Grants and loans for women owned businesses
Ask any business finance experts about small business grants for women and you are likely to hear some discouraging responses. “The competition is fierce for small-business grants, and it takes a lot of time and effort to find them and complete the applications” says one such expert, and yet she also goes on to say that the “payoff can be worth it.”
So, that is fairly encouraging but does create a few questions:
- What are small business grants for women? How do they differ from small business loans for women?
- How do these funding opportunities work?
- Who is eligible for small business loans for women and/or small business grants for women?
Let’s take a few moments to find some basic answers. Firstly, if you are eager for any such grants or loans, you must realize that the funding is limited to women owned business alone. According to Entrepreneur, there are an “estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States”. That figure represents a lot of growth over the course of the previous decade – a 45% increase in women owned business ventures. This means that women entrepreneurs are “having a tremendous impact on the small-business landscape nationwide.”
Oddly enough, despite that outstanding growth, most women entrepreneurs find traditional borrowing difficult. Fortunately, online opportunities, crowdfunding and other resources can lead to grants and small business loans for women.
To begin answering the questions, though, the difference between small business grants for women and loans for women owned businesses are simple. The grant is money freely given without a need for repayment, and the loan requires repayment.
Grants can come from federal resources, state and local options, and private grant foundations. You must be eligible for the individual grants, and this is where all that time and effort can payoff. Remember that most grants also require periodic “check-ins” with the organizations offering the grants, or reports about the ways the funds are/were used.
The complexity of finding eligible grants, making applications and following through on them is a reason that many women owned businesses turn to support services and consulting firms that can help them identify and apply for the right grants. Women entrepreneurs unable to find small business grants for women that meet their needs can then move on to small business loans for women. There are specialty lenders, such as the famous Kabbage site, that focuses specifically on supporting small businesses and women entrepreneurs in general. There are many similar options with fixed rate borrowing, but it is best to seek out those that focus on women owned enterprises.
So, you now have the basics – grants are “free money” with a few stipulations and loans must be repaid. There are women business only grants and loans, and your business must be eligible for either to obtain the financial support needed. Finding the right opportunities is somewhat tough, and it is a very good idea to seek out some consulting services to streamline the process and ensure the best results.