Women don’t just own businesses these days. In many ways, they own business. After all, women contribute more than $3 trillion to the economy and businesses with female founders perform 63% better than those run by all-male teams.
To put the impact of women into perspective, The Economist declared, “The economic empowerment of women across the rich world is one of the most remarkable revolutions of the past 50 years.”
But financing options aren’t keeping up with the growth in women-led businesses. Last year, women-led businesses only received about 2% of the $85 billion invested by venture capitalists. All-male business teams, on the other hand, received $79 billion. The remaining 19% was claimed by mixed-gender teams.
This disparity in financing is actually smaller than it’s been in the past, but it’s still a stark reminder of the difficulties women often face in the world of entrepreneurship. The good news is that there are special resources and grants available to help level the playing field.
Grants can be notoriously difficult to land, but there are many options available to female business owners. Most government grants are intended for purposes other than small businesses, but if your business meets the technology- or economy-boosting goals of certain government agencies, you may qualify. Start your search by visiting Grants.gov and viewing the options to see if you’re eligible.
And there are many women-specific grant options available outside of the official government channels. You can start by checking out noteworthy options like the Amber Grant, InnovateHER Challenge, Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant, and The Halstead Grant.
Most of the grants listed above are intended for very specific types of business, so it’s also a good idea to broaden your net. Female entrepreneurs can find more general grant options through channels such as the IdeaCafe Grant or the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Micro-Business Grants.
The Small Businesses Association’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership is also a great place to begin the search for financial resources (though it doesn’t include grants). It provides education and support for female entrepreneurs, with the express purpose of helping them start and grow their businesses.
By leveraging the resources of the SBA and keeping a sharp eye out for relevant grants, female entrepreneurs can continue to be a force in the business world. After all, the “revolution” referred to by The Economist is ongoing. And because of it, the future is increasingly bright for women in business.