Startup Business Grants for Women

Startup Business Grants for Women

Many more women are turning entrepreneurs these days. However, due to lack of capital, some of them have to shelve their plan even before it gets off the ground. This article provides information on business grants offered by federal agencies and private organizations that could help such women entrepreneurs.
There is a big difference between a grant and a loan. In case of the former, you do not have to repay the financial assistance provided, but the latter needs to be repaid over a period of time. When you apply for the latter, the lender will check if you are capable of repaying the funds, and whether you have a good credit rating. Whereas if you are applying for the former, the disbursing organization will have a preset eligibility criteria which you need to qualify for.

To help you understand better, a grant is a financial assistance for a specific purpose or for a predetermined target group. For example, some institutions provide aid for starting day care centers, whereas others provide assistance to minority women. People have this misconception that grants are excess funds lying in government coffers, waiting to be taken advantage of. However, that cannot be further from the truth. These funds are provided only after careful scrutiny, and only to the truly deserving and challenged.

There are two avenues: federal government grants and private funding organizations. Like any financial assistance program, you are required to fill out an application form, state your purpose, and provide details about your background. Most people get discouraged by the application process itself. However, it is advisable to go through the formalities because the outcome can be rewarding. Here are some ways of getting aid to start your business.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)

You should have a look at the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) which provides grants for women under different categories; they have over 2,000 assistance programs listed in their database. These grants help women from different walks of life and backgrounds.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Another resource is the US Small Business Administration (SBA). They also offer grant programs to organizations, that render small business management or technical assistance. The SBA mostly provides grants to those who operate for profit and have some equity to invest on their own.

You need to apply on the government grants site. Once you do this, you will get a funding opportunity number (FON). You can then track your application on their site. When you apply, you will be required to furnish information about the project details and your background.

State Governments

State governments are a good resource to look for grants closer to home. The federal government allocates development funds for each state, and the state in turn provides a part of these funds to individuals to start or expand their business. They provide grants to businesses that will benefit the community in the long term. Projects dealing with saving energy, child care, and tourism are supported by them.

Nonprofit Organizations

There are many nonprofit organizations that provide financial aid to women-owned businesses. They have cause-driven grants and they help women as a target group. Some organizations specialize in providing aid to minority women.

Whenever you want to apply for a grant, keep information about your financial background, business plan, marketing strategy, and forecasted growth ready to stand a better chance of qualifying.
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