Women-owned businesses are a force to be reckoned with in this country. ¹In fact, there were more than nine million of them in 2014.
What’s more, there is still plenty of room for women to continue to pursue their dreams of owning a business, and a variety of incentives – such as grants – to help them do so. Here are just some of the several funding opportunities that are available today:
This Small Business Association (SBA) initiative awards $30,000 to three women-owned businesses deemed to have the most positive impact on women’s lives. Past winners include LIA Diagnostics, which developed a pregnancy test that’s more discreet, easier to use and environmentally friendly.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
Only 100 percent women-owned businesses are eligible for these grants, which reward companies founded on the principals of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation. Grants are earmarked to fund further growth.
Huggies Brand – Mom-Inspired Grants
Up to $15,000 is available to up to 12 moms to fund research and development for new products inspired by motherhood. Additional resources for start-up funding and product development are also available.
Wal-Mart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative
The nation’s retail giant also represents a huge opportunity for women-owned businesses. Over the next several years, Wal-Mart has committed to providing $40 million to U.S. and international companies as part of an overall sourcing initiative.
Mission Main Street Project
Funded by Chase Bank and Google, this initiative awards a total of $40 million in grants to help entrepreneurs take their business to the next stage of development. In addition to grants, winners receive a Google Chromebook, free research conducted with Google Consumer Surveys and a trip to the search engine giant’s headquarters.
Smart Women Smart Money
Offered by Utah-based Zion’s Bank, this grant provides up to six women-owned businesses with $3,000 for efforts in community development, business, continuing education, child and elder care, arts and culture, as well as health and human services.
FedEx Think Bigger – Small Business Grant
Grant applicants are judged on their visions for the future and can receive a portion of up to $75,000 provided annually. Judging includes public voting for finalists, so entrants are encouraged to promote their businesses in order to capture a greater share of votes.
Small Business Innovation Research
A collaboration of eleven federal agencies make these grants possible. They award small businesses with funds to explore and expand their technological potential.
To increase your chances of receiving a grant, it pays to understand the application process thoroughly, including cut-off dates for submitting your paperwork and other time-sensitive deliverables.
Most entry forms will spell these guidelines out clearly and offer personal assistance, if needed. Of course, the sooner you begin the process, the more time you’ll have to submit a thorough – and possibly winning – application.
¹For the full article, see State of Women-Owned Business report published by American Express.