These 5 Grants Were Created Specifically to Help Women Start Businesses
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 that actually tastes good, 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?
Applying for a business grant might be your perfect solution.
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.
5 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, you’ll win $15,000 and business exposure through #girlboss channels.
Apply now to be eligible for this 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, The Amber Grant‘s panel of judges grants a winner $2,000. Then, at the end of the year, one of the 12 monthly winners is eligible to win an additional $25,000.
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 straightforward: 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: there is a $15 application fee, but it’s totally worth it if you win.
3. Halstead Grant
This yearly Halstead Grant is offered only to women in the jewelry-making business. The application deadline is Aug. 1.
The winner receives $7,500 and a $1,000 shopping gift card to Halstead, which sells wholesale jewelry supplies.
Other perks include a trophy (best part, probably) and a trip to the company’s Arizona headquarters.
The application is straightforward — basic information plus short- and long-answer questions.
4. Idea Café Small Business Grants
OK, so this isn’t solely for women-owned businesses, but the majority of the Idea Cafe’ Small Business Grant’s winners have been women, so it’s worth mentioning.
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.
5. InnovateHER Challenge Award
The InnovateHER Challenge Award 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.
Best of luck, ladies!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Deputy Editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post for 2022.