Business Grants for Women
By Rebecca Game
Many women in business find that in order to meet their business' financial needs, they turn to searching out a loan source. Business loans for women are widely available through the Small Business Administration and a variety of other sources such as banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Loans, however, are not the only source for financing. In some instances, business grants for women are available.
Business grants for women are a wonderful option for some women in business. Grants are an excellent source of funding because grants are not repaid. The funding is provided through government resources that have been budgeted for specific needs in our national community. Anyone is open to apply, so business grants for women are available to anyone regardless of gender, race, religion, or background.
The downside of grants is that business grants for women are not widely available. Rather, business grants for women are available only to select businesses and under very strict circumstances, mostly for research or development. Technologically-focused businesses, for example, will find it much easier to qualify for a grant than a craft or retail business. Still, because the money is readily available, even if your business is retail oriented, it may be of benefit to check into business grants for women available for various resources that could assist you in your business.
According to Denouement Solutions and Grants.gov, the United States government and its government organizations offer more 1000 grants totaling more than $400 billion in grant funding every year. Only 10 percent of citizens that qualify for these grants actually apply for grants, despite the fact that many more than that would qualify for a business grant for women. Therefore, even though not every individual or business is eligible for a business grant for women, it certainly can be beneficial to check into business grants for women.
According to grants.gov, the United States government's web site and main resource for grants that are available and can be applied for, there are more than 1000 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies. These programs fall into 21 different categories, as defined by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. While some agencies may list available grants under multiple grant categories, the Federal government lists these categories of grants as follows:
- Business and Commerce
- Community Development
- Consumer Protection
- Disaster Prevention and Relief
- Employment, Labor, and Training
- Environmental Quality
- Food and Nutrition
- Information and Statistics
- Law, Justice, and Legal Service
- Natural Resources
- Regional Development
- Science and Technology
- Social Services and Income Security
Even though the category of Business and Commerce may be what appears to have the largest selection of resources for business grants for women, consider the other categories as well, according to where your business falls. For example, if your business is a restaurant, don't hesitate to check the Food and Nutrition category for grants currently available. If your business is a farm, check the Agriculture section.
Grants aren't available for starting or opening a new business, and they also aren't available for expanding on an existing business. However, business grants for women can offer funding for research or development of the business. Many grants may not be applicable to your particular business or needs, but there may be funds available for research, education, or other things needed for you to operate and improve your business to help you achieve business growth.
In general, when considering the options for a business grant for women, do your homework and read carefully. Look at all grants available that might be related to your particular business. Consider looking into the Business and Commerce section, of Grants.gov, as mentioned, and also look into the different categories of grant fundings. Take the time needed to read the grant qualifications carefully. With any business, check into the Regional Development category, as well as the Community Development category. Depending on your location within the United States, it's possible to qualify for a grant to economically develop certain areas, and expanding a business in one of these areas can possibly assist you in qualifying for a business grant for women.
Additionally, consider applying for an educational grant if returning to school is an option you'd like to consider. Many grants for higher education are offered each year, and not all are awarded. Knowledge is an extremely valuable business tool, and because the money is readily available for those who qualify, and educational grant is an excellent option to consider as a business grant for women.
Contact the specific government agency offering the grant for tips, information, and to ask questions before submitting your application.
About The Author
Rebecca Game is the founder of Digital Women, an online community for women in business. A 30 year entrepreneur and dedicated to helping other women find business loans and business grants.
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