As an entrepreneur, you need capital to grow your business and take advantage of new opportunities, or solve problems. Fortunately, there are better options out there than selling equity and losing profit forever. In addition to the many women’s small business government loans, there are also several other financing options and grants.
Finding the best source of capital for your business can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you apply for free money through a grant, qualify for a low-interest government loan, or obtain fast financing through fintech lenders, you’ll get the resources you need to move things along.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about women’s small business government loans and other options.
For many female minorities and entrepreneurs, government funding can be crucial. While it’s more difficult to receive an approval for government funding than a traditional loan, these options tend to be cheaper. However, keep in mind that government funding generally involves a longer and more competitive process, too.
SBA loans aren’t technically considered government funding—but they are government backed through the Small Business Administration. For many entrepreneurs, these are the most desirable loan type. If you qualify, you’ll get low rates over a long term, which can last from 10-25 years.
SBA loans are typically the best choice when you’re obtaining funding for something that won’t directly help you generate revenue. For example, if you’re using the funding for building repairs—which won’t help you charge higher rates—then an SBA loan can be quite beneficial. If you’re using funding to drive revenue directly, though, it may make sense to apply for a product with a shorter term.
Qualifying, though, can be difficult. The application alone can take hours to days to complete. After submitting the application, you’ll have to wait at least 45 days to receive an approval or rejection.
In order to qualify, you must be in business for at least two years. You’ll also need stellar financial records.
If you, as the borrower, default on the SBA loan, the government pays the balance of the loan.
Overall, SBA loans generally have a low cost and can be quite beneficial.
In the same vein, the SBA Microloan also helps female small business owners obtain government-backed funding. This loan type, however, is reserved for businesses seeking a smaller amount of money.
You can qualify for up to $50K through the microloan program, but the average size is $13K. If it’s your first time applying for funding for your female-owned business, then the Microloan program may be the way to go.
While there aren’t many restrictions about the loan use, you can’t use Microloan funding to purchase real estate, or refinance other debts.
If you only need a small amount, then this is one of the best women’s small business government loans.
As of this moment, the New York Forward Loan Fund is another great women’s small business government loan.
This funding program, which is unique to New York, gives entrepreneurs funding to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. It can be used for facility changes, safety precautions, marketing, and any other cost under this umbrella.
Unlike the PPP, it’s not forgivable, and it’s only intended for businesses that are reopening, not to stimulate cash flow while closed. Businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees, less than 3 million in annual revenue, and over a year in business can qualify.
If you need a women’s small business government loan and are based in NY, then this might be a good place to start.
Well, what if you’re looking for funding that you may not have to pay back? Applying for grants is a creative way to find funding without a cost at the end of the line.
The most notable difference between a loan and a grant is that grants provide free capital, but you also have to consider the time and qualifications. Grant applications will request detailed information about why your business qualifies. WIth other businesses keen on earning free money, the bar for winning can be quite high.
Before applying for a women’s small business grant, be sure to check the requirements.
While this site doesn’t offer women’s small business government grants or loans—as most are available to both genders—it does contain lots of helpful information. This database for all federally issued small business grants can get you on the right track.
Grants.gov is a great starting point, but keep in mind that you may not be eligible for all of them. Be sure to sift through them by category and see which might be a good fit for your small business. You probably won’t find a category specifically for women, but you can search by industry, agency, and more.
After applying, you can also check the progress of your application.
If you’re a member of the National Association for the Self-Employed, you can apply to win a grant. Membership only costs $120, and there are multiple prizes of $4000 available.
In addition to becoming a member, you’ll also have to detail how extra cash could help you grow, including a business plan.
Eileen Fisher, a famous fashion designer, gives out 10 prizes of up to $10K to women entrepreneurs every year.
This women’s small business grant rewards entrepreneurs that exhibit a positive social and environmental influence. To be eligible, you must be in business for at least three years.
Operating on a monthly (rather than annual) basis, the Amber Grant honors Amber, a female entrepreneur who tragically passed away.
You can apply at any point during the year, as applications are rolling for the next month. To be considered, you simply need to tell the story of your business, along with submitting a $15 application fee.
