Small Business Grant Opportunities for Women

Kayla DiPilato

In 2017, $85 billion was raised in venture capital backing in the U.S., but only 2% of this went to women-owned startups. Additionally, companies founded by men raised $12 million per round on average while women averaged only $5 million. In fact, the largest deal in 2017 by female founders was for $165 million, while the largest deal overall came in at $3 billion. 

This striking disparity is unacceptable and is something that Kuvio hopes to change as we offer management opportunities and grants to women. Luckily, there are also several other great organizations who are working to eliminate this gap by offering grants to women-owned businesses and start-ups.

The Girlboss Foundation Grant

Twice a year, the Girlboss Foundation awards grants to women-identifying entrepreneurs working in design, fashion, music or the arts. The award includes $15,000 and publicity through the GirlBoss platform. Since 2014, the foundation has awarded more than $130,000. Applicants must submit a project along with their application and demonstrate financial need.

Amber Grant

Launched in 1998, the WomensNet Amber Grant is awarded in honor of a young woman named Amber Wigdahl, who passed away at age 19 and was unable to fulfill her dreams as an entrepreneur. Each month, one woman is awarded $2,000 and becomes a finalist for a $25,000 prize awarded at the end of the year. Any woman with a business dream can apply and applicants are encouraged to speak from the heart. 

Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

This grant program supports women-owned businesses that are already beyond the start-up phase (older than three years). They select companies that are looking to expand and that have a positive social or environmental impact. Finalists are asked to submit financial information and are invited to an interview. The program has been awarding grants since 2004. 

Women’s Business Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration operates about 100 Women’s Business Centers across the country. These resource centers offer a variety of support to businesswomen, including helping them to identify local grant and funding opportunities for their business. These centers are free to visit, find the one nearest you here

The Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF)

The grant program is for women-owned businesses that operate in South Africa and is sponsored by the South African Government. The fund works to improve women’s economic empowerment by providing more affordable and responsive financing than what may otherwise be available. Businesses must be more than 50% owned or managed by women and have been in operation for more than six months.

Women Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF)

This program, sponsored by the Canadian government, was developed to help women-owned and women-led businesses invest in programs that support business expansion or growth or help businesses expand abroad. The size of the award can vary, but in 2018, the fund awarded over $30 million to over 300 projects. $2.5 million of this was allocated to indigenous women.

Kuvio Creative Impact Grant

The Kuvio Creative Impact Grant provides free web design, development, branding and operations consulting services to nonprofits along with women, veteran, or minority-owned businesses. The goal of the program is to provide recipients with professional websites and applications that are of the same quality as those who have a full budget for these types of services. 12-16 recipients are chosen each year. 

If you are part of a women-owned or managed company, we hope that this list may help you identify additional funding. If you know of another opportunity not listed here, please let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative, so that we can update the list and share as many amazing opportunities as possible. 

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