I usually quote George Carlin, but here’s a recent banger from Harvard’s Kennedy School:
Although nearly 40% of all privately held firms in the United States are founded by women, only 2% of U.S. venture capital financing is allocated to female-founded firms.
Read that again.
From the federal government to economic development agencies, here’s a list of business grants for women.
Every month, WomensNet awards a $10,000 Amber Grant to a woman-owned business in a specific, rotating category. The remaining categories for 2023 are as follows:
June: Business support service
July: Animal services
August: Hair care & skincare
September: Education & child care
October: Creative arts
December: Fashion & interior designers
The application is relatively simple: Explain your business, describe what you’d do with the grant money and pay a $15 application fee. The foundation’s advisory board chooses the winners, looking for women with passion and a good story. Businesses operating in the U.S. and Canada are eligible.
Because there’s no time in business requirement, companies seeking startup business grants for women may want to prioritize the Amber Grant.
Women’s Funding Alliance
The Women’s Funding Alliance vision is for all women and girls to have the opportunity to live, lead and thrive. Their mission is to advance leadership and economic opportunity for women and girls in Washington State. They accomplish this by making the case, driving solutions and mobilizing people to make change.
IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database
IFundWomen is a grant marketplace that specializes in funding and coaching for women-owned businesses. You can submit one application and when IFundWomen adds a grant from an enterprise partner, it will match the partner’s grant criteria to applications within the database.
If your business is a match, you’ll receive a notification and invitation to apply. Previous grant partners have included companies like Visa, Neutrogena and American Express.
SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant
The SoGal Foundation — along with company sponsors like Bluemercury, Twilio and others — offer startup grants to businesses owned by Black women or Black nonbinary entrepreneurs. Grants are available in amounts of either $5,000 or $10,000.
Awardees also receive fundraising advice, with a focus on investor financing, and lifetime access to the SoGal Foundation team. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so you can apply on the SoGal website at any time.
Fearless Strivers Grant Contest
The Fearless Fund, in collaboration with Mastercard, offers $20,000 grants to businesses owned by Black women through the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest. The winners also receive digital tools to help them get and sustain their businesses online and one-on-one mentorship with a Mastercard small-business mentor.
The Fearless Fund runs a national grant program, as well as city-specific grant contests in Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; Dayton, Ohio; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New York City; and St. Louis. To qualify for this small-business grant, you must have a U.S.-based business, 50 or fewer employees and have made $3 million or less in annual revenue in the past year.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
Every year, Cartier awards three grants to women-owned businesses in nine different regions around the world. The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards program is designed to support early-stage businesses that are focused on a range of social, economic and environmental development issues.
The first-place business is awarded a $100,000 grant, second place receives $60,000 and third place gets $30,000. Winners also receive executive coaching and the opportunity to participate in a variety of training workshops.
Comcast awards $10,000 grants to businesses owned by women and people of color several times per year. Each Comcast RISE Investment Fund application cycle is open to entrepreneurs in specific target cities. You can also apply for “marketing services and tech makeovers,” which don’t include cash prizes but can still help your business grow.
High Five Grant for Moms
The Mama Ladder organization — along with co-hosts Proof, Belly Bandit and Caden Concepts — offer an annual small-business grant specifically for moms. This grant, called the High Five Grant, is designed to support women caregivers with child(ren) of all ages, including first-time expecting moms, stepmoms and foster moms.
Entrepreneurs can submit an application online and share the story behind their business on social media. Finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and then a public vote will determine the top three winners. The top business will receive a $25,000 grant, the runner up will receive a $10,000 grant and the third place finalist will receive $5,000.
Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation offers female entrepreneurs affordable loans by connecting women with community lenders. It is open to businesses operating for at least two years that have a satisfactory credit rating.
FedEx Think Bigger Small Business Grant Program
The FedEx program, Think Bigger program is held annually. It has a public voting component to it, giving you a good marketing opportunity as well.
Idea Café Small Business Grant
The Idea Café has different kinds of grants sorted by type, award amount and the targeted demographic.