$10K, $3K Grants For Women-led Startups Announced By Women Who Tech
Tech startups led by women now have a new avenue for grant funding thanks to a program run through Women Who Tech, a nonprofit focused on helping women grow their startups.
Two grants are on offer — one for $10,000 and another for $3,000. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM, August 23.
The new program, dubbed the COVID-19 Tech Challenge, was announced Wednesday by Women Who Tech.
“During this pandemic, we have seen how societal and industrial vulnerabilities have been exposed, and diverse perspectives are vital to address these unique challenges,” Women Who Tech founder Allyson Kapin said in a statement. “If we want to find safe and effective treatments while also addressing the critical challenges that have emerged, then we need to fund the best startups to bring these products to market.”
The COVID-19 Tech Challenge is open to North American tech startups that have at least one woman founder or co-founder. Eligible startups must also have a product that solves a problem stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Suggested areas of focuses for eligible startups include:
- HealthTech and BioTech
- Future of work
- Civic engagement tech
In total, five finalists will be chosen, with two of those winning the grants. One-on-one pitch coaching is also offered as a prize.
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How To Apply For Women Who Tech’s COVID-19 Grant
Those interested in receiving funding through Women Who Tech’s COVID-19 Tech Challenge can apply online until the end of August 23.
Besides needing to have been founded or co-founded by at least one woman, eligible tech startups must also have:
- A COVID-19-related tech product that’s at the prototype stage or already launched.
- Raised at least $50,000 in a seed round of funding or be generating monthly recurring revenue.
- Raised less than $5 million combined.
Additionally, eligible applicants must be:
- A full-time team with at least two or more people.
- Located in North America.
Women Who Tech also asks for startups to be “fast growing with degrees of innovation” as well as presenting original ideas, or ideas that build upon something without infringements.
Note that previous winners of Women Who Tech grants aren’t eligible to apply.
Sponsors Hope To Help Bridge The Gender Gap
While the gender divide in the business world is often discussed, this gulf is quite drastic among tech startups. This is something the COVID-19 Tech Challenge’s sponsors — which include Craig Newmark Philanthropies, RAD Campaign, and Donna Griffit Corporate Storyteller — aren’t overlooking.
“When it comes down to funding diverse-led startups, we as an industry continue to not do enough to lay the groundwork for equal access to these opportunities,” said Craig Newmark, the Craigslist founder and a member of the Advisory Board for Women Who Tech, in a statement. “Look at the data — women entrepreneurs continue to bring in more revenue with less money invested. It’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”
The data Newmark references comes from PitchBook, a financial data company that reported that only 2.7% of venture capital investments in 2019 went to women-backed startups.
Women in leadership roles also report more difficulties in raising funds. A 2019 survey by January Ventures (then Jane VC) discovered that 55% of female founders said their gender held them back during fundraising stages. That’s compared to the 60% of male founders who said their gender benefited fundraising.
Businesses led by women have also been hit hard by COVID-19. For instance, Facebook found last month that only 71% of US women-led businesses are operational or engaging in any sort of revenue-generating activity versus 83% of those helmed by men.
Other Startup Grant Options For Women
For more on grants for businesses led by women, venture on over to Merchant Maverick’s guide on the topic.
Startup firms may also find some help via our guide to finding startup-dedicated grants.