy. The SBA does not give out women business grants directly to small businesses or individuals, but they are willing to assist you with identifying government business grant for women opportunities, financing, planning, and a variety of other needed activities.
Once you determine what you need a women business grant to pay for, you can begin your search for federal, state, and private funding sources. The best website for federal women business grant opportunities is www.grants.gov. This website is utilized by all federal agencies for their grant programs. It is a time consuming process, but once you register it offers a one-stop-shop for searching and submitting women business grants.
If you are interested in business grants for women that do not have as many restrictions or requirements, the best funding source is foundations. Many States have regional or state-wide organizations that will offer a list or book that shows all the foundations in the area or that offer funding to your specific geographical area. This is a good starting place for identifying women business grant opportunities.