To help women achieve their goals, a variety of business grants are available through a wide range of sources. Grants to help women start or expand a business are generally awarded by nonprofit organizations of all kinds, especially those focused on gender-specific issues and causes. Although it’s not a direct source of business grants, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers a helpful online search tool to find grants, loans and other funding. The National Institute of Grants For Women also offers online resources to assist in the search for business grants.
Go to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Web page titled "Search for Business Loans, Grants and Financing." Check the boxes next to “I’m looking for financing to help me start a new business or venture,” “I’m looking for financing available to women business owners” and any others that apply to your situation.
Use the pull-down menus to select your business venture’s industry and your state of residence, and click “Search.” When the page of results appears, scroll down to the “Grants” heading.
Browse through the list of grants you may qualify for, read the summaries of each and determine if any are a good match for you. If so, click on name of the grant -- a link that will take you to a Web page with further information about the grant and how to apply for it.
Go to the National Institute of Grants For Women's homepage, and scroll down to the “Search Grant Opportunities” heading. There you’ll find links to an alphabetical directory of dozens of organizations and foundations that offer grant funding to women. Read the summary of each, as well as the grant amount range, to determine if you’d like to apply. If so, click on the link provided and visit the organization’s site for more information or to apply.
Begin applying for the grants that seem the best fits for your specific type of business and other qualifying factors. Some organizations may require a more formal grant proposal instead of a simple application form. You can attempt to write one yourself or hire a freelance grant writer through an online source such as Upwork (upwork.com) or Guru (guru.com).
Apply for a grant by filling out all necessary forms -- adhering to any organizational guidelines -- and submit them in a timely manner (or by the deadline, if applicable). The organization’s decision makers will then review your application, determine whether to award the grant to you and notify you when a decision is reached.
Be sure to check the eligibility requirements very carefully before applying. If you're a perfect fit, go ahead and apply. But if not, don't waste your time -- or the organization's. Most have plenty of applicants who fit their requirements exactly.