Government Grants for Women

Increasingly, women are starting their own businesses. While some of these businesses would be those traditionally-related to women, many others are not. Thus women-owned businesses run the gamut – from catering, bakeries, beauty salons to engineering and architectural firms. One thing all these women-owned businesses have as a common need: funding.

Identifying and obtaining funding for women enterprises was and continues to be an obstacle, not easily overcome. Research to identify potential grants, especially government grants for women, is dependent upon the kind of business being considered.

Government grants include both federal and state ones. At the federal level, daily announcements are made through To best ensure continuous oversight, register with for daily announcements delivered to an e-mail address. Review the list to determine if any are relevant for a particular business concern. Recognize, however, that all grants, and particularly so for federal ones, are overwhelmingly competitive, and involve criteria and eligibility requirements. And, recognize, too, that the federal government does not necessarily target women enterprises as more favorable than any others for funding. In other words, no preference is made at the federal level in regard to women-owned businesses versus others, although within the full announcement there may be areas where a woman-owned business can more readily address the needs of the funding opportunity. Therefore, do not just read the synopsis, if the grant has applicability. Read the full announcement to better understand the requirements, stipulations, and outcomes desired by the funding initiative.

By way of example: the full announcement may contain details about how a business will train and employ women in fields traditionally male-dominated. Here, a woman-owned business may, in fact, have a “heads up” on the competition, and can address this issue in new and compelling ways.

At state levels, grants vary and are increasingly hard to identify. Thus, careful and in-depth research must be conducted to ensure success in identifying potential state government grants for women, particularly as they relate to women-owned businesses. They are available, but again, are industry-specific so exclusions do apply. Time and patience are the key elements needed for success!

Government grants for women needing funding for education are available, too! While the most common federal government grant is the Pell Grant, and not gender-specific, there are numerous others where the granting agencies favor women and minority women in particular. Again, such grants – at both the federal and state levels – are not easily identifiable, and require time and energy.

Without excellent research, results will bear little fruit. By definition, government grants, either at the federal or state levels, are complex, not easily written, but easily confusing, and do not overwhelmingly target women more favorably. What they do target are particular industry types such as advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, etc. And they target certain educational opportunities for women – engineering, architectural, amongst others – for advanced training and certification.

Women involved in these industry types or seeking advanced degrees will more likely be able to identify funding to support their business or education needs

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