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Business grants for women can help you grow your business for free, as opposed to small-business loans or other types of debt-based funding that you must pay back. But competition for small-business grants is fierce, and it takes considerable time and effort to win them. 

If you’re up for the challenge, though, grants can be a great way to fund your new or existing business. Here are 31 places women entrepreneurs can look for small-business grants and other free financial resources.

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Some private corporations and organizations offer business grants for women. Here are some to consider:

1. Amber Grant

Every month, WomensNet awards a $10,000 Amber Grant to a woman-owned business in a specific, rotating category. Additionally, the organization awards a second $10,000 monthly grant to a woman-owned business and a quarterly $10,000 grant to one startup and one nonprofit. At the end of each year, two of the 12 general grant winners and one of the industry-specific grant winners are awarded an additional $25,000. 

The application is relatively simple: Explain your business, describe what you’d do with the grant money and pay a $15 application fee. The foundation’s advisory board chooses the winners, looking for women with passion and a good story. Businesses operating in the U.S. and Canada are eligible.

Because there’s no time in business requirement, companies seeking startup business grants for women may want to prioritize the Amber Grant.

2. IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database

IFundWomen is a grant marketplace that specializes in funding and coaching for women-owned businesses. You can submit one application and when IFundWomen adds a grant from an enterprise partner, it will match the partner’s grant criteria to applications within the database.

If your business is a match, you’ll receive a notification and invitation to apply. Previous grant partners have included companies like Visa, Neutrogena and American Express.

3. Atomic Grants

The Atomic Grant program offers $1,500 microgrants to women business owners. Recipients also receive one-on-one strategy coaching sessions. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with grants awarded quarterly. December 15 is the final 2023 deadline.

4. The Freed Fellowship Grant

Each month a small business owner can receive a $500 micro-grant from the Freed Fellowship. Monthly grant recipients are also eligible for a $2,500 annual grant. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

5. FoundHer Program

The FoundHer accelerator program focuses on Hawaii-based women entrepreneurs. Accepted participants to the six-month program will receive $20,000 grants, a $4,000 care stipend, weekly educational workshops and monthly learning and networking retreats. Businesses must be early-stage, for-profit and at least 50% Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander-owned to qualify. The latest application window closed on October 31, 2023, and the next accelerator program starts in March 2024.

6. The Kitty Fund Mother-Led Business Grant

Launched in 2020, the Kitty Fund Mother-Led Business Grant offers $1,000 grants to businesses founders who identify as mothers. Your business must have between two and 50 employees, be U.S.-based and have revenue of $5 million or less. Applications for the next cycle will open in March 2024. Pre-registration is open now on the website.

7. Stacy’s Rise Project

A collaboration between Stacy’s Pita Chips and Hello Alice, Stacy’s Rise Project awards $25,000 to 10 women-owned small businesses in the food and beverage industry. Eligible businesses must generate annual revenue between $25,000 and $1 million. Additionally selected recipients are required to participate in a 16-week virtual mentorship program. Applications for the 2023 round have closed, and winners will be announced in March 2024.

8. Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship

The Tory Burch Foundation offers an annual year-long fellowship program for 50 women business owners. In addition to educational resources and networking opportunities, the fellowship awards a $5,000 grant to each participant and access to 0%-interest Kiva loans. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed in November.

9. StartHER Grant

Offered by Texas Women’s University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs, the StartHER grant awards $5,000 to 25 Texas-based businesses. Businesses must be at least 51% women-owned to be eligible. Applications for the 2023 cycle are now closed.

10. Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

Every year, Cartier awards three grants to women-owned businesses in nine different regions around the world. The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards program is designed to support early-stage businesses that are focused on a range of social, economic and environmental development issues.

The first-place business is awarded a $100,000 grant, second place receives $60,000 and third place gets $30,000. Winners also receive executive coaching and the opportunity to participate in a variety of training workshops. Applications for the next cycle will be accepted from May 22, 2024 to July 3, 2024.

11. Launch Program by Ladies Who Launch

The Launch Program run by the Ladies Who Launch is open to women and nonbinary small business owners. Recipients receive $10,000 grants, mentorship from industry experts and six months of business education. The next application cycle opens in February 2024.

12. Women’s Business Development Council Equity Match Grant

Connecticut businesses that are at least 51% women-owned may be eligible for this Equity Match Grant offered by the Women’s Business Development Council. Grants between $2,500 and $10,000 will be awarded toward specific projects that will contribute to a business’s growth and profitability. Applicants must provide a minimum match of 25% for any awarded funds. The next round of funding will be announced in early 2024.

13. Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition

In its 11th year, the Fast Pitch Competition from the Women Founders Network is open to U.S. businesses founded by women. To be eligible, your business cannot have raised more than $750,000. Selected participants pitch their businesses in person and winners receive $25,000 grants. Applications for the next cycle are expected to open in 2024.

14. Founders First CDC Center for Economic Inclusion Vanguard Accelerator

Small-business owners who identify as Black or Latina women and are based in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region may be eligible for this grant opportunity. Ten businesses will receive grants of $5,000, as well as the chance to receive access to forgivable loans from $25,000 to $250,000. Pre-registration for the 2024 cycle is open now, and the full application opens in January 2024.

15. Enthuse Foundation Pitch Competition

Started in 2019, the Enthuse Foundation’s Annual Pitch Competition is open to female entrepreneurs. Participants pitch their business at an in-person event. Ten winners receive a $2,500 grant. The next found of funding will open in March 2024.

16. High Five Grant for Moms

The Mama Ladder organization offers an annual small-business grant specifically for moms. This grant, called the High Five Grant, is designed to support women caregivers with children of all ages, including first-time expecting moms, stepmoms and foster moms.

Entrepreneurs can submit an application online and share the story behind their business on social media. Finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges and then a public vote will determine the top three winners. The top business receives a $10,000 grant, the runner-up receives a $5,000 grant and the third-place finalist gets $2,500. Five additional businesses receive $1,000 honorable mention grants. Applications for the latest round closed in September and winners were announced in October 2023.

17. Female Founder Collective x FounderMade Innovation Giveaway

FounderMade and the Female Founder Collective have partnered to offer this giveaway which will award a $10,000 grant to one first-place winner. To be eligible, businesses must be at least 51% women-owned and fall into one of the following categories: food & beverage, wellness or beauty. Businesses must also be product-based and direct-to-consumer. Applications closed in September 2023.

18. Cecilia Russo Marketing Entrepreneur Grant

Georgia-based small businesses are eligible to apply for this program from Cecilia Russo Marketing, which will award three $5,000 grants. To be eligible your business must employ fewer than 500 people and must have registered in the state of Georgia within a year of your application. Applications closed on October 1, 2023. Winners will be announced during November’s National Entrepreneurship Month.

19. Small Business, Big Dreams: Women in Business Challenge

BankUnited’s Small Business, Big Dreams: Women in Business Challenge is open to women entrepreneurs in New York or Florida. Additional eligibility requirements include being a for-profit business that has no more than 20 full-time employees and an annual revenue of no more than $3 million in 2021 and 2022. One grand-prize winner will be awarded $15,000, a second-place winner will receive $5,000 and third place will get $2,500. Applications closed in September 2023.

20. She’s Connected by AT&T

She’s Connected by AT&T is open to U.S.-based small-businesses that are women-owned and have fewer than 51 employees. The grand prize winner will receive a $20,000 grant and a year of free AT&T service alongside a new device. This year’s deadline to apply was August 31, 2023.

21. Publish Her Business Impact Grant

Businesses that 100% owned by women of color are eligible to apply for this program, which will award a $5,000 grant. Your business must have been established for at least one year and generate at least $50,000 in revenue. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed in August and the grand-prize winner was announced in October.

22. Women of Color Grant Program

Organized by the Tory Burch Foundation and the Fearless Foundation, the Women of Color Grant Program awards $10,000 or $20,000 grants to 75 businesses owned by women of color annually. The application submission window for the 2023 cycle has closed.

Although these options aren’t specifically for women, they’re good small-business grants to consider for any entrepreneur.

23. National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grant

Every quarter, the NASE awards up to $4,000 to up to four small businesses via its growth grants. These funds can be used for a variety of business needs, including marketing, advertising and hiring employees.

To apply for this grant, you must be a NASE member in good standing for at least three months. Annual members can apply at any time.

24. Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant is an annual award for entrepreneurs looking to break into the silver jewelry industry. The winner receives a $7,500 startup grant, as well as $1,000 in jewelry merchandise. Five finalists and semi-finalists also receive $250 or $500 and help with promoting their businesses.

Both men- and women-owned businesses are eligible for this small-business grant. To apply, you must answer 15 business-related questions and submit a design portfolio. Applications for the next cycle are open now and will be accepted until May 1, 2024.

