Small Business Grants for Women

Enterprise zones in the U.S. are in a state of flux. Federal enterprise zones were launched in the mid-1990s across the U.S. The impetus behind these zones was to renew neighborhoods and boost economic activity – including that of the small businesses located there – and in the process, spur job creation. Among the incentives for employers in these zones were tax credits for employees and deductions on business property.
A range of studies have shown that these zones’ incentives have made a difference in communities, but with results varying widely. These programs’ federal tax benefits were phased out in late 2013.
Some states, however, continue to support various versions of enterprise zones in partnership with local communities. For example, although California’s state enterprise zone programs were abolished at the end of 2013, the state of New York launched a program of its own at about the same time. Among other states that offer ongoing enterprise zone programs are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and Texas.
With all of these programs, job creation is big priority. If you’re looking to launch a small business with just one or two employees to keep your overhead down, your business probably will not be eligible for this kind of incentive program. But if you’re planning on having a larger payroll, it can’t hurt to do the research; every state-sponsored enterprise zone has different requirements.
The benefits to your business can include tax credits for job creation, and sales and investment tax rebates. In fact, the state of New York has sweetened the pot with zero taxes for qualifying employers in its enterprise zone communities, including no income tax, state or local taxes, sales tax, property tax, or franchise fees – for 10 years.

Where to Apply for Women-Owned Small Business Grants

It’s not uncommon for small businesses and startups to need extra funding when they’re just beginning. Small business loans are always an option, but you can also apply for grant programs that you don’t have to pay back. There are plenty of great resources out there that support women entrepreneurs, you just have to know where to find them.
Small business owners can receive grants from:
  • The government
  • Corporations
  • Foundations
  • Trusts
  • Non-profit organizations
Keep in mind that small business grants for women tend to be competitive. This means female entrepreneurs should expect that it’ll take some effort and time to win them. If you’re looking for financial assistance, be sure to look into special incentives and programs for new businesses.

Privately-Owned Small Business Grants for Women

Small business grants for women1. The Amber Grant

The Amber grant’s goal is to honor Amber Wigdahl, who died at 19 years old before she could follow her business dreams. This grant announces a $10,000 recipient the first week of every month. They’ll also announce a $25,000 annual winner every January. To apply, you just need to fill out the quick application on the Amber Grant's website.

2. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Around the world, women and girls are often the most vulnerable to climate change. The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant focuses on giving women entrepreneurs the resources they need to help solve this issue. Recently, this grant started awarding $200,000 annually in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 to applicants.
To apply, your small business will need to align with one of these objectives supported by the grant:
  • Your business helps increase women’s participation in decision making for environmental outcomes.
  • Women and girls receive training in climate change adaption, mitigation and advocacy from your company.
  • Helping women pursue livelihoods that elevate them as leaders in environmental solutions is one of your business’ objectives.

3. Cartier Women's Initiative Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is an international program that offers seven regional awards in addition to their Science and Technology Pioneer Award. This initiative aims to empower women entrepreneurs to make a difference and grow their company.
This grant chooses 21 fellows that represent the top three businesses from each of the seven regions. Each of the seven top businesses from each region receive a $100,000 grant. The 14 finalists, including the second and third runner-up businesses from each region, receive a $30,000 grant.
Before you apply, you’ll want to make sure your business is:
  • For profit
  • In its early stages
  • Generating revenue for at least one year
  • Meeting at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Led and founded by a woman
To see more qualifications and fill out an application, read through the Cartier Women's Initiative website.

4. Open Meadows Foundation

The Open Meadows Foundation is a non-profit run by volunteers. This foundation offers grants twice per year to initiatives that benefit women and girls. Some examples include:
  • Marches
  • Environmental activism
  • Labor rights
  • Economic rights
  • Boycotts
Keep in mind that this foundation doesn’t help fund:
  • Organizations with a total income greater than or equal to $75,000
  • Scholarships, internships or fellowships
  • Endowments, loans, capital campaigns
  • Personas
  • Investigación
To see more qualifications and apply, go to the Open Meadows Foundation website today. Their spring application period is January 1st through February 15th. For fall, it’s July 1st through August 15th.

