One of the biggest challenges for any new business involves maintaining liquidity and consistent cash flow. Many entrepreneurs take only a minimal salary—if any at all—during the first few years their business operates, choosing instead to sink any profits back into the business. And with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting businesses across the globe, small business financing can seem more precarious than ever. Fortunately, there are grants available that can provide some much-needed liquidity to female entrepreneurs. Learn more about these grants and how you can take advantage of the opportunities they present.
Why Female-Centered Grants?
At first blush, distributing grants based on the gender of a business owner can seem like an antiquated, even discriminatory, concept. But the statistics paint a clear picture—female entrepreneurs are less likely to qualify for financing than male entrepreneurs, whether through traditional banking institutions or venture capitalists.1 There are many contributing factors to this phenomenon, but in response, many organizations and foundations have focused on improving their grant and loan offerings for female-backed businesses as a way to even the playing field.
What Grants are Available?
To begin your grant search, you may want to visit GrantsForWomen.org. This site provides a detailed breakdown of the different types of grants available and allows users to search for grant opportunities in their business sector or geographic area. Some other popular women-centric grants include, but aren't limited to:
This organization consists of angel investors (hence the name) who focus exclusively on female-owned small businesses. Grants of up to $150,000 are available.2
The Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
This grant provides awards of up to $120,000 to female entrepreneurs who need some extra capital to expand an existing business. Eligible businesses include those that are (1) female-owned; (2) have existed for at least three years; (3) earn less than $1 million per year in profits; and (4) promote social and environmental change.3
This grant program provides 12 women with a $2,000 grant, with one awarded each month. At year-end, one of these monthly winners will receive an additional $25,000 grant. Amber Grants have less restrictive criteria than many grants available, and to apply, you'll just need to provide a short explanation of your business's purpose.4
Small Business Technology Transfer Program
This government-backed grant allows applicants to seek funding for technological research and development. Qualifying companies must have under 500 employees; grant recipients can receive up to $75,000 during the initial research phase and then an additional $750,000 if this research pans out.5
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