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30 Small Business Grants and Grant Databases for Women in 2023

Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated December 4, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Small business grants provide money that, unlike loans, don’t typically have to be paid back. Business owners can use this money to take their businesses to the next level. And if you’re a female entrepreneur, you may qualify for female-owned business grants that provide capital you can use for your business, from launching it to expanding to a new location.Below, you'll find a list of 30 small business grants for women. However, if you're newer to the process or not ready to apply, we'll also cover:
  • What a small business grant is
  • What you can do with a female-owned business grant
  • Tips on applying for small business grants for women

What Are Small Business Grants for Women?

Small business grants are lump sums of money you can use to do things like launch a business, buy equipment, hire staff, or grow your business. Unlike business loans, however, you do not have to pay back grants.While there are small business grants for anyone who owns a business, some grants are specifically for female-owned businesses. Why? Women sometimes don’t have the same opportunities that men do in the business world, so many companies and government organizations want to provide them with the opportunity to get a leg up.There are many grants for female entrepreneurs. However, small business grants for women are frequently reserved for established businesses. So, if you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to look for grants that are specifically for startups.Remember: You aren't restricted to female-owned business grants. There are grants for small business owners, minorities, and veterans that may also be worth exploring. Recommended: How to Start a Minority Woman-Owned Business

Small Business Grants for Women

After extensive research, we narrowed our list to 30 small business grants for women entrepreneurs. However, new ones pop up all the time, so this list is not exhaustive.Here are our top small business grants for women.

1. Amber Grant for Women

The Amber Grant, provided by WomensNet, honors the memory of a young woman, Amber Wigdahl, who died at 19 before realizing her business dreams. The grant awards $10,000 to female entrepreneurs each month. One $25,000 winner will be selected from the monthly winners each year.Qualifications:
  • Must have a business or business idea. The Amber Grant is unique because it’s not limited to women who already have an established business. If you’re able to explain how you plan to start and grow a new business, you can apply for this grant. 
  • Requires a $15 application fee
Recommended: 13 Ways to Fund a Startup

2. Cartier Women’s Initiative

The Cartier Women's Initiative offers female-owned business grants of either $30,000 or $100,000 to women looking to make a difference in the world. In addition to the funds, winners also receive business and financial coaching.The Cartier Women’s Initiative currently offers two grants for women business owners:The Science and Technology Pioneer Award: Awarded to women entrepreneurs who are leaders and innovators in science and technology. This grant is open to any women in any sector and country. The winner will receive $100,000 and the two runners-up will receive $30,000.The qualifications for the Science and Technology Pioneer Award are as follows:
  • A woman must be the: 
  • Primary leader at the company
  • Founder and majority shareholder of founder equity
  • The business must be: 
  • Developing a new technology, process, or scientific discovery 
  • A for-profit business
  • An early-stage business with a proof of concept or prototype that’s already in existence or currently in the works. The final product must not have been commercialized for more than five years.
  • Meet at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
  • The applicant must: 
  • Be at least 18 years of age by the application deadline
  • Have a good command of the English language; the grant requires Level B2 and above per the Common European Framework of Reference
  • Commit to participating in the fellowship program
Regional Awards: This small business grant is awarded  to 21 women across the globe with early-stage companies that are generating revenue. Cartier is looking for women entrepreneurs who leverage an existing technology, model, or process in an innovative way. The seven winners will each receive $100,000 and 14 runners-up will receive $30,000.The qualifications for the Regional Awards are:
  • A woman must be the: 
  • Primary leader at the company
  • Founder and majority shareholder of founder equity
  • The business must:
  • Be for-profit
  • Be in the early stages with a proven business model, with one and five years of operations
  • Have generated revenue for at least one year
  • Not have raised more than $2 million in dilutive funding
  • Must meet at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • The applicant must:
  • Have a good command of the English language; the grant requires Level B2 and above per the Common European Framework of Reference
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to commit to the fellowship program

3. Jane Walker First Women Grant Program

Jane Walker, a part of the Johnnie Walker whisky company, works with the First Women Campaign and IFundWomen to provide small business grants for women. The grant provides $10,000 and a year-long coaching membership through IFundWomen.Qualifications:
  • A person who identifies as a woman must have at least half ownership in the company
  • The person applying must be at least 21 years
  • The business must: 
  • Have been in operation for at least two years and make at least $25,000 in revenue annually
  • Be willing to push boundaries and fight for diversity
  • Be in one of the following categories:
    • Entertainment and film
    • Hospitality
    • Journalism
    • Music
    • Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
    • Sports

4. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program

This Fellows Program, sponsored by the Tory Burch Foundation, provides women running early-stage businesses with a one-year fellowship, a $5,000 grant, workshops at the Tory Burch offices, and the opportunity to pitch their businesses.Qualifications:
  • The business must: 
  • Be a for-profit organization in early stage (one to five years of operations preferred)
  • Generate revenues of at least $75,000 in the past 12-months
  • The applicant must:
  • Identify as a woman
  • Be 21 years of age or older and legal resident of the U.S.
  • Own the biggest or equal stake in a business that is owned or controlled by women
  • Be proficient in English

5. Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers government contracts to two types of businesses: Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs). This removes additional competition for contracts by limiting eligibility to a small but highly qualified group.WOSB Qualifications:
  • Be certified as a WOSB
  • Meets SBA size standards
  • At least 51% of the business is owned by U.S. citizens who are women
  • Women manage daily operations and long-term decision making
EDWOSB Qualifications:
  • Meets all WOSB qualifications
  • Be run by one or more women who independently have net worths of less than $750,000
  • Be run by one or more women with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income over the past three years
  • Be run by one or more women no more than $6 million in personal assets
Recommended: SBA Loans: How Do They Work?

6. FoundHer Program

The FoundHer Program is specifically geared toward women-owned businesses in Hawaii. If accepted, the program lasts six months with a start date of March 2024. Resources include a $20,000 small business grant, $4,000 care stipend, weekly educational workshops, a network of business mentors, and monthly retreats.Qualifications:
  • Must be a for-profit business in its early stages
  • Based in Hawaii
  • 50% AANHPI women-led

7. SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant

Created by the SoGal Foundation, the Black Founder Startup Grant provides grants ranging from $5,000-$10,000 to Black and multiracial women. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.Qualifications:
  • Identify as a Black woman or Black nonbinary entrepreneur
  • Have a registered business 

8. Atomic Grant Program

The Atomic Grant program by Passion Collective gives four women entrepreneurs $1,500 cash and business coaching.Qualifications:
  • Identify as a woman
  • 21 or older
  • Passionate about making change happen
  • Sign up to Passion Collective 

9. Freed Fellowship Grant

The Freed Fellowship Grant gives one business owner $500 a month, and then the chance to earn $2,500 at the end of the year. Winners also receive constructive feedback on their businesses and a two-month membership to the Freed Fellowship community.While there are no specific qualifications to apply, you will need to answer questions about your business regarding its context, content, community, chemistry, and commerce (known as the 5C Framework).

10. AT&T She’s Connected

She’s Connected by AT&T is a $20,000 grant offered to women-owned small business owners. In addition to the grant, the winner will also receive one year free of AT&T service, plus a new device.Qualifications:
  • 18 years or older
  • Sole or majority owner of a female-owned small business
  • 50 or fewer employees

11. Fearless Strivers

The Fearless Strivers Grant is designed for small businesses that are at least 51% black women owned. Four small businesses will receive a $20,000 grant, mentorship, and digital tools to help them grow their businesses.Qualifications:
  • 18 years and older
  • 51% black woman owned
  • Annual revenue of $50,000 or more
  • Business formed and operating in the United States

12. Publish Her Business Impact Grant

The Publish Her Business Impact Grant is for women of color business owners who are making a difference in the lives of others. The grant is worth $5,000 and the top 10 entries are voted by the public to determine the winner.Qualifications:
  • 21 and up
  • Legal resident of the U.S.
  • Woman of color business owner
  • Business must be 100% women-owned
  • Must generate $50,000 or more in annual revenue
Recommended: Microloans for Women-Owned Small Businesses

13. High Five Grant for Moms

If you’re an entrepreneur and a mom, check out the High Five Grant for Moms by The Mama Ladder. Judges determine the finalists based on your story and your business, and then the public votes on the top three winners. First place receives $10,000, second place receives $5,000, and third place receives $2,500.Qualifications:
  • Must be a mom, which includes mothers of adult children, first-time expecting moms, stepmoms, and foster moms
  • Own a for-profit or service-based business with at least 51% ownership
  • Must have earned revenue for at least one year

14. You Glow Girl Women Entrepreneur Grant

Eat Me Guilt Free offers a grant for women entrepreneurs called You Glow Girl. Launched in 2021, the grant offers a grand prize consisting of $10,000 to put toward your business, a one-year supply of Eat Me Guilt Free products, a physical health and wellness prize (past prizes include a Peloton bike and a one-year subscription to Class Pass), and a mentorship program.

15. Enthuse Foundation Pitch Competition

The Enthuse Foundation Pitch Competition offers 10 winners a $2,500 grant each. To enter, you must pitch your business at an in-person event. The next round opens in March 2024.

