Women are systematically settling the world of entrepreneurship. Reports show that the number of female business owners exceeds the national average of small business growth. Since 1997 to 2014, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 68 percent (The 2014 State of Women-Owned Business Report). This is a fantastic news which proves that women have gained the power to make a huge impact on the world.
There is also some bad information – women more and more often cannot count for the financial help from banks when it comes to providing funds for their small businesses. Luckily, thanks to the technology development and wide access to the internet there are still other options like peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and other online loans.
Apart from these, there are government grants. Maybe this kind of financial help for entrepreneurs is not extremely popular and easy to get, yet still it can be a good source of money for entrepreneurs looking for some funds. And in the article we focus on the government grants to bring the topic closer and explain what it is all about.
Money you get for “free”
Who would not like to get a loan which would not have to be paid back? This kind of “free” money appeals to business owners mostly because of the fact they are not obliged to return it. But it cannot be too easy, you think. And it is not, actually, along with the money there are stipulations you must stick to. The process of receiving and operating the grant money is also complex and quite complicated. It is more or less in this way:
Step 1. You look for a grant you are eligible to.
Step 2. You must go through a strict application procedure and fulfill the compliance guidelines.
Step 3. You compete with other businesses for the same money.
Step 4. If you are successful and receive the grant you are obliged to give an account of the way you used it.
How about federal grants?
Being attracted by the ads promoting the federal grants you may feel these are a perfect way to gain your funds. Unfortunately, in the group of areas which can receive the federal grants there is no women-owned businesses area. For this reason, a better idea would be to start looking at a state level.
Visit your state’s website and find business section to check whether the state offers women-owned businesses grants or not. Apart from this, check the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This agency works to assist minorities and women who start and develop their businesses.
You can also consider private grants. Here is the list of some you may want to check:
- Zions Bank — Smart Women Smart Money
- Wal-Mart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative
- The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
- Huggies Brand — Mom Inspired Grants
- InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge
- Small Business Technology Transfer Program
- FedEx Think Bigger — Small Business Grant Program
- Chase Google — Mission Main Street Project
- Small Business Innovation Research
- Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp (WVEC) Small Business Competition
- Idea Café Small Business Grant