25. Bizee Fresh Start Business Grant

The Bizee Fresh Start Business Grant (previously known as the Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant) is open to entrepreneurs who are just starting their business. To be eligible you must be a U.S. resident who is at least 21 years of age. Grants are awarded three times per year and 2024 deadlines are expected to be announced soon. Each cycle, one winner will receive a $2,500 grant, as well as free business formation services from Incfile.

26. FedEx Small Business Grant

FedEx awards up to $30,000 apiece to 10 small businesses annually. One veteran-owned business from among those 10 winners can receive an additional $20,000 from USAA Small Business Insurance. Winners also receive money to use toward FedEx Office print and business services.

The application requires an explanation of your business, how you’d use the money, photos of your business and — this part is optional — a short video explaining your business. To be eligible, you must operate a for-profit business with fewer than 99 employees and at least six months of operating history. Applications for the next cycle will open in early 2024.

27. America’s Top Small Business Award

Rebranded in 2023 as America’s Top Small Business Award, this annual grant from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is open to all small business owners. To be eligible, your business must have been in operation for at least one year, you must have fewer than 250 employees and your gross revenue for both 2021 and 2022 must have been below $20 million. One grand-prize winner will receive a $25,000 grant. Applications for the latest cycle closed in July 2023.

28. Comcast RISE

Comcast awards $10,000 grants to businesses owners several times per year. Each Comcast RISE Investment Fund application cycle is open to entrepreneurs in specific target cities. You can also apply for “marketing services and tech makeovers,” which don’t include cash prizes but can still help your business grow. Applications for the 2023 cycle have closed.

Some federal government grants for small-business owners are designated for specific purposes, such as research and development projects, or for businesses in rural areas. Government grants typically can’t be used for startup costs or day-to-day expenses.

29. Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a database of federally sponsored grants, including grants for small businesses. Although these grants are not exclusive to women-owned businesses, this database is a great place to start if you’re looking for free financing.
To apply, you must obtain a Unique Entity ID for your business (a 12-character alphanumeric identification number), register to do business with the U.S. government through its System for Award Management website and create an account at Grants.gov.

To view grants specifically for small businesses, filter the results on the left side of the page under “eligibility.”

30. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs

The SBA facilitates these two competitive programs, which provide grants to small businesses that contribute to federal research and development. Eleven federal agencies — including the departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Health and Human Services — post business grant opportunities on their websites. You can search current grant opportunities on the SBIR website.
To qualify, you must operate a for-profit business with no more than 500 employees and meet other eligibility requirements.

31. Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME)

Although the SBA coordinates some grant programs, the agency doesn’t typically offer grant funding directly to small businesses. With the PRIME program, however, the SBA provides federal grants to microenterprise development organizations so that they can offer training, technical assistance and coaching to disadvantaged small-business owners.
These grants are available to nonprofit, private, state, local or tribal-run organizations, including those that focus on working with women-owned small businesses. The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, for example, was awarded a $200,000 grant in 2022.

Because federal small-business grants are limited in number and often very competitive, you may have better luck seeking out grants for women at the state and municipal levels. You’ll have to do your own research to pinpoint specific grant programs in your area, but here are some places to help you get started:

Women’s Business Centers

Economic Development Administration

Small Business Development Centers

There are hundreds of SBA-sponsored Small Business Development Centers around the country, typically housed at colleges and universities. SBDCs offer free, one-on-one business consulting, such as help with developing a business plan, researching markets and finding financing — including grants, business loans and crowdfunding.
Some SBDCs offer training on certification programs like the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program and Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certifications. These programs can help businesses level the playing field when competing in the public and private sector.

Minority Business Development Agency Centers

The MBDA operates a network of business centers across the country that are designed to help minority business owners access capital, secure contracts and develop financial strategies. Your local MBDA business center can work with you to identify the right financing options for your business, including federal, state and private small-business grants.

The MBDA also runs the Enterprising Women of Color Initiative, or EWOC, to support minority women in their business endeavors. The EWOC provides access to resources, events and other opportunities for women minority-owned businesses.

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Alternatives to small-business grants

Finding and applying for business grants can be difficult, as well as time-consuming. If you don’t qualify for certain grants — or simply want to explore other ways to fund your women-owned business — here are some avenues to explore:

Fund your dreams with a small-business loan

If grants aren’t available for your business right now, check out NerdWallet’s picks for the best small-business loans and compare your options.