Business Grants for Women

Women entrepreneurs are moving forward with new and innovative businesses despite the many challenges they face. Perhaps, the most daunting challenge is one of funding. Yet, there are numerous business grants for women available. The key to finding such funding is to conduct in-depth research, and be prepared to spend many hours identifying, and then completing grant applications worthy of review.

Naturally, one of the first questions asked is: How does one identify business grants for women? Do you start with the federal government or the state where the business operates? Both the federal government and the state where the business operates offer grants, but they are not always geared toward women-owned businesses exclusively.

While the federal government offers a multitude of funding initiatives, they cover a host of concerns and needs. Obviously, some of the needs may be how to best facilitate training and employment of women in areas traditionally male-dominated. And, here, a woman-owned business may be able to offer new insights and strategies in developing a training program that offers great inclusivity. A woman-owned business may, then, have an advantage, but it will be one based on developing a compelling argument and strategy that garners the attention of those reviewing the federal grant application.

States offer grants as well, although they are much more limited, and restrictive to certain key concerns. Again, women-owned businesses may not be specifically given special regard, but if the business provides new and innovative solutions to systemic issues, the advantage may be to the woman-owned business.

Beyond the federal government and the states, companies throughout the United States offer business grants for women. Here, the advantage is this: these companies support women-owned business exclusively, so the competition, while fierce, is between women, not with all other entities. Companies such as Jones of New York, Eileen Fisher, just to name a few, provide significant grants to help women start-up or expand existing businesses. Both the Jones of New York and Eileen Fisher Grants take time to complete as the questions are reflective offering a woman the opportunity to explain how her business impacts her community, the environment, and people involved. Often, these issues: community, environment, treatment of people are key components to grants offered to women. Therefore, in order to secure such funding requires not just reflection on the nature of the business, but its greater impact within the context of community, and perhaps, within the global economy.

Women starting or expanding businesses in the 21st century are afforded opportunities that heretofore were limited or simply unavailable previously. Business grants provide much-needed working capital given that such funding is hard to secure elsewhere. Traditional loans are increasingly difficult to obtain, and many lenders are skittish about lending anyway. For women, forging ahead means identifying business grants that will support their business initiatives in the short-term and the long-term.

Understanding the complex grant world is essential. It’s about research. It’s about writing a grant that is a “cut above the rest.”

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