Each monthly grant is $2000, though one winner will be selected to win $25K at the end of the year.
Offering one $1000 grant each year, the IdeaCafe Grant is open to all business owners, including female entrepreneurs. In fact, you don’t even need to own a small business. If you plan to start a small business but haven’t yet done so, you can apply too.
The #GIRLBOSS Foundation, helmed by Sophia Amoruso, issues two small business grants for women every year. In addition to the $15K prize, winners also receive free online exposure through the Girlboss website.
While this small business grant for women is gender-specific, there are industry restrictions, too. Only entrepreneurs in the fashion, music, design and art industries can qualify. Winners are selected based on creativity, direction, potential to grow, and the use of funding.
Fortunately, this small business grant for women is available to 21 winners. 7 winners—one from each region—will receive $100K, while the other 14 (who place 2nd and 3rd in their respective regions) can win $30K.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award isn’t for startups, but you don’t have to be a veteran, either. To qualify, your business needs to be between 1 and 3 years old, and generating revenue (but not necessarily profit).
In addition to business capital, winning this prestigious award also opens the door to advice, entrepreneurial workshops, coaching, and more!
Similar to Grants.gov, GrantsforWomen.org is a database that compiles various grants for women in one place. While there are a few small business grants for women, most are not related to business.
As you identify potential opportunities, be sure to check that you qualify before applying.
Again, this isn’t technically a small business grant for women—male entrepreneurs can win as well. That being said, this is a great opportunity for female entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.
FedEx selects ten winners every year, with prizes that include both cash and printing services.
Specifically targeting female entrepreneurs in the jewelry industry, The Halstead Grant offers $7500 in cash, along with $1000 in supplies.
The Halstead Grant is intended for businesses that are three years old or younger. To apply, you must complete a survey about your business, direction, and strategy.
This small business grant for women rewards small businesses and projects that seek to end gender, racial and economic inequality. More specifically, the Open Meadows Foundation grant must benefit women or girls.
Offering $2000, this grant is only for those with less than $75K in their budgets.
If you need more money than a grant can offer, you’re not out of luck. There are plenty of small business financing options for women that can take your business to the next level.
Available in a variety of term lengths and amounts, small business loans give you a set amount of cash. There are no restrictions about how you can use term loans—you can put it toward any challenge or goal. Interest rates can vary based on your qualifications, and there are many options for poor credit.
While you may get lower rates through a bank, the application process can be quite lengthy. Online lenders can help you learn your rates in minutes, and get funded in just a few hours.
Business lines of credit help you whenever you’re strapped for cash and have a new opportunity or expense.
There’s no minimum amount, you can draw more as you need it, and only pay interest on what you take. As you pay down the balance, you can take even more cash.
If you need funding for new equipment, then equipment financing can be quite helpful. This program can help you purchase (and own) equipment in virtually any industry.
Equipment financing was previously a lengthy process, but it can now be completed in just a few hours. There are no up-front fees, and you can write off the entire cost of the equipment in year 1.
Created as a way to help female entrepreneurs in need of funding to grow their businesses, National’s Empowerment Loan boasts a 90% approval rate. As long as your business is at least 51% owned by women, you’re eligible to apply. This funding can be put toward any business goal.
Unsure which type of financing is best for you?
At National, we specialize in helping entrepreneurs narrow down their financing options to choose the best one for them. Our team of Business Financing Advisors works in real time to help you find the best rates, terms and amounts. Even with bad credit, we can help you take your business to the next level.
Get started learning your options by applying now!
National Business Capital & Services is the #1 FinTech marketplace offering small business loans and services. Harnessing the power of smart technology and even smarter people, we’ve streamlined the approval process to secure over $1 billion in financing for small business owners to date.
Our expert Business Financing Advisors work within our 75+ Lender Marketplace in real time to give you easy access to the best low-interest SBA loans, short and long-term loans and business lines of credit, as well as a full suite of revenue-driving business services.
We strengthen local communities one small business loan at a time. For every deal we fund, we donate 10 meals to Feeding America!
Matt Carrigan is the Content Writer at National Business Capital & Services. He loves spending every day creating content to educate business owners across every industry about business growth strategies, and how they can access the funding they need!