The past decade has been monumental for women who own businesses. Not only are such businesses growing faster than any other kind, but these strong female leaders are achieving astounding results. With a woman at the helm, businesses are more efficient with their capital, see better ROI, score more revenue, and outperform male-led businesses by more than 60%.
And all this is accomplished despite the egregious gender gap in funding! Seriously, if you aren’t impressed by these statistics, you don’t have a pulse. Thankfully, the funding disparity is less severe now than in the past. But it’s still a stark reminder of the difficulties women face in the world of entrepreneurship. And it’s essential that female entrepreneurs are aware of the special resources and grants available to help level the playing field.
Every year, tens of millions of dollars are given away in the form of grants. Most of these small business grants come from the federal government or private grant programs. A select number are earmarked as business grants for women and startup business funding for women.
Ready to jump in? The great news is that there are federal grants for women and other sources of free money for women starting businesses. Here are some prime examples:
You’re probably familiar with the borrower-friendly loans facilitated by the SBA, but these community organization grants can be an excellent way to secure additional funding.
It takes work to secure government grants for women and other free money for women starting businesses. First, you’ll need to find a grant that you qualify for. Next comes the application, which can be an arduous process. Due to intense competition, most grant applications are denied. But your efforts are never in vain because every time you apply for a grant, you’ll learn more about the process and get closer to obtaining these crucial funds for your small business.
How do I qualify for a small business grant?
Each grant comes with its own set of qualifications. For example, most of the grants listed above are exclusive for businesses that are led by women. Others are open to all small business owners. Some are only intended for businesses that are making an impact in society or on the environment, while others welcome businesses of all stripes.
Be sure to carefully read all of the qualifications before applying for government grants for women and other grants for women so that you don’t waste your time submitting for opportunities you don’t qualify for.
What is the difference between WOSB and WBE?
If you want to bid for government contracts that are intended for businesses owned by women, you’ll need to certify through the US Small Business Administration to be included among the nation’s Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB).
If you want to certify in the private sector, you need to go through a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certifying agency. Prominent options include:
Your WBE certification will be valid with nearly all companies that you would like to connect with. There’s a chance that your WBE certification would also be accepted by some federal agencies, but if you plan to seek government contracts, you should give yourself the best chance of success with WOSB certification.
How do I self-certify a woman-owned business?
In the past, small businesses could self-certify. But the requirement moving forward is that you’ll need to apply for certification through the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business federal contracting program or through a third-party certifying agency.