Are you a woman-owned small business looking for financial assistance? If so, you are in luck! There are a variety of small business grants for women that can help to jumpstart or expand your business. Many of these grants come from government and private sources, and there are even some that you may not know about.
In this article, we will be covering top 12 women-owned small business grants that you may not have heard of before. So if you are looking for funding to grow your business, keep reading to learn more about these amazing women owned small business grants!
Top 12 Grants For Women-Owned Small Business
The SBA Office of Women’s Business Ownership
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women’s Business Ownership provides a variety of resources and support for women entrepreneurs. The office offers grants, loans, and technical assistance for women-owned businesses.
The SBA provides a directory of lenders offering Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) that provide access to services such as counseling and training in starting or growing a business. The WBCs also offer a range of free classes and workshops on topics such as business plan writing, marketing strategies, and government contracting.
The SBA also runs the Women’s Business Center Federal Financial Assistance Program which provides grants to support the development and growth of women-owned small businesses. Grants are available for activities such as business training, counseling services, educational programs, mentoring programs, and research initiatives.
Additionally, the SBA has a number of resources for women entrepreneurs including its Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program which helps women-owned businesses secure federal contracts. This program provides access to an online marketplace where women-owned businesses can apply for government contracts and is backed by a variety of resources such as webinars, mentorship programs, and training courses.
Finally, the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Lending Pilot Program provides access to capital for women-owned small businesses. The program provides loans to qualified applicants through a network of participating lenders. Loans can be used to purchase real estate or equipment, refinance debt, or expand an existing business.
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) provides grants for women-owned small businesses. The organization also offers mentorship, networking, and training programs, as well as access to capital.
The primary goal of the NAWBO is to empower women entrepreneurs by offering a range of programs and services, including:
A Grant Program that provides funds for business development, market expansion, research, and more
Mentoring and Networking opportunities
Business Development Workshops that cover topics such as entrepreneurship, financial literacy, leadership, and more
Access to Capital via peer-to-peer lending and financing options
Advocacy at the state and federal levels for women business owners
To apply for a grant through the NAWBO, businesses must meet certain criteria. To be eligible, businesses must be:
Owned by an individual woman or a majority of women
Operating in the U.S. for at least one year
Registered with their local chamber of commerce
In compliance with all local, state, and federal laws
Additionally, businesses must demonstrate potential growth, innovation, and the ability to create jobs and economic opportunities. Applications are due on October 31 each year, and winners are selected by a panel of judges. For more information on the NAWBO grant program and how to apply, visit their website.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only Federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. MBDA provides comprehensive assistance to U.S. minority-owned small businesses through programs such as its Business Centers Program, which provides access to capital, contracting opportunities, and business counseling.
MBDA also offers other resources, such as the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Online Directory, which connects minority business owners with potential partners, clients, and government agencies. Additionally, MBDA works with Federal agencies to ensure that MBEs are included in federal contracts and subcontracts.
In addition to providing resources for minority business owners, MBDA also administers grants and loan programs designed to help minority business owners start or expand their businesses. The Minority Business Development Centers Loan Guarantee Program (MBDCG), for example, helps eligible businesses secure financing from private lenders. The MBDCG also provides technical assistance to minority entrepreneurs in developing business plans and accessing resources.
In 2021, MBDA launched its Women’s Business Center Grant Program (WBCGP), which provides funding to organizations that focus on supporting women entrepreneurs, including those who are economically or socially disadvantaged. The WBCGP supports entrepreneurial development activities such as business plan development, financial literacy training, and export services.
MBDA also has numerous resources specifically aimed at women-owned small businesses, including the National Women’s Business Council, which provides data and research on issues impacting women entrepreneurs, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which certifies women-owned businesses as well as provides them with access to contracting opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
The USDA offers several grants to women-owned small businesses. These include the Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program, which is designed to provide financial assistance for rural businesses that offer services and products in their communities. This program also offers technical assistance to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses.
The Women’s Business Center Program provides free business advice, training, and resources to women entrepreneurs. This program is designed to help women start and expand their businesses in rural areas.
The Women and Minority Farmers and Ranchers Program helps women and minority farmers access financing and other resources to help them succeed. This program also helps educate farmers on the latest farming technologies and practices.
Finally, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) assists women-owned small farms by providing loans, education, and technical assistance. The FSA helps farmers increase their production and yields, as well as protect their land from environmental hazards.
The National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a government agency that provides grants to small businesses and organizations to advance science and technology. NSF’s grants for women-owned small businesses are designed to encourage the development of innovative products, services, and processes in the fields of science, engineering, and technology. The agency provides funding for research, education, and training opportunities, with a focus on increasing the number of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Business owners interested in applying for an NSF grant should make sure they meet the following criteria: must be a small business; must be majority-owned by one or more women; must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; must be for-profit; and must be located in the United States or its territories.
Applicants must also demonstrate how their project will advance the mission of NSF. Projects must have the potential to develop new products, services, or processes based on scientific research or experimentation.
NSF grants are awarded in various amounts depending on the project, but typically range from $10,000 to $250,000. All projects must be completed within 24 months of award.
Business owners interested in learning more about the NSF grant program can visit their website for information on eligibility requirements, application processes, and deadlines.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a government agency dedicated to medical research and discovery. NIH has a number of programs designed to support women-owned small businesses. These include grants, contracts, and loan guarantees.
