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grants for women-owned businesses

Small Business Grants for Women-Owned Businesses

Women-owned businesses are an increasingly powerful driver of the American economy. Roughly 40% of U.S. businesses are owned by women, and largely speaking, they tend to deliver strong performance. First Round Capital, for instance, says its women-founded companies outperformed men-founded companies by 63%. And private tech companies generate nearly a third more return on investment.

Yet women-owned businesses tend to get the short end of the funding stick.

Just 7% of venture funds went to women-led startups last year, according to Fundera. And men on average receive a loan size of $43,916 — almost $5,000 more than the average received by women.

In the interest of tipping the scales, we want to share a number of financial resources with female founders and leaders. So the following are some options women-owned businesses can loo for funding. This includes a couple of larger search platforms, as well as some of the most noteworthy small business grants available.

General Grant Sites


“Women are underserved and overlooked, and suffer continuously from unfair practices such as gender discrimination, gender underestimation, and even gender harassment. Women grants, especially business grants for women, give them the upper hand to fight back, and prevail.”

That’s the purpose of GrantsForWomen.org, a comprehensive site that connects women with grants, scholarships and other funding sources. The site constantly posts about financial awards for women-led businesses, single mothers, female students and more. It also has a comprehensive A-to-Z directory of grants and other opportunities.


Grants.gov is one of the broadest databases of federal government-sponsored grants you can find.

In fact, it’s something of a wholesale grants informational site. In addition to listing all sorts of grants — including for women-owned businesses — it’s also a clearinghouse for any information related to grants. Whether you want to learn about how grants work, how people typically qualify for awards, or even how to register your own grant, Grants.gov likely has the information you need.

Those seeking out grants, however, can check out the search function on both the website and a mobile app.

Grants for Women-Owned Businesses

Amber Grants

The Amber Grant, which was founded in 1998, delivers hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money every year to women-owned businesses. WomensNet established the grant in honor of Amber Wigdahl – a girl who died at the age of 19 before being able to see her business dreams become reality.

The primary Amber Grant is a monthly $10,000 award, with $1,000 going to four other finalists. However, WomensNet also offers two $25,000 annual Amber Grants, $10,000 monthly business category-specific grants, two annual marketing grants, a quarterly $10,000 nonprofit grant and $2,000 mini-grants throughout the year.

And best of all: Women need only fill out one form to apply for all of the aforementioned grants. There is a small administration fee ($15) to apply.

Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, founded in 2006, provides hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of funding to women-owned or -led businesses.

The initiative grants three awards to businesses in each of 10 geographic regions. First place gets $100,000, second gets $60,000 and third gets $30,000. CWI also provides grants to businesses within two themes: science and technology pioneers, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

The awards are meant for for-profit companies. However, CWI will accept some applications from “hybrid” structures such as B-corps and Community Interest Companies (CICs), as well as for-profit companies that give back heavily to charities as long as the company’s primary goal is to generate revenue.

Tory Burch Foundation

Fashion brand Tory Burch established the Tory Burch Foundation to empower women entrepreneurs by providing access to both capital and digital resources.

The annual fellows program helps female founders of early-stage companies grow their businesses via a $5,000 business education grant. It also provides high-quality live and on-demand virtual education for a year, a peer network of other founders and a trip to the Tory Burch offices in New York City.

The foundation also joins with the Fearless Fund to sponsor the Women of Color Grant Program. This program provides $10,000 to $20,000 awards every year to 150 small businesses owned by women of color.

Fearless Strivers Grant Contest

The Fearless Fund’s Fearless Strivers Grant Contest awards 11 black-woman-owned small businesses $10,000 grants, as well as digital tools and one-on-one mentorship. In addition to a national program, the contest has city-specific grants in Atlanta, Birmingham, Dayton, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City and St. Louis.

Mentors through Fearless Fund include Blavity Founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun, Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan, pro golfers Graeme McDowell and Annika Sorenstam, and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Make Sure Your Small Business Has All the Funding It Needs

The market is rife with grants, scholarships and other resources available to women-owned businesses. And we can help you find them. McManamon & Co. provides a wide array of consulting services to small and midsize businesses, including helping companies locate financing and funding, from grants to loans to investments. To learn more about what we can do for your firm, call us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online today.

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