16. The Kitty Fund Mother-Led Business Grant

The Kitty Fund Mother-Led Business Grant is open to all entrepreneurs who identify as a mother. Founded in 2020, the grant awards 25 business owners a $1,000 grant.Qualifications:
  • Business owner must identify as a mother
  • Annual revenue may not exceed $5 million
  • Business must be based in the U.S.
  • Must have between two and 50 employees

17. FedEx E-commerce Learning Lab

The FedEx E-commerce Learning Lab is designed for women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color looking to improve their e-commerce business. Created by Accion Opportunity Fund, the FedEx E-commerce Learning Lab is a five-month program consisting of courses and workshops, coaching, networking, online sales support, and a $5,000 grant to support your business’ growth plans.Qualifications:
  • Own at least 51% of a U.S.-based small business
  • Have been in business at least six months
  • Produce and sell a packaged product
  • Earn less than $500,000 annually

18. Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition

The Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition allows women business owners to pitch their business in-person for a chance of receiving a grant worth $25,000.Qualifications:
  • Founder must be a woman or business must be majority-owned by a woman
  • Must be able to attend in-person event
  • Must have raised no more than $750,000 in funding
  • Must be based in the U.S.

19. Women of Color Grant Program

The Women of Color Grant Program was founded by the Tory Burch Foundation in partnership with the Fearless Fund. The program gives 75 women of color-owned businesses grants worth $10,000 and $20,000. Qualifications:
  • 51% women of color-owned
  • For-profit business
  • Ideally have been in business for one to five years
  • Minimum annual revenue of $100,000 preferred

20. Launch Program by Ladies Who Launch

Ladies Who Launch offers a Launch Program which consists of a $10,000 small business grant, a mentorship program, and six months of free education for women and non-binary small business owners. The program is open to women who sell consumer packaged goods, including food and beverages, apparel, household goods, and more.Qualifications:
  • Must be a woman or non-binary founder
  • Must be a consumer packaged goods company
  • Minimum annual revenue of $100,000 (not to exceed $499,000)
  • Must be U.S.-based

21. StartHER Grant

The StartHER Grant is offered by Texas Woman’s University and awards 25 $5,000 grants annually to women-owned businesses in Texas.Qualifications:
  • At least 51% women-owned
  • Five or fewer employees
  • Must be owned and operated in Texas
  • Must be for-profit

22. InnovateHER Challenge

Offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, InnovateHER is an annual competition between small business owners with a product or service that positively affects women’s lives. First place receives $40,000, second place receives $20,000, and third place receives $10,000.Qualifications:
  • Must be 18 years old
  • Product or service must have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families
  • Must have potential for commercialization and fill a need in the marketplace

23. Equity Match Grant Program

The Equity Match Grant Program, offered by the Women’s Business Development Council, offers grants up to $10,000 to women-owned businesses located in Connecticut. The grant money must be put to a specific project that will help the business grow, and cannot be used for things like inventory or operating expenses.Qualifications:
  • Applicants must match at least 25% of awarded funds
  • Business and business owner must be located in Connecticut
  • Annual revenue greater than $25,000 but less than $2 million
  • Be a for-profit business

24. Visa’s She’s Next Grant Program

The Visa She’s Next Grant Program, in collaboration with IFundWomen, gives women business owners throughout the world access to funding and education. Applications are currently closed, but check back regularly for upcoming programs.Recommended: How Much of a Business Loan Can You Get?

4 Databases of Resources and Grants for Women Business Owners

We not only looked for individual grants but also for resource databases for female small business owners. Below are an additional four resources for finding funding.
  • 37 Angels: While 37 Angels is an investment company, they have compiled a list of other funding and development options. This list includes bootcamps, venture capitalist firms, and other organizations assisting female entrepreneurs.
  • This site provides a database of grants and other types of funding for women, not just those in business but also those attending school or in need of funds for different reasons.
  • IFundWomen: IFundWomen offers many crowdfunding resources, grants, coaching, and networking opportunities. They also provide unique opportunities within specific fields and AAPI-, Black-, Latinx and Hispanic-, and queer-owned businesses. In addition, they offer a universal application, so one 20-minute application qualifies you for most of their grants.
  • National Women's Business Council: The NWBC offers a list of resources female business owners may find helpful, including grant opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

What About Federal Grants for Women Business Owners?

According to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, "Despite what the late-night infomercials want you to believe, the federal government does not provide grants for business expansion and growth. There is no 'free' money for you to start or grow a business." Though does exist, it's simply a database. Additionally, it only focuses on government-funded programs, not personal business or projects.However, some states, such as California, offer small business grants and other types of funding. You may also be able to find assistance through your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 

Additional Private Small Business Grants

In addition to the grants mentioned above, there are other private small business grants that women business owners can look into.

25. America’s Top Small Business Award

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce created America’s Top Small Business Award worth $25,000. The award is open to all small business owners, not just women. Qualifications:
  • Must be in business for at least one year
  • Must have fewer than 250 employees
  • Gross revenue must not exceed $20 million for previous two years

26. National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grant

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers a quarterly Growth Grant to four small businesses up to $4,000. To be eligible to apply, you must be a member of NASE and in good standing for at least three months.

27. Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant

Incfile offers a Fresh Start Business Grant to new and aspiring entrepreneurs. The winner receives $2,500 to use for startup costs for their business, plus free services from Incfile. Dates for 2024 haven’t been announced yet, so check back regularly for updates.

28. Fast Break for Small Businesses

Supported by LegalZoom and the National Basketball Association, Fast Break for Small Businesses seeks to help Black-owned businesses, women business owners, and low- to moderate-income small business owners gain access to funding. Businesses that are selected will receive a $10,000 grant.Qualifications:
  • Must be a Black-owned business
  • Must be in the U.S.
  • Must have been in business at least six months
  • Annual revenue cannot exceed $1 million

29. Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant is specifically for entrepreneurs in the silver jewelry industry. Applicants must submit their design portfolio and answer 15 business-related questions. The winner receives $7,500 to put toward their business and a $1,000 Halstead gift card. 

30. Comcast RISE

Comcast RISE was created to help small businesses recover from COVID-19, and now focuses on helping businesses expand and grow. In 2023, 500 businesses in five different cities received grants and other benefits from Comcast RISE. While Comcast focuses on diversity inclusion, the grant is available to all small businesses. 

What Can You Do With Small Business Grants for Women?

What you can do with a female-owned business grant is determined by the organization offering the grant.Some grants may stipulate funds be used for specific projects or purposes. For example, a tech-focused grant provider may want the money to be used for research and development to solve a particular technology-related problem. Other grant providers allow you to use them for any business expenses, including:
  • Adding a new product line
  • Buying equipment like a computer, commercial mixer, or cash register
  • Covering inventory
  • Creating a product prototype
  • Expanding into larger commercial real estate
  • Hiring employees
  • Investing in marketing
  • Launching a business

Tips for Applying for a Female-Owned Business Grant

Grants are notoriously difficult to receive, primarily because there is so much competition for them. Here are five tips to get you started on your grant application journey.

1. Get Organized

When considering applying for grants, the first thing to do is to get all your ducks in a row. Some best practices for this are:
  • Read through all qualifications and deadlines upfront.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of grants, requirements, and deadlines so you can stay on top of filling out applications on time. 
  • Allow plenty of time for research, putting together a budget, and filling out paperwork.
Note: Very few grant-giving organizations require an application fee. If the one you're interested in is asking for such a fee, do some additional digging to ensure the grant is legitimate. For instance, Amber Grants for Women requires a small fee to help keep the grant active; however, you can contact them to ask about waiving your fee.You may use some of this compiled information for future grant applications, so keep it handy in a folder to speed up subsequent applications.

2. Don't Ignore Small Grants

Small grants can add up quickly. For instance, a $1,000 grant could allow you to get a new computer; $500 could fund a ticket to a networking event where you meet other business owners and investors; $250 is enough for an email marketing software subscription. 

3. Write a Grant Proposal

While some grant applications are as simple as filling out an online form, much of the time, you need to create a full grant proposal. This isn't necessarily an intuitive process and can take some time, so taking a grant writing class or hiring a grant writer may be advisable.Generally, a grant-giving organization wants to see your business plan and understand what you will do with the funds to start or grow your business. Often, your proposal should tell your business’ story, including the challenge you’re looking to overcome and why you’re so passionate about it.Remember to tailor each grant proposal to the funding organization. While some of your information (such as your budget) may be reusable, parts of it may not. Read all the fine print before applying.

4. Share What’s Great About Your Business

This is your chance to show why your company shines and why it’s deserving of this grant.It can be helpful to look at past grant winners to see what types of businesses have been awarded grants in the past.

5. Review Your Application for Perfection

Have at least one person proofread, whether you hire a grant writer or fill out the application yourself. When all other things are equal, would you choose a job applicant who had a typo over one who didn't? It's the same with grant applications!

Grants Can Provide Women Entrepreneurs With Necessary Capital

Having an influx of "free" cash could help you take your business to new heights. Consider what limits you currently have in your business. For example, maybe you would like to invest in a new product. Or perhaps you have been doing everything in your business and know a second set of hands would let you better focus on running your business. Whatever your dream, a small business grant for women can help you realize it.

Other Financing Options for Women Business Owners

If you don’t find the right small business grant for women, you still have other financing options. There are many small business loans for women that offer low interest rates and favorable terms to those female entrepreneurs that qualify.Keep in mind that sometimes, applying for and getting a small business loan can take weeks or months to process. If you need funds faster, you could try a business credit card or an alternative loan with a quicker turnaround. Still, be aware those options may come with downsides, like higher interest rates.Want to explore small business loan options? Lantern can help you find the right loan for your needs. Fill out our simple form to see your rates and get matched with small business lenders in our trusted network.

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Su Guillory is a freelance business writer and expat coach. She’s written several business books and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and SoFi. She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards.
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