The government encourages women to start their own businesses by providing them funding through small business loans and government business grants for women that can be used for start-up costs, training, development and research. The government also provides counseling and access to other resources and partnerships. Grants and loans are available for women who are interested in businesses involved in scientific research and development of new technology and ideas. The federal governments gives state agencies grant funds directly so that they can provide programs in each state that help women promote new businesses in areas of agriculture, child care, environmental issues, technology, education, tourism and job creation and training.
SBA Research & Development Grants & Loans
If your business in involved in scientific research and development, there may be federal grants that you qualify for under the Small business Innovation Research (SBIR) or the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) government programs. Available grants can be accessed by going to the government’s website at www.grants.gov or checking directing with the following government agencies:
Since 1979, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership has helped women entrepreneurs reach their dreams and goals, especially minority women and other underserved women. There are a number of different district programs available. Women are given access to counseling, training, credit, capital, and other opportunities including federal contracts. In 1988, the SBA also developed the Women’s Business Center Program, which now has offices in most states. The Centers provide women with many resources to enable them to develop and expand their businesses.
The SBA has a number of low interest loan programs as well which are available to women. Under the Recovery Act, approximately 20% of leveraged funds totally more than $16 billion have been lent to women who own small businesses. The SBA also provides disaster assistance to women who own small businesses.
State Business Grants for Women
Business grants for women are available through state and local agencies. Many states provide grants for women who are interested in starting child care centers, developing marketing ideas for state tourism, developing energy efficient technologies; provide senior care services and other types of businesses. Amounts vary and competition is stiff. Women should check their local state’s website for grants for women in business programs.
Most business grants for women require the applicant provide a business plan. Your business plan should highlight your expertise and your team of experts, growth prospects, exit strategies and demonstrate the need for your business. The government also especially looks to invest in businesses that benefit the environment, provide energy efficiency related products, services and technologies, job training and adds new jobs to local communities. Many private funders such as corporations and organizations also fund women who want to start a new business. They are looking for new businesses that will promote their brand as well.
Grants are free, although some may require that the grantee match funds or combine grant funds with low interest loans. There is no guarantee that a grant will be approved. Therefore, grantees should apply to multiple funding opportunities to ensure a greater success of obtaining their funding.