6 Small Business Grants for Women — One Pays Up to $40K

September 12, 2016
by Carson Kohler
Contributor

If I could develop the perfect product, I’d start a business.

It’d probably have to do with food. Ideas include low-carb chocolate, organic Slurpees or a wine-and-cheese package — you know, already paired.

However, I don’t have the money for that. Nor do I know anything about the food industry — but that’s not the point.

But maybe you have the time — and the perfect business plan — but just need some money to push you along?

Or do you have a business you’re struggling to get off the ground? Resisting a high-interest loan or giving part of the power to an investor (or Shark)?

Applying for a business grant might be your perfect solution. I wrote another post explaining the ins and outs of business grants and how they’re like free money.

Many grants cater to various demographics, and because I’m all about empowering women, I compiled a list of six grants for women-owned businesses.

6 Small Business Grants for Women

If you’re a woman who has a business or wants to start one, take a gander at these grants.

If the application window isn’t open yet, set a reminder. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to craft the perfect application and gain a competitive edge.

1. #Girlboss Foundation Grant

Awarded biannually to female entrepreneurs chasing their creative dreams — including design, fashion, music and the arts — the #Girlboss Foundation Grant honors forward-planning.

If selected by Sophia Amoruso and her committee, you’ll win $15,000 and business exposure through #girlboss channels and Nasty Gal.

Apply now to be eligible for next spring’s award. It’s free to apply, and you just need to enter the basics: name, contact information, a description of your project, the amount of money you need and an end goal.

2. The Amber Grant

Each month, a panel of judges grants a winner $500. Then, at the end of the year, one of the 12 monthly winners is eligible to win an additional $1,000.

The nice thing about this grant is you don’t have to use corporate language or fancy synonyms. Judges look for passionate and heartfelt ideas and businesses — from dog walkers to scientific investors.

Again, the application is easy: name, company and other basics. You just type a few sentences about your business, what you’d do with the money and any other comments you think will help set you apart.

Note the $7 application fee, but it’s totally worth the $1,500 if you win.

3. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program

This grant’s namesake is a well-known fashion designer who has awarded $12,500 to up to five winners each year since 2010.

There are a number of qualifications to consider before applying. For one, you must be a women-owned and led business that’s operated for at least three years with revenue not exceeding $1 million.

Visit the website for all the details. Information for this year’s grant application has not yet been announced, so stay tuned.

4. Halstead Grant

This yearly grant is offered only to women in the jewelry-making business. The application period for this year’s grant recently closed, but it’ll be back next year.

The winner receives $7,500 and a $1,000 shopping gift card to Halstead, which sells wholesale jewelry supplies.

Other perks include a spread in its catalogue, a trophy (best part, probably) and a trip to the company’s Prescott, Arizona, headquarters. Five additional winners receive $500, and the top 10 receive $250 — so your chances might be good!

Keep an eye out for next year’s competition. The application is straightforward — basic information plus short- and long-answer questions.

5. Idea Café Small Business Grants

OK, so this isn’t solely for women-owned businesses, but the majority of the grant’s winners have been women, so it’s worth mentioning.

For example, Flour and Salt Bakery owner Brittany Buonocore was the grant’s most recent recipient. She owns a small bakery in Hamilton, New York, and will soon expand to a brick-and-mortar storefront.

This $1,000 grant is for anyone who creatively solves an everyday problem. It’s not an astounding amount of money, but it’s a great start, so keep an eye open for when the newest application is posted.

6. InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge

This is a unique grant for woman-owned (or even man-owned!) businesses and is awarded to those producing innovative products and service that impact and empower women and families.

Past winners include an app to find babysitters, a program that delivers fresh ingredients to your door or a Bluetooth that looks like a designer bracelet.

And there’s a whole lot of cash at stake — $70,000. First place gets $40,000, second place wins $20,000 and third place takes home $10,000.

Dates for the next challenge haven’t been posted yet, but there are no entry fees, so don’t hesitate to apply.

If you’re hesitant to jump right in, look for your local U.S. Small Business Administration-sponsored Women’s Business Center. There, you can speak with a mentor about a variety of topics.

Best of luck, ladies!

Your Turn: If you could start a business, what would it be?

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.

by Carson Kohler
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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