Small Business Grants for Women

January 20, 2024 by Emily Garman

There’s been a sea change of late related to access to financing from lenders. Higher interest rates have also made the market for financing less attractive. With lenders tightening lending standards, small business owners are looking for alternatives. This tighter lending environment has been particularly hard on women-owned and underserved businesses. Small business grants can be an excellent way to boost funding for your enterprise, so we scoured the internet for small business grants for women.

Below we’ve identified 100 (yes, 100!) opportunities for women-led businesses to obtain funding. They’re sorted by type (available to all women, available to women of color, available to LGBTQ+ people, available in certain states, etc.) We provide links to find more information on each, and as of publication, this list is accurate and comprehensive. If we’ve missed anything, we’d love to know so we can include it!

According to the National Women’s Business Council 2023 Annual Report, women-owned businesses now represent 39.1% of all U.S. businesses, generating a whopping $2.3 trillion in revenue. Yet, they still only receive a mere 2.8% of all venture capital funding (Carta’s 2023 Annual Equity Report). This is where grants come in, acting as the fairy godmothers of the business world, ready to sprinkle financial magic on your endeavors.

small business grants for women

How to get business grants for women

Let’s talk about the act of identifying those grants that would be the best fit for your business. Not all grants are created equally, and your time researching grants is valuable.

Be discerning: Don’t just focus on the Amber Grants and Cartier Women’’s Initiative Awards (although, hey, if those fit your niche, go for it!). Explore the under-the-radar, yet equally potent, funding sources waiting to be tapped. Big national grants are great, but you’ll find less competition for grants that are more specific, such as grants targeting a specific state or city or underrepresented minority group.

Become a grant ninja: Research is your best friend. Track down grant deadlines, eligibility requirements, and application criteria like a hawk. Sign up for email alerts, attend grant workshops and network with other women who’ve successfully secured funding. Knowledge is power!

Niche down: Dive deep into your industry’’s professional associations, non-profitnonprofit organizations, and even government agencies. The National Endowment for the Arts, for instance, offers grants for creative entrepreneurs. Backing the B.A.R. supports black-owned hospitality businesses. Research is key!

Local Gems: Remember, small is powerful! Your local chamber of commerce, community development organizations, and even city councils often have grant programs specifically tailored to women-owned businesses. Don’t underestimate the resources in your own backyard.

Microgrants and crowdfunding: Think small, win big. Platforms like the PayPal Small Business Grant Program offer smaller funding amounts, perfect for kickstarting specific projects or marketing campaigns. Plus, crowdfunding platforms like Indigogo and Seed at the Table can help you tap into the collective power of your community.

Check your business credit report: Grantors may use your business credit score to assess your dependability and reputation as a business. Make sure you know what your score is, and what’s on your business credit report. It’s separate from your personal credit!

Craft a compelling story, not just a business plan

Your grant application should be more than just facts and figures. Weave a narrative that captures the essence of your business, your passion, and the impact you’ll make. Use vivid language to paint a picture of your future success, and get the reviewers emotionally invested in your story.

Highlight the impact: Quantify the positive impact your business will have, whether it’s creating jobs, empowering communities, or solving a technical issue. Numbers speak volumes, but pair them with the emotional resonance of your mission.

Embrace vulnerability: Don’’t be afraid to share the challenges you’’ve faced and how this grant will help you overcome them. Authenticity resonates with funders, who want to see the grit and determination behind the business plan.

Showcase your uniqueness: What makes your business stand out from the crowd? Maybe you’’re using recycled materials to create sustainable fashion, or you’’re employing people with disabilities, or providing products or services to typically underserved communities. Celebrate what sets you apart, and let your grant application reflect that.

Embrace the power of collaboration: Partner with other women-owned businesses to submit a joint grant application. This can boost your chances of funding by showcasing a broader impact and a stronger support network. Plus, teamwork makes the dream work!

Remember, you aren’t alone in this journey. There’s a vibrant community of women entrepreneurs out there, cheering you on and ready to share their knowledge and support. Connect with organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) or SCORE and tap into the power of mentorship and networking.

So, dust off your entrepreneurial spirit, unleash your inner storyteller, and get ready to claim your rightful place in the business community. The world needs your unique vision, and there’’s a grant out there waiting to make it a reality.

small business grants for women

Listing of business grants for women

Without further ado, here’s the list of business grants for women. If you have corrections or know of opportunities we’re are missing, let us know!