One of the most well-known grants offered by the NIH is the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program provides early-stage capital to small businesses to develop innovative technologies. SBIR grants are typically awarded for two phases; phase one is typically a six-month period in which companies must demonstrate feasibility, and phase two is a two-year period where companies must demonstrate commercialization potential.
In addition to the SBIR program, the NIH also offers grants through its Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH). The ORWH provides funding for research related to diseases, conditions, and treatments that disproportionately affect women. It also funds initiatives related to the training of scientists who specialize in women’s health.
The NIH also has a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This program provides funding for early-stage research and development projects that involve collaboration between small businesses and academic or non-profit research organizations.
Finally, the NIH offers a variety of other grants for women-owned small businesses, including loan guarantees and contracts. These programs are designed to help women-owned small businesses succeed and grow.
Overall, the National Institutes of Health offers a number of grant and contract opportunities specifically tailored to women-owned small businesses. By taking advantage of these programs, entrepreneurs can access resources that can help them achieve success and realize their dreams.
The Department of Defense (DoD)
The Department of Defense (DoD) provides grants for women-owned small businesses in the form of their Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). The OSBP provides access to a wide range of contracts, subcontracts, and grants that are designed to support small businesses.
The DoD also offers the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program, which is designed to increase the number of government contracts awarded to women-owned small businesses. This program offers a variety of services, including grants and loan guarantees to help women-owned small businesses expand their operations, purchase new equipment, hire additional staff, and develop new products and services.
In addition, the DoD also offers grants to small businesses through the National Research Program (NRP). These grants are designed to support innovative research and development projects in a variety of areas, including renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, information technology, health and medicine, and more.
The DoD also runs the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. This program is designed to promote technological innovation and economic growth through competitively awarded research grants to small businesses. These grants are available to eligible women-owned small businesses that have a technology with potential commercial applications.
The Department of Education (DoE)
If you are a woman-owned business looking to fund your education-focused venture, the Department of Education may be able to help. Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the DoE provides small businesses with competitively awarded grants of up to $150,000. These funds are specifically intended to help women-owned businesses conduct research and develop innovative products and services in the field of education.
The DoE also offers grants for initiatives focused on higher education and adult learning. These grants can range from $500 to $500,000, and are typically awarded on an annual basis. Additionally, the DoE administers the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program, which is specifically designed to increase the participation of women in apprenticeship and nontraditional jobs in the construction, energy, healthcare, and technology industries.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers a range of grants to help women-owned small businesses succeed. Some of the most prominent grants include the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awards up to $3 million to organizations conducting innovative research or developing commercial products or services.
HS also administers the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, which provides funding to organizations that work with underserved populations to increase their access to cancer screening and treatment. The Women’s Business Centers Program provides mentoring and technical assistance to female entrepreneurs, while the Regional Health Equity Councils provide funding for projects that reduce health disparities in rural and underserved communities.
Finally, the Office on Women’s Health provides grants for educational activities that focus on health issues that disproportionately affect women.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA offers grants to small businesses that have been affected by a declared disaster. These grants are intended to help business owners recover and rebuild. Eligibility for these grants depends on the type of disaster and the specific impact it had on the business. Business owners may be eligible for funding to replace damaged property, cover the cost of repairs, or restore their business operations. They may also be eligible for economic injury assistance, which can help with expenses that are not covered by insurance.
To apply for FEMA grants, business owners must complete an application and provide documentation of the damage caused by the disaster.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that helps provide financial assistance for road and bridge construction, maintenance, and safety. The FHA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) provides grants to help small businesses owned by women, including women-owned small businesses in rural areas.
Grants are typically used for capital improvements, equipment purchases, and educational training for business owners. The FHA also offers programs designed to help disadvantaged small businesses gain access to contracts with federal and state governments. In addition, the FHA administers a special program specifically targeted at helping minority and women-owned business enterprises succeed in the construction industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. To do this, they offer grants to help women-owned small businesses in a number of areas, such as energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and green technology. The EPA’s goal is to reduce the impacts of human activities on the environment and public health.
The EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program awards grants to women-owned small businesses in a variety of research and development categories, including air quality and energy efficiency. There are also several other programs available through the EPA that provide grants for women-owned small businesses. These include the Pollution Prevention Program, Green Infrastructure Grants, the Sustainable Infrastructure Program, and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
In addition to providing grants, the EPA provides information and resources to help women-owned small businesses succeed. They offer training and resources on topics such as green business practices, pollution prevention, energy efficiency, and sustainability. They also have a variety of resources on their website to help women-owned small businesses get started.
If you are interested in applying for an EPA grant, you can find more information on their website or contact their office directly. With the support of the EPA, you can get the funding you need to grow your business and make it more sustainable.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) provides grants to women-owned small businesses in the creative and cultural sectors. Grants are typically awarded on a competitive basis, with applicants expected to demonstrate their ability to make a significant contribution to the arts. Awards range from $10,000 to $200,000 and are intended to support activities such as artist fellowships, arts education, literature, theater, and more. To be eligible, applicants must meet the criteria outlined by the NEA’s program guidelines, including being a woman-owned business with fewer than 500 employees. For more information about eligibility requirements and how to apply for funding, please visit the NEA’s website.