Nav is committed to helping business owners succeed, and women business owners are an important and growing part of that group. Throughout October, we are celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month — commending both the vast contributions of women-owned businesses and women who are just now taking the plunge into business ownership.
Women business owners are a powerful and growing segment in the financial world, and that means that plenty of female entrepreneurs are opening and maintaining businesses every year. In order to achieve their goals, some take advantage of loans, some utilize current business revenue, and others seek out business grants for women.
Small business grants for women can provide many new and existing business owners with access to valuable financial assets often necessary to enter the next stage of their business plan. If you’re considering seeking out monetary support in one way or another, researching and reviewing grant options is a great place to start.
To help you on your way, here are a few tips to find and apply for business grants for women.
1. Do Your Homework
Today, the internet makes anything possible — including finding a plethora of information about business grants and loans for woman by simply typing a few keywords into Google or going directly to some of the top sites for business owners.
You’ll want to begin your search by checking out groups that are specifically geared towards new and existing business owners. For example, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, is an invaluable resource for not only accessing information about small business funding for women, but also for a wide variety of information about starting and owning a business.
Beyond that, it’s also important to search for grant opportunities provided by the national government as well as your state and local governments. Availability of grants for women may vary based on the state you live in or by the type of business for which you are seeking the funds. None the less, it’s important to include these resources in your hunt.
Last, but not least, you should also check for grants offered by private or corporate entities that serve your state or local area as well as those that cater to specific business types. Private grants generally have less strict requirements and are open to a wider variety of businesses. FedEx, the WalMart Foundation, and Chase and Google all offer grants.
2. Evaluate and Analyze Your Findings
As you collect information about what agencies or organizations extend small business grants for women, it’s important that you document your sources and thoroughly review any possible leads.
As is often the case with application processes of any type, grants are typically guided by rules and stipulations that must be accounted for before you are elbow deep in the application process. By thoroughly reviewing any rules, requirements, fine print and application necessities, you’ll save yourself time by identifying which grants you’re eligible for and which ones signify a dead end.
3. Get Organized
Once you’ve narrowed down the finalist, it’s time to get organized. No matter how much time you spent collecting information or how methodical you were during your review of possible grants, if you’re not organized, you run the risk of missing out on potential opportunities.
Mark your calendar, invest in a day planner, set reminders on your phone…whatever you need to do, make sure that you are aware of what deadlines you need to abide by.
In addition to making sure you have all your deadlines committed to your calendar, it’s also essential that you have the information and assets you may need. Do you need a business plan? Tax information? Don’t let your review session go to waste. Keep a list of any information or documentation you may need and be sure to make sure you can access it in time.
4. Complete and Thoroughly Review Each & Every Application
Perhaps completing your application is a bit of an obvious statement, but beyond that, this part of the process represents one in which you need to really amp up your proofing skills. It’s imperative that you and make sure everything on the application is correct and complete and that you have all required assets in order.
It’s human to miss something when you’ve been staring at the same or similar documents for hours (or days) on end. Consider pulling in the fresh eyes of a second person to help make sure you didn’t miss anything, that all your i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, and that you haven’t made any grammatical or spelling errors.
Here are a few of our favorite women-specific grants that are worth a look:
- InnovateHer, presented by the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. This grant is not specifically for women, but it is for businesses that “impact and empower the lives of women.
- The Eileen Fisher Woman-Owned Business Grant Program. Up to $100,000 available to women-owned businesses who are in the expansion stage (beyond startup).
- Amber Grants for Women. Each month, a new recipient receives a $500. Qualifying businesses are small, women-owned startups.
Once your applications are in and you’ve entered into the dreaded waiting period, the only thing left for you to do is to remain positive. Perhaps you will be awarded the grant, or perhaps you will not. Either way, it’s important to realize that in addition to business grants for women, there are plenty of financial resources to help you take your plan from paper to real life production.