Private business grants

37 Angels
500 Global Flagship Accelerator Program
Amber Grant
American Association of University Women Career Development Grant
America’s Seed Fund
Atomic Grants from Passion Collective
Awesome Foundation Grants
Belle Capital
Cartier Women’’s Initiative Awards
Casper Accelerate Grant Program
Center For Economic Inclusion Vanguard Accelerator
DWEN US Dream Tech Contest

EmpowHER Grants
Enthuse Foundation Pitch Competition
FedEx Small Business Grant
Female Founder Collective x FounderMade Innovation Giveaway
Founders First CDC Center for Economic Inclusion Vanguard Accelerator
Freed Fellowship Grant
Galaxy Grant
Giving Joy Grants
Halstead Grant
Hello Alice Small Business Growth Fund
High Five Grant for Moms
Hivers and Strivers Investment Program
Incfile Entrepreneur Grant
Kitty Fund Mother-Led Business Grant
Launch Program by Ladies Who Lunch
Moms Mean Business
National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants
National Endowment for the Arts Grants for creative entrepreneurs
Papaya Grant

She’’s Connected by AT&T
Skip $10k 2024 Kickoff Grant
Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program
Small Business Digital Readiness Program
Small Business Innovation Research Program
Stacy’’s Rise Project
State Small Business Credit Initiative
Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship
Venmo Small Business Grants
Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition
Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program

State-specific grants

Beyond Open Small Business Grant Program (NC, SC)
Cecilia Russo Marketing Entrepreneur Grant (GA)
The Emerging Technology Fund (MA)
Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant (CA)
FoundHER Accelerator Program (HI)
Hello Alice Catalyst Fund (AL, CA, DC, GA, AL, OH, CA, NY, LA, MO, DC, OH)
Illinois Infrastructure Grants (IL)
The Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program (MN)
Olga Loizon Foundation Grant (MI)
Small Business, Big Dreams: Women in Business Challenge (NY or FL)
StartHER Grant (TX)
Texas Enterprise Fund (TX)
Women’s Business Development Council Equity Match Grant (CT)

Federal business grants

Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME)
SBA Office of Women’’s Business Ownership
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program
Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs
U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)
U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program

Business grants for women of color

Amazon Black Business Accelerator Program
Backing the B.A.R. Grant
Black Girl Ventures Pitch Program
Brown Girl Jane x SheaMoisture Grant
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses Grant
Corporate Counsel Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant
Fast Break Small Business Grant
Fearless Fund
HerRise Micro-Grant
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses Grant
Corporate Counsel Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant
The National Black Business Pitch
The Navigate Program by REI
Partner to Empower Retail Business Grants
Pepper Startup Grant for Black Women
Power Forward Small Business Grant
Publish Her Business Impact Grant
Rebuild The Block
Sage “Invest in Progress” Grant Program
SBA Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Federal Contract Program
StartHER Grant
The Transform Business Grant
VISA She’s Next Grant Program
Waves of Change Grant
Wish Local Empowerment Program Grant
Women of Color Grant Program

Grants for LGBTQ+ business owners

Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice
Founders First National pride Grant
Invest in Progress Grant
Launch Program by Ladies Who Lunch
NGLCC Community Impact Grant Program
Pipeline Angels
Restaurant Business Development Program
The Transform Business Grant

grants for female business owners

You’ve got your list … what’s next?

Seek expert guidance: Don’’t be afraid to ask for help! There are a plethora of grant consultants and writing specialists who can help you polish your application and highlight your strengths. Remember, an investment in professional assistance can yield big returns.

Follow up, follow up, follow up: Once you submit your application, don’’t just sit back and wait. Follow up with the grantors, express your continued interest, and answer any questions promptly. Persistence pays off!

Celebrate every win, big or small: Securing even a small grant is a victory! Celebrate your achievements, acknowledge your hard work, and use it as fuel to keep moving forward. Each success story paves the way for the next.

Didn’t get the grant? Consider a loan. Many avenues exist outside of grants to pursue funding, including standard loans, SBA loans, crowdfunding, CDFIs and so much more. Check out our comprehensive article about the different types of business loans for women.

Remember, the world needs your unique voice, your innovative ideas, and your unwavering determination. Don’’t let the grant process intimidate you. Embrace the challenge, channel your inner warrior, and claim your rightful place in the funding arena. Go forth and conquer!

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