Locate financing options that are designed to assist women who are starting a new business.
Financing your new venture is often the most challenging aspect of starting a new business. Women business owners may find there are unique obstacles on the path to start-up.
Fortunately, there are organizations with a mission to assist, inspire, and aid women during the crucial planning stages of a new business – and that includes getting the cash you need.
While the resources listed on this page are reputable, if you are researching other funding sources not listed here, be diligent and aware of scams and shady offers. High pressure sales pitches, predatory interest rates, asking for your credit card or bank account information – these are all signs that you are being targeted as a victim.
As with any new business relationship you form, it’s important to be completely informed about any financing offers you receive. Do your research, read the fine print, and know exactly what to expect.
Here are a few of the top destinations to explore financing options:
- Woman-Owned Small Business Grants Database
This is a membership site that provides access to business grant providers and state assistance programs. The database is searchable by state and gives you access to the grantor’s contact information and requirements to apply.
The United States government operates this database. It lists grants available through various government agencies. There are hundreds of grants available for targeted disciplines. Although you’ll find many grants are narrow in scope, it’s worth searching within your field to see what’s out there.
- Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grants
This grant program is for businesses that are majority women-owned and have been in operation for at least three years. The grant places an emphasis on helping businesses that are focused on social and environmental change. For existing businesses, this grant can help propel you into the the next phase of growth.
- Amber Grants by WomensNet
If you seeking a small infusion of cash, the Amber Grant program awards $500 to one women-owned business each month. One of the 12 monthly grant recipients is selected each year for an additional $1000.
- American Association of University Women
Private funding that seeks to empower educators, community leaders, international community-based projects, those seeking higher education in preparation for entry into fields where women are underrepresented, and more.
- Small Business Administration – Office of Women’s Business Ownership
The SBA Women’s Business Office provides support, counseling, training, and direction in obtaining funding, especially for those experiencing social or economic disadvantages.
In addition to the above resources, there are many loan and venture capital sources you can investigate. Your local Small Business Administration office can can offer guidance and counseling within your geographical area. You can also check with your state’s business office. There are often industry specific grants available, and low interest loans for minorities and women.
Finding the funds you need isn’t an impossible task. If you don’t meet with success immediately, don’t give up. Continue to work the phones and scour the internet. Follow leads and advice from professionals along the way, all the while being alert to scams. Have your business plan and cost calculations on hand and, with a little patience, you’ll be successful in no time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brett Krkosska provides how-to advice on small business and home-based work issues. He is the founder of HomeBizTools and the publisher of Straight Talk, a syndicated column that offers a unique perspective on today’s business issues.