While women are starting businesses at almost five times the rate of men, securing funding is not easy for female entrepreneurs. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up a list of grants and resources for women-owned businesses. Learn how to pitch that great idea, network with fellow female entrepreneurs, and get the financial assistance you need to change the future for the better!
Amber Grants for Women
These grants are in honor of Amber Wigdahl, a bright young woman who passed away at the age of 19 before being able to fulfill her business dreams. Each month, The Amber Foundation grants $10,000 to two women-led small businesses, and at the end of the year, two of the 24 recipients is selected to receive an additional $25,000. There’s an application fee of $15, but applications are accepted on a rolling basis so you can apply anytime!
Hello Alice was created to help you start and grow your company. It’s the world’s first 100% virtual accelerator. Focused on serving underrepresented business owners, this machine-learning technology can match you with opportunities and resources near you.
Galaxy of Stars
This non-profit 501(3)(c) organization offers a $3,250 Galaxy Grant exclusively for women and minority entrepreneurs. Providing an online network full of tools and resources, Galaxy of Stars is supported by Shark Tank’s Daymond John. It only takes 30 seconds to apply, and applications close on March 8, 2023.
The United States Small Business Administration
If you’re located in the United States, check out what the United States Small Business Administration has to offer. In addition to loads of information on how to run and operate a small business, this site also offers resources for disaster relief and provides opportunities for lender matches, 7(a) loans, 504 loans, microloans, investment capital, and various grants. For March this year, they even have a special page dedicated to Women’s History Month, go check it out!
National Association for the Self-Employed
The National Association for the Self-Employed provides a comprehensive benefits package to its members that’s full of resources; scholarships; and discounts on health insurance, legal help, office supplies, website design, and much more! They also make sure that your voice is heard in D.C. when it comes to small business laws that affect you.
Cartier Women’s Initiative
This international entrepreneurship program is open to women-run and-owned businesses in a sector with a “sustainable social and or environmental impact.” Your application to the Cartier Women’s Initiative must be written in English, and they only accept businesses that are “early stage” and “for-profit.” More info can be found on their FAQ page. The deadline for 2023 has passed, so stay on the lookout for next year’s application.
FedEx Small Business Grants
This small business grant contest by FedEx hands out 10 grand prizes of a $30,000 business grant, as well as one US Veteran who will receive an additional $20,000. The top qualifying business that receives the most likes on their profile each day during the People’s Choice Voting period is also eligible to win a $1,000 cash gift card. It should be noted that since this is a contest and not necessarily a grant with a traditional application process, there’s a voting period during which the 10 recipients are selected.
37 Angels is a resource for women-led startups looking for investors. Their main mission is to close the gender gap in startup investing by providing business clarity through education, transparent communication, and empathetic advice from experts. They offer 2 boot camp options, both taught by founder Angela Lee, who is a professor of venture capital at Columbia Business School. To become a member of their network, you must submit an online application, complete an interview, and meet specific income requirements. Their annual membership is $4,500 for the first year (which includes the cost of the boot camp) and drops to $3,000 annually in subsequent years. More information can be found on their FAQ page.
Tory Burch Foundation
This fellowship program provides 50 women with a year-long program featuring virtual education and intensives to help their business, a $5,000 grant, access to 0% interest loans via Kiva, an online community for networking, and a trip to the Tory Burch offices in New York City. This program is only open to English-speaking United States residents who are at least 21 years old prior to the application date. You must be a female founder and/or business owner who owns all or a majority (51%+) of your business. In addition, you must own and/or operate a “for-profit” business in its “early stages” that are projected to make at least $75,000 in revenue, though considerations are being made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a great opportunity for a budding entrepreneur!
Women Founder’s Network
This network aims to provide female founders with capital, visibility, and mentorship. Their mission is to increase the number of women-led companies that get venture capital funding. Their site features virtual networking events, membership opportunities, and Fast Pitch Competition. The competition winners receive a pitch coach, a financial mentor, and a one-on-one meeting with a potential investor.
Ad Astra Ventures
Ad Astra offers a variety of accelerator and boot camp programs for female founders and female co-founders alike. Their goal is to even the playing field for diverse thinkers who prioritize mission over profit.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
The AAUW awards career development grants of $2,000 to $20,000 for women (the deadline is November 15 of every year) and community action grants of $3,000 to $10,000 (the deadline is December 1 of every year) for programs that promote education and equity for women and girls. AAUW international fellows can also apply for international project grants of $5,000 to $7,000.
IFundWomen is a crowdfunding and coaching source for women-owned businesses. According to the site, females who receive IFundWomen coaching raise 27-times more on average than those who decide to do it all on their own. There are a variety of grants available to members. By using the IFundWomen Universal Grant Application (UGA) Database, women are able to fill out just one application and will then receive notifications about relevant grants.
The foundation often lists grants for women for projects supporting economic justice, safety, and women's health, among others.
SoGal Foundation has partnered with Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, Twilio, Walmart.org’s Center for Racial Equity and others to hand out several $10,000 and $5,000 cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs.
Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
The WBENC was founded to develop a nationwide standard for women-owned business certification. It provides valuable resources and networking opportunities for members, including scholarships and grants.
DOVE InstaGrants is a program from the famous chocolate company that awards $10,000 grants to three women-owned businesses. While the deadline for 2023 has passed, keep an eye out for next year’s deadline.
You can also search the online directory at GrantsForWomen.org for grants available to women-owned businesses around the world.
For some of these grants, the application process can be extremely competitive. The money may need to be used for a specific purpose or in a specific way. Don’t let that deter you from applying, go after your dreams! Be sure to visit each grant and program’s FAQ page to get all the information you need to apply or become a member of these communities!
For more tips on financial literacy and financial health check out Annuity's Women & Financial Literacy!