Grant Opportunities for Women Founders

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Women founders, this one’s for you!

You started your business, which is a challenging feat for anyone to undertake. Now, you are looking for financial investments and venture capital to boost your business. So, where do you start? It is important to understand the variety of options available to you, so you can make the best choice for your business. Let us explain…

You’re probably wondering…what is a grant? A grant is a fund given to a business from an entity such as (but not limited to) the government, a charitable organization, or a foundation/institution. This means a grant can be federal, state, local, industry-driven, or non-profit driven. The best part is: unlike a loan, a grant is non-repayable. (Yes, you read that right.) Think of it as the best gift your business could ever receive: money in, and no money out. 

Okay, so how do grants work? Grants vary in terms of application process, eligibility, requirements, and funding amounts. Grants can be available to a broad range of businesses, though some are designed for more specific applicants, like those that are woman-owned.This means there are opportunities out there for all business types, and you can find options suited to your unique place in the industry. 

Alright alright, we’ll name some for you!

  1. FedEx Small Business Grant: 

Who it’s for: The FedEx Small Business Grant is for registered US for-profit small businesses.

Grant amount: The grant amounts vary from year to year but have ranged from $15,000 to $50,000 in the past.

How to apply:

  • To apply for the FedEx Small Business Grant, you must meet the eligibility criteria, which include being a registered US for-profit small business, having been in business for at least six months since entry, having fewer than 99 employees, and possessing a valid shipping address number.
  • The application process involves completing an application on the FedEx website.
  • The application is typically available during the contest period, which in previous years, has opened at the beginning of the year.
  1. Amber Grant: 

Who’s it for: The Amber Grant is specifically designed to support women entrepreneurs.

Grant amount: 

  • The grant offers a monthly award of $10,000 to one selected woman-owned business.
  • Additionally, the monthly winner becomes eligible for a year-end grant of $25,000.

How to apply: 

  • To be eligible for the Amber Grant, the business must meet the following criteria:
  1. The business should be at least 50% woman-owned.
  2. It should operate independently.
  3. The business should have a compelling story.
  • Monthly applications are accepted, and one grant winner is chosen each month.
  • Applicants can submit their entries throughout the year, and a new winner is selected at the end of each month.
  • To apply for the Amber Grant, interested women entrepreneurs can visit the WomensNet website (https://ambergrantsforwomen.com/) to find updated details and deadlines for the application process.
  1. Cartier Womens Initiative Award: 

Who’s it’s for:

  • The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is open to women entrepreneurs worldwide.
  • To be eligible for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, businesses must meet the following criteria:
  • For-profit ventures
  • Between one to five years old
  • Showcase a promising growth trajectory
  • Have a clear and positive societal and environmental impact

Grant Amount:

  • The award offers significant financial support to women-led ventures with the following grants: $100,000 for the first prize, $30,000 for the second prize, $20,000 for other finalists.

How to Apply:

  • The application period for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award typically takes place from June/July to August/September.
  • Aspiring women entrepreneurs can submit their projects for consideration during this period.
  • To apply for the award and to learn more about deadlines and submission guidelines, interested individuals should visit the official site: https://www.cartierwomensinitiative.com.
  1. Tory Burch Foundation: 

Who it’s for:

  • The Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition Initiative is for women entrepreneurs and business owners. The Embrace Ambition Initiative by the Tory Burch Foundation aims to provide support and financial assistance to women entrepreneurs, empowering them to make a positive difference in their businesses and communities.
  • To be eligible for this grant, the business must meet the following criteria:
  • At least 51% owned, controlled, and led by women.
  • In operation for at least two years.
  • Able to demonstrate a promising and sustainable business model.
  • Show a commitment to creating a positive social and/or environmental impact.

Grant Amount:

  • The grant amount and the number of grants awarded vary from year to year.
  • In the past, grants have ranged from a few thousand dollars to up to $100,000.

How to Apply:

  • Applications for the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition Initiative typically open around January or February.
  • The application period closes a few months later.
  • To apply for the grant and to get the most up-to-date information regarding application dates and deadlines, interested individuals should visit the official Tory Burch Foundation website through this link: https://www.toryburchfoundation.org
  1. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (STTR): 

Who it’s for:

  • The SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs are grant initiatives in the United States designed to support and fund small businesses engaged in innovative research and development (R&D) projects that have potential for commercialization.

Grant Amount:

SBIR/STTR awards are typically provided in phases:

  • Phase I awards range from $50,000 to $150,000 and support proof-of-concept and feasibility studies.
  • Phase II awards can go up to $1 million and fund further R&D, prototype development, and testing.
  • Some agencies may offer Phase III, which involves the commercialization of the technology with non-SBIR/STTR funding.

How to Apply:

Eligible applicants for the SBIR/STTR grants must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Being a U.S.-based for-profit company with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Conducting the majority of the research work in-house.
  • Aligning the project with the specific research topics and priorities outlined by the participating federal agencies.
  • To apply for the SBIR/STTR grants, interested individuals can access the application portals for the respective agencies through the following links:

NIH SBIR/STTR: https://sbir.nih.gov/

NSF SBIR/STTR: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/

DoD SBIR/STTR: https://www.sbir.gov/

  1. The Heart of Healthcare: 

Who it’s for:

  • The $50,000 grant challenge hosted by Halle Tecco, the host of “the Heart of Healthcare” podcast and one of our very own Entreprenistas, is open to registered 501(C)3 organizations based in and serving in the United States. All sizes of nonprofits and funding levels are welcome to apply.

To be eligible for the grant challenge, organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a registered 501(C)3 organization based in and serving in the United States.
  • All past semi-finalists and grand prize winners are not allowed to apply again.

Grant Amount:

  • Every semi-finalist will receive a $2,500 grant.
  • The grand prize winner will receive a one-time $50,000 grant along with a full feature episode on the Heart of Healthcare podcast.

How to Apply:

  • Interested organizations can apply for the grant challenge by visiting the official website: https://www.heartofhealthcarepodcast.com/grants.
  • The grant application closes on July 31st.
  • To learn more about the selection process, criteria, and the judges, applicants can find detailed information on the official website.

Pro tips! Remember to…

  • Target relevant grant opportunities 
  • Start the application process early 
  • Customize and tailor your proposal for each grant 
  • Define your project goals and set a realistic budget 
  • Follow all application requirements 

Don’t worry! We’ve got more resources!

  1. Grants.gov: federal grant database where you can find and apply for grants from various government agencies: https://www.grants.gov/
  2. SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers): free and low-cost assistance to small businesses, including guidance on finding and applying for grants: https://americassbdc.org/find-your-sbdc/
  3. Foundation Center Directory Online: comprehensive database of grantmakers, including private foundations, community foundations, and corporate giving programs: https://fconline.foundationcenter.org/
  4. Fundid: Links business owners to a variety of tools and resources that are needed when finding funding for your small business: 
https://www.getfundid.com/grants

The odds actually are in your favor. Check out these success stories:

https://badgerbounceback.wi.gov/success-stories/
Now you have the knowledge and the power to make a worthy stride toward success within your business’ financial goals. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game! While the competition is real, so are the success stories. And hey, the entire Entreprenista community is rooting for you! 😉 Finally, don’t forget to check out the Entreprenista newsletter to stay up to date on all the latest grants available!

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