Government Grants for Women Business Owners

Starting and running a business can be difficult to do. It can be even more difficult for women. Regardless, more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs. One of the challenges women business owners face is financing. Luckily there are a number of resources available to assist women. Government grants for women business owners can be difficult to locate, but there are organizations, services and even software programