12 Small Business Grants For Women & Other Funding Resources
Explore small business grants for women-owned businesses and learn about alternative funding options available right now.
Women business owners in need of funding should explore small business grants for women before borrowing. Grants are a viable form of funding, and unlike loans, they don’t need to be paid back. Although grants can help provide financing to women business owners, most of these grants are highly competitive and have very specific qualification criteria. However, some grants, such as Amber Grants, are open to all women-owned businesses.
Read on to learn about some small business grants for women that you can apply for today.
Table of Contents
- What Are Small Business Grants For Women?
- The 12 Best Small Business Grants For Women
- 1) Amber Grant
- 2) Cartier Women’s Initiative
- 3) Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
- 4) Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition
- 5) 37 Angels
- 6) Halstead Grant
- 7) SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant
- 8) Fearless Fund Strivers Small Business Grant
- 9) Dream Big Awards
- 10) Women Who Tech
- 11) Ladies Who Launch
- 12) HerRise Micro-Grant
- Other Business Grant Resources For Women
- Final Thoughts On Small Business Grants For Women
- Business Grants For Women: FAQs
- How can a woman get money to start a business?
- Is the Amber Grant real?
- Who qualifies for the small business stimulus money?
- Is it easier for a woman to get a business loan?
- What are women's business grants?
- How can women get a grant to start a business?
- How can women qualify for a small business grant?
- Where can I apply for women-owned business grants?
- Do female owned businesses get tax breaks?
What Are Small Business Grants For Women?
Small business grants for women are grants awarded to women business owners only. You do not need to repay a grant as you do a loan. Business grants are not easy to get, but more grants for women have become available in recent years. To apply, you usually just need to submit an online application.
The 12 Best Small Business Grants For Women
These twelve small business grants for women are available to women-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups that want to start or expand a business. We’ve included the submission dates, entry requirements, and websites for the top women-owned small business grants, so you can easily submit your grant application.
1) Amber Grant
- Grant Amount: $10,000 or $25,000
- Submission Dates: The submission deadline is on the last day of every month; the winner is announced in the first week of the following month.
- Entry Requirements: Open to all female entrepreneurs age 18 and up living in the United States or Canada and who pay a $15 application fee. Both for-profit and nonprofit businesses are eligible.
- Website: ambergrantsforwomen.com
This grant isn’t for a very large amount of money, but it is easy to qualify and apply for. Named after a young woman named Amber, who died before being able to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams, the Amber Grant awards $10,000 to two woman-owned businesses in grants every month. At the end of the year, two of the 24 monthly winners win another grant for $25,000.
Note that while you can only apply every three months, Amber Grants only recommends reapplying if something significant about your business has changed since the last time you applied.
2) Cartier Women’s Initiative
- Grant Amount: $30,000, $60,000, or $100,000
- Submission Dates: The call for applications for the 2023 grant is now closed. The call for applications for the 2024 grant will be open from May 10 to June 30, 2023.
- Entry Requirements: Open to women-run, for-profit, early-stage, revenue-generating, sustainable businesses from any country; Science & Technology Pioneer Award applicants must also be in the field of technology or scientific innovation, and the Diversity, Equity. & Inclusion Award is open to all genders.
- Website: cartierwomensinitiative.com
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is one of the largest and most prestigious women-owned business grants, but the competition is steep. Cartier offers a total of 33 grants for women-owned businesses across three grant categories: Regional Awards, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award, and Science & Technology Pioneer Award.
Cartier’s Regional Awards provides 27 women-owned small business grants (to three laureates from each of nine global regions). First place receives $100,000 each, second place receives $60,000, and third place winners get $30,000 each. Cartier’s Science & Technology Pioneer Award provides grants of $100,000, $60,000, and $30,000 to one first, second, and third place laureate, respectively; the same is true for the Cartier’s Diversity Award.
3) Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
- Grant Amount: $5,000
- Submission Dates: The 2022 submission deadline was November 2022; you can apply for the 2023 cohort in September 2023.
- Entry Requirements: This program is open to women-run, for-profit, early-stage, revenue-generating ($75,000 minimum strongly preferred) businesses operating in the US.
- Website: toryburchfoundation.org
Each spring, up to 50 finalists of this women-owned business grant competition are selected for a $5,000 grant to be used for business education. The finalists also receive a one-year Tory Burch Fellowship, a free five-day trip to Tory Burch Offices in NYC over the summer, and access to 0% interest business loans via Kiva.
The free trip includes a workshop, networking opportunities, and a Pitch Day event where a select group of finalists will have the chance to pitch their business to industry influencers. Note that the $5,000 grant cannot be used for purposes other than business education.
4) Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition
- Grant Amount: $55,000
- Submission Dates: Applications will be open from April 1 to May 31, 2023.
- Entry Requirements: Open to early-stage, women-owned businesses with high growth potential. Must be US based and have received no more than $750,000 in outside funding. Businesses must be for-profit and fall into either the “Tech/Tech-enabled” or “Consumer/CPG/Other Non-tech” category. The business owner must also be available to participate in the in-person Fast Pitch competition.
- Website: womenfoundersnetwork.com
The Women Founders Network is an organization that provides both capital and mentorship to women business owners. WFN is an excellent grant opportunity if you have an innovative company that you want to take to the next level.
The organization’s Fast Pitch competition selects five finalists to receive free grant money and free professional services each year. Through two rounds of voting, judges select the five top female founders, who then pitch their companies in a “Shark Tank”-style competition to compete for $55,000 in cash prizes and over $100,000 in professional services.
5) 37 Angels
- Grant Amount: $50,000 to $200,000
- Submission Dates: Eight finalists are selected every two months to pitch their company; business owners are encouraged to apply at least two weeks before the next pitch forum. Pitch forums take place in Feb, Apr, Jun, Sep, and Nov. The next pitch forum for 2023 is on Apr 21, 2023.
- Entry Requirements: This program is open to early-stage, high-growth companies in attractive markets, such as technology and B2B/B2C. Most of the companies they fund have between $50K-500K in revenue.
- Website: 37angels.com
Angel investment isn’t a grant, per se, as the investors that fund you will have an interest in your company. But angel investing can be a good option for women-owned startups that could benefit from some direction and industry expertise in growing their company, as well as the funds to do so. NYC-based 37 Angels is an angel investment group designed to close the gender gap in angel investing. The grant is open to women- and men-led companies (but the group’s portfolio favors female founders).
There’s a simple online application to apply for funding, and if you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll pitch your company to a group of investors in New York. You should receive a decision within four weeks of pitching, and most angels receive $50,000 to $200,000 in seed funding, along with professional help growing their company.
6) Halstead Grant
- Grant Amount: $7,500
- Submission Dates: The deadline to apply for the Halstead Grant this year is May 1, 2023.
- Entry Requirements: Open to US jewelry designers who work primarily in silver, have been in business for three to five years, and are pursuing jewelry design as a full-time career (not a hobby or part-time job).
- Website: grant.halsteadbead.com
Halstead Grants are annual grants given to emerging metal jewelry designers. While not strictly for women, I’ve included this grant on our list because the jewelry industry is heavily female-dominated, and most (but not all) of the past grant winners have been women. The grant consists of $7,500 in startup capital and $1,000 in Halstead merchandise. Halstead also recognizes up to five semi-finalists and finalists who receive $250 or $500 and helps promote their business. Note that you must submit a jewelry collection as part of your application.
7) SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant
- Grant Amount: $10,000 or $5,000
- Submission Dates: Applications are currently live. Grants are issued on a rolling basis, so there isn’t any particular date you need to apply by.
- Entry Requirements: Open to anyone who self-identifies as a Black woman or Black nonbinary entrepreneur, has a legally registered business that provides a scalable, high-impact solution, and plans to seek investor financing.
- Website: iamsogal.com/black-founder-startup-grant
SoGal Black Founder Startup Grants is a project offering $10K and $5K grants to black female and nonbinary entrepreneurs. These grants are made possible through a partnership of SoGal Foundation, Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, Twilio, Walmart.org’s Center for Racial Equity, and other sponsors. It’s not clear how often these grants are issued; the most recent grant winners listed on the website are from 2020, but the website says grant applications are still open.
8) Fearless Fund Strivers Small Business Grant
- Grant Amount: $20,000
- Submission Dates: This grant program has monthly entry periods in February, April, June, and August of 2023. The last day to apply in 2023 is August 31, 2023.
- Entry Requirements: This program is open to Black females who are the principal owner of a US-based small business. The business must be at least 51% Black female-owned and the business should be revenue-generating ($50,000+ preferred).
- Website: fearless.fund/strivers-grant-contest
The Fearless Fund Strivers Grant contest offers $20,000 small business grants to Black female business owners across the country. The grants are made possible through a partnership between the Fearless Fund (a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Black entrepreneurs obtain capital) and Mastercard. There’s a simple online application you can fill out to apply for one of these grants for Black women in 2023.
9) Dream Big Awards
- Grant Amount: $25,000
- Submission Dates: The submission dates for 2023 are TBA. Those interested in applying are encouraged to subscribe to the US Chamber of Commerce newsletter to be notified about the 2023 grant application dates once they are announced.
- Entry Requirements: To qualify for the Dream Big Woman-Owned Business Achievement Award, your for-profit small business must have been in operation for at least one year and be at least 51% owned or controlled by one or more women who are US residents. At least one woman must also control business management and daily operations.
- Website: dreambig.awardsplatform.com/
Dream Big Awards are annual small business grants offered by the US Chamber of Commerce. There are awards across eight categories, including a category specifically for women-owned small businesses. There is also a category for LBGT and nonbinary-owned small businesses and a grant for the Dream Big Small Business Of The Year, to which small business owners of any gender can apply.
The Small Business Of The Year winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize. However, the winners of the eight grant subcategories (including the Woman-Owned Business Achievement Award) will not receive a cash prize. Instead, they receive a one-year paid US Chamber of Commerce Membership (valued at $250), a promotional video played during the award ceremony, and an article featuring your business published on the US Chamber of Commerce’s website.
10) Women Who Tech
- Grant Amount: $5,000 to $20.000
- Submission Dates: Applications are currently closed. Application dates for 2023 are TBA.
- Entry Requirements: This program is open to North America-based, women-owned startups in tech that have already raised $50K in seed revenue or are already generating revenue.
- Website: womenwhotech.com
Women Who Tech is the largest network of women-led startups, investors, and allies working to increase diversity and funding in the technology sector. The organization awards equity-free grants to women-led tech startups on a rolling basis throughout the year. For each grant period, there is a different tech-related theme.
The first-place prize winner for the most recent Women Who Tech Emerging Tech grant received $15,000, and the second-place awardee received $5,000. Other past Women Who Tech grants include the Startup Tech grant, which awarded each grantee $20,000. Grant details for 2023/2024 are TBA, but you can sign up on WWT’s website to be alerted when the next grant cycle opens up.
11) Ladies Who Launch
- Grant Amount: $10,000
- Submission Dates: The last day to submit a grant application for 2023 is March 31, 2023.
- Entry Requirements: The 2023 Launch Program is open to consumer packaged goods businesses owned by women and non-binary individuals with annual gross revenue ranging from $100,000 and $499,000.
- Website: ladieswholaunch.org/launch-program
The Ladies Who Launch Launch Program is a program that seeks to remove barriers that prevent women and non-binary individuals from obtaining business capital. The 2023 edition of the Launch Program is specifically for women and non-binary-owned businesses that sell packaged goods, such as food and beverages, household goods, and apparel.
In addition to a $10,000 cash prize, grant awardees also receive a 6-month education and mentorship program.
12) HerRise Micro-Grant
- Grant Amount: $500
- Submission Dates: The submission period is on a rolling monthly basis, as a grant is awarded each month. However, the program has yet to start up for 2023; as of March 2023, the website says 2023 applications will open soon.
- Entry Requirements: To qualify for this grant, you must be a woman of color who owns a small business.
- Website: hersuitespot.com/herrise/
HerSuiteSpot is an organization dedicated to helping female entrepreneurs of color. One of the business resources HerSuiteSpot offers is the HerRise Micro-Grant, which provides monthly $500 grants to small businesses owned by women of color. HerSuiteSpot partners with corporations, private foundations, and individual donors to provide these ongoing grants to WOC-owned businesses in order to help address the obstacles women of color face when growing their businesses.
HerSuite spot says that past recipients have used these small grants to purchase items like computers, marketing materials, software, and more.
Other Business Grant Resources For Women
Here is more information on grants for women in business, as well as other opportunities and ideas for business financing.
SBA Loans For Women
SBA loans for women include federally backed SBA 7(a) loans, SBA microloans, and others. Although these loans aren’t exclusively for women, they are easier for most women business owners to get compared to a regular bank loan.
The SBA also offers other resources for women-owned businesses, even though it does not offer free grants. For example, the Women Veteran Entrepreneurial Training Program can help you get free business training if you are both a woman and a veteran. (Veterans should also look into non-SBA business grants for veterans and SBA loans for veterans.)
You can also check with your local SBA Women’s Business Center (WBC) to see what local business resources they can connect you with. These resources may include local women-in-business grants specific to your city or state.
Federal Contracts For Women
If you think your business could be eligible for federal contracts, you should also know that the government reserves a certain percentage of federal contracts for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) in industries where women are underrepresented. Some examples are forestry, construction, HVAC, manufacturing, and other eligible businesses that you might not expect, such as beauty salons, nail salons, family planning centers, and women’s apparel manufacturing.
Some federal contracts are even restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). So if you own a business in a male-dominated field, which is pretty much all of them, be sure to look into this program.
Business Crowdfunding For Women
Business crowdfunding platforms can help you raise money for your woman-owned business. In most cases, you may need to offer backers a tangible reward or equity in your business in exchange for funding. However, with some platforms, such as Kiva, you can raise up to $10,000 for your business with no strings attached. There are also various other types of crowdfunding for businesses that you can explore.
Small Business Loans For Women
Business loans for women might be the most viable option for funding for many women-owned businesses. Unlike a grant, you do have to pay loans back — but they’re much easier to get, even if you have bad credit or haven’t been in business for long. For example, you can get bad credit startup loans or even no credit check business loans.
If you are looking at grants for women business owners because you don’t qualify for a business loan, you might consider a business credit card that can cover some of your expenses. There are even business credit cards for bad credit and business credit cards for startups.
Final Thoughts On Small Business Grants For Women
Grants represent a viable form of free funding for select, exceptionally talented women business owners. If you can present an especially impressive application, essay, business plan, and in some cases, an in-person pitch, you might come away with some free cash to help bring your entrepreneurial dreams to fruition.
However, such grants are highly competitive, and in most cases, even if you win a prized spot, you won’t receive a large amount of capital. And most business grants for women are not just for women but for women who belong to specific demographics and/or whose business fits into a specific niche. There are some grants available to new businesses in general, i.e., grants for startup businesses, but these grant programs are similarly competitive. Generally, there just isn’t a lot of grant money to be had for for-profit businesses.
In the long run, improving your personal and business credit scores can help your woman-owned small business qualify for financing even if you’re unable to secure a business grant. Thus, the most important thing you can do to improve your financial prospects as a female business owner is to learn how to improve your business credit score.