Grants for women in business are primarily available through local government agencies, which receive their funding from the federal government. Grants can help women start new businesses, development products, services, ideas and new technologies. The government gives research and development grants through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Private companies and organizations also provide grants for women and minorities to start businesses.
Grants are in high demand and there is always competition for these resources. When looking for grants, applicants should start by searching the government’s grant site at www.grants.gov, looking at local state websites and corporate and business websites. Searching for grants takes time. Hiring a professional grant writer is recommended. It is also a good idea to hire a team of experts such as an account, CPA and/or attorney to assist you with financial planning and creating your business plan. Most grantors will want to review your business plan before deciding to grant you funds. Having a professional team behind you also shows the grantor that you are more credible and serious.
SBA Loans and Other Funding
The government also provides low interest SBA loans for women to start a new business or expand their existing business. Many different programs are available. The SBA posts their loans and grant opportunities at their website at www.sba.gov. While grants are free, loans must be repaid.
Women must also rely on other methods of obtaining financing such as from banks, venture capitalists, friends and family because there is no way of knowing if a grant will be approved. There is a possibility that you may only receive half or a quarter of the funding you ask for or none at all. Don’t be discouraged though. Eventually, you will find funding to start your business if you stick with it and also apply to multiple funding opportunities.
What You Should Know?
It is important to read the funder’s guidelines making sure that you are eligible for the funding. Always complete and answer all the questions on the grantor’s application and provide the documentation requested. Submit your application early because there are other businesses looking for funding and a limited amount of funds. Corporate and private grantors like to grant funds to women whose businesses promote their brand name as well. Grants do not have to be paid back like loans. Sometimes, the grantor may ask you to match the funding though.
Business grants for women are the best source of obtaining money to start a new business or expand your existing business. The government and private businesses know that providing women with capital and resources to start their business is good for everyone in the community.