It’s International Women’s Day, and here at Northwest, we’re proud of the female entrepreneurs that make up so much of our clientele. We know that women who own businesses don’t always have it easy, so in recognition, we want to highlight a selection of grants available specifically to women-led businesses in today’s post.
Getting Funded With a Grant
When you’ve just started out after forming your company, you might find yourself short on funds. Small-business loans and many other types of funding require you to take on debt or surrender ownership or future earnings to investors. Business grants, on the other hand, provide money with minimal strings, no debt and no requirement of showing a return on investment. This makes grants an excellent source of capital for your company.
That said, the limited amount of grants available to be awarded make for a highly competitive field of applicants. It can also be challenging to find the time and energy to seek out grant funding while simultaneously running your own business. You’ll have to work extra hard if you want to be awarded a grant, but success is well worth the effort when you’re starting a business.
Here are eight grants (or multi-grant providers) available for women business owners:
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an annual program that aims to empower women entrepreneurs and drive change worldwide. Applicants must be women in a leadership role at a company that is less than seven years old and majority-owned by women. Restrictions on types of company structure, lifetime fundraising and revenue also apply. The business must also demonstrate a positive impact in its industry and contribution to a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.
Applicants must submit an online application and supporting documents, including a resume, business registration document, and a pitch about their business impact, as well as a one-minute video essay.
Cartier awards fellowships to representatives from the top three business applicants in each of nine regions around the world. This includes a grant of between $30,000 and $100,000 (depending on the selected applicant’s award placement)—as well as extensive training, advising and workshop resources for the winners.
Applications for the 2024 Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Awards open on May 10, 2023.
WomensNet Amber Grants
WomensNet provides $450,000 in various Amber Grants to women in business over the course of the year. Every month, an applicant receives a $10,000 Amber Grant. Additionally, two quarterly grants of $10,000 are awarded to startups and non-profit companies. On top of that, every month, an applicant in a particular business category is chosen to receive $10,000. Two $25,000 year-end grants are also awarded to previous winners of that year’s monthly grants.
Applicants for an Amber Grant must apply through the website and explain their business or business idea and what they would do with award money. They must also supply a $15 application fee.
IFundWomen works with partner businesses like AmericanExpress, Adidas, Comcast and more to provide a number of different grants to women-owned businesses, such as the Visa-sponsored She’s Next grant for Black businesswomen. Awards generally range from $2,500 to $25,000, depending on the grant—but most grants tend to award $10,000.
As a bonus, you don’t have to apply for each individual grant. With a Universal Grant Application, you’re always under consideration for any active grant you may qualify for. However, you might want to check out the Grant Planner before applying, due to the actual application’s multi-stage format.
From the not-for-profit organization Ladies Who Launch, Launch Program is a grant program awarded to 20 woman or non-binary founders of a consumer packaged goods company. Winners receive a $10,000 cash grant, as well as a six-month business education program, plus mentorship and coaching opportunities.
To qualify for Launch Program, an applicant’s businesses must have an annual gross revenue between $100,000 and $499,000, and not have been invested in by venture capital or intend to seek such funding for a year.
Interested business owners can submit their applications online. The deadline to apply for this year’s grant is March 31, 2023.
SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant
Black women are an incredibly fast-growing demographic among business owners but often face tremendous barriers to raising funds. To combat this situation, the SoGal Foundation partnered with a number of sponsors to provide the SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant. This grant of $10,000 or $5,000 awards is given to more than 20 recipients each year.
Applicants for the Black Founder Startup Grant must be Black women or non-binary entrepreneurs with a legally registered business, planning to seek investors to scale their business, with a high impact business solution or idea. There is no deadline to apply.
A Massachusetts-based nonprofit, Giving Joy provides small grants to women ages 18 and up around the world, who own a small business (or who wish to start one). While Giving Joy’s grants are small, between $250 and $500, those grants can still make a difference for a home-based business just starting out.
Proposed grants must align with Giving Joy’s mission to focus on women, girls and families. The grant is also available for women who want to start or grow a nonprofit or charity.
You Glow Girl!
Created by the founder of a nutritional snack brand, You Glow, Girl! grants a $10,000 cash award and mentorship program to the winning small businesswoman. What distinguishes it from similar grants is the addition of prizes aimed to support the winner’s physical, emotional and spiritual health.
The next application period for You Glow Girl! will open on June 28, 2023.
This one is pretty specific, but the Halstead Grant provides $7,500 in startup capital (plus $1000 in silver art supply merchandise) to a female silver artist who has been in business for fewer than five years. Entries must submit answers to a 15-question business application and a design portfolio. The Halstead Grant application deadline is May 1st.
No matter what shape your business takes, Northwest is here to help. Even if you’re not ready to start your business today, you can start a free account and get loads of free tools and resources to help you navigate the business world. And if you need a registered agent or a corporate filing service down the road? We’ll be there.