By Bond Collective Staff
Small business grants for women are an effective way to obtain the money you need to make your dreams of being your own boss a reality.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the grant process, show you where to find small business grants for women, and provide tips to help you secure funding for your organization.
What Is A Grant?
Put simply, a grant is money. Money you can use to nurture and grow your business.
A small business grant is similar to a small business loan. But, unlike the loan, you don’t have to repay the grant.
You do, however, first have to prove that you have a clear plan and that you can achieve your goals. This usually involves a lengthy application and interview process, but it’s a small price to pay to secure capital for your entrepreneurial efforts.
There are many different types of grants. From the extremely specific (i.e., providing broadband in rural areas) to the extremely general (i.e., better the lifestyle of a certain area).
Common grant categories include:
Business and Commerce
Science and Technology
Some grant organizations divide their offerings even further into categories for specific populations, including:
The remainder of this article will focus on one very specific category: small business grants for women.
Where To Find Small Business Grants For Women
Grants.gov is a federally sponsored database of funding opportunities for all types of businesses. There are literally hundreds of grants available to all, so this is an easy way to see what’s out there and what applies to your business in particular.
2) Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
As the name indicates, this is a small business grant for women-owned businesses that are striving to make a positive social and environmental impact on the niche they occupy.
One recent grant went to a local beekeeping business to help them install and maintain hives on downtown rooftops with the goal of increasing pollination in the area and contributing to a healthy ecosystem.
If your business has been operational for at least three years, you’re eligible for one of ten $10,000 grants.
To apply, complete the application online.
3) #GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant
This semi-annual grant for female entrepreneurs in creative industries (e.g., music, fashion, design, and art) awards $15,000 in project funding along with exposure via the GIRLBOSS Foundation website and other digital channels.
According to their website, Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso and other company staffers judge each application based on the following criteria:
Creativity and innovation in the specific field
Business acumen and forward planning
Proposed timing, work plan, and budget are clear, detailed, and achievable within the next 12 months
Visit the Girlboss website for more details.
4) Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
The Cartier Women’s Initiative awards 21 small business grants for women every year to female entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development (between one and three years).
The Cartier award stipulates that the winning businesses should be generating revenue, but need not be profitable yet.
Seven top awards include a $100,000 grant and one-on-one mentoring by an expert in the industry. The remaining 14 grants include $30,000 in working capital.
For more details and to apply online, visit the Cartier Women’s Initiative website.
Like Grants.gov, GrantsForWomen.org is a database of funding opportunities. But unlike Grants.gov., GrantsForWomen.org is for female entrepreneurs only.
It doesn’t matter what industry or niche your business occupies, GrantsForWomen.org can help you find the capital you need to keep your operation on the road to success.
Tips To Secure Small Business Grants For Women
Regardless of where your grant comes from, there are a number of general steps you can take to improve your chances of securing funding for your business.
1) Research Grants For Women
Before you start applying, research the process so you know what you’re getting into. It’s also helpful to research specific grants to find out whether they are a good fit for your business or not.
2) Talk To Other Business Owners
Networking with other owners is an easy way to discover small business grants for women that you may have missed.
It’s also a great way to gain insight into the application process and how others put the grant money to work
3) Ensure That You’re Eligible
Most grants include specific eligibility requirements that you have to satisfy just to be considered.
Examples of these eligibility requirements include:
Pay attention to these details so you don’t apply for a grant only to be disqualified right out of the gate.
4) Create A Business Plan First
A complete business plan goes a long way toward showing the grant administrators that you are well-prepared to put any funding to good use.
Some grants don’t require a business plan for you to apply, but including that information with your application helps you stand out from the crowd.
You can increase your chances of winning a small business grant for women by applying for more than one at a time.
Diversifying in this way helps you avoid basing your business’s success on one — and only one — source of funding.
6) Meet Deadlines
The grant application process often contains numerous different deadlines, such as:
Essay Online or phone interview
It’s vital to submit all of your information on time and fulfill all of your appointments. Failing to do so can cause the judging committee to disqualify your proposal completely.
7) Track Your Progress
After submitting your third or fourth application, it can be difficult to remember all the details, deadlines, and requirements for each grant.
We recommend monitoring your progress with a spreadsheet or online project tracking software.
Include such information as:
Checklist for what you’ve done and what you haven’t done
With this data all in one place, it’s easy to keep track of your applications and ensure you have the best chance to win a small business grant for women.
8) Investigate Other Funding Options
When searching for funding options, don’t focus your efforts exclusively on large, national grants. There are many smaller state and local grants that provide help to fledgling female-owned businesses.
The amount of funding given by these smaller grants may not be on par with the larger awards, but even small amounts of capital can help your business succeed.
You can also investigate alternative funding from banks that offer small business loans for women, women-owned business accelerators, and venture capital firms.
It may take a bit of extra work, but the benefits to your business can be well worth the effort.
Maximize Your Grant With A Professional Workplace
A significant expense for any burgeoning business endeavor is workspace.
And if you’re fortunate enough to win a grant, you may be wondering how you can provide a well-appointed, professional-looking workplace without locking yourself into a long-term lease and without burning through all of your hard-earned capital.
The answer is simple: base your fledgling operation in a coworking space like those at Bond Collective.
Bond Collective offers thoughtfully curated boutique work environments that provide an unmatched experience for you and your team.
In addition to beautiful and inspiring workspaces, Bond Collective also offers a long list of amenities, including:
Fast, reliable WiFi and Ethernet connections
Unlimited black-and-white printing
Conference rooms for 2 or 20+
Mail and package handling
Private meeting and phone booths
Guest reception and greeting
Daily porter service
Nightly office cleaning
Secure bike storage
When you don’t have to think about these features — they’re simply available whenever you need them — you and your team can focus all of your efforts on growing your business toward success.
Maximize your small business grant for women by taking advantage of all that Bond Collective has to offer.
Visit any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including workspaces in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas. Or call us today to find out more about everything we have to offer.
And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.