5. FedEx Small Business Grant

You can also get funding for your small business through the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. The top winner receives a $50,000 grant, plus $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services. To be eligible, you must:
  • Be a for profit business
  • Have less than 99 employees
  • Be in operation for six months or more
FedEx will announce the dates for the 2021 contest in the coming year. To apply, you can visit FedEx's website.

6. 37 Angels

37 angels is a group of women investors that want to support women-owned small businesses and help more women become angel investors.
Typically, they invest $50,000 to $200,000 in each company they invest in. To learn more and find out about application deadlines, visit

7. IdeaCafe Small Business Grant Program

IdeaCafe provides small businesses with online resources that cover topics like:
  • Business ideas
  • Writing business plans
  • Marketing ideas
  • Information on where to get grants and financing
When you visit IdeaCafe’s website, you’ll be able to see the grants they have available. You can apply from there. There’s no entry fee and you don’t need to prepare a complete business plan. In the past, they’ve given out many $1,000 grants to small businesses.

8. Halstead Grant

This grant is specifically for emerging silver jewelry artists. When you apply, you’ll have to answer 15 business questions with your design portfolio. The grand prize is a $7,500 cash grant that comes with added benefits. The deadline to apply is August 1st each year. To download the application and get started, visit the Halstead Grant's website.

9. Belle Capital Grants

Belle Capital is an investment firm that offers small business owners that are women grants of varying sizes. They typically help fund industries such as:
  • Information Technology
  • Digital Health
  • Life Sciences
  • CleanTech Industries
To apply for funding, you’ll need to meet criteria like having:
  • One female founder
  • The ability to reach $20+ million in revenue within five years
  • High capital efficiency
To learn more, read through Belle Capital’s requirements on their website.

10. National Association for Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

NASE offers growth grants to micro-business owners that are worth up to $4,000 each. Small businesses can use these grants for financing different areas of their operation. Some past examples include:
  • Computers
  • Website creation
  • Marketing materials
  • Farm equipment
So far, NASE has awarded over $1,000,000 in grants to small businesses. To receive a grant, you’ll need to join NASE and apply on their website.

11. Ms. Foundation for Women Grants

The Ms. Foundation for Women provides grants to organizations that work every day on behalf of women and girls. They support issues like:
  • Economic justice
  • Gender based violence
  • Preventing child sexual abuse
Their goal is to:
  • Invest in the business’ financial health
  • Support leaders
  • Help grantees network together
They offer grants to non-profits in the U.S. However, they don’t offer funding to individuals or for scholarships.

12. Tory Burch Foundation Grants

To receive the Tory Burch Foundation grant, you must apply to the fellows program. With the fellowship you’ll receive:
  • Virtual education
  • Workshops
  • A $5,000 grant
  • Online networking access
To be eligible, you’ll need to be:
  • A for profit business
  • In your early stages
  • Generating a revenue of at least $75,000
  • Formed under U.S. law and operating in the U.S.

Federal Women-Owned Small Business Grants

Women-owned small business grants13.

This website has information on over a 1,000 grants for businesses. It’s a good resource for finding financing opportunities and government grants for your company. This platform will also help handle application submissions for federal grants and agencies.
To find the financing you need, search for it on the site and then register. From there, you can apply and track your submissions. For more information, check out the grants available.

14. SBA

You can find grants for small businesses, non-profits, educational institutions and more through the Small Business Administration (SBA). For instance, if you need a research and development grant, you could apply for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
To see what grant opportunities you can apply for, visit SBA’s website.

State & Local Female Small Business Grants

Female small business grants15. Women’s Business Centers

You can also check your local women’s business center for grant opportunities. In fact, the SBA website offers a search tool you can use to find women’s business centers near you. Some of these centers can offer you grant and financing opportunities directly or can help you find grants that fit your business. These centers also offer great networking opportunities.

16. Local Economic Development Administrations

Women business owners can also get funding and grants from local economic development administrations. To see what’s available for your business, check with your local economic development office. These grants can range in amounts, depending on the office you’re working with.

Important Resources for Getting Small Business Grants for Women

Don’t compare your business with others. Every business has different needs. To find the right grant for you, check out the grants available on and visit the EDA’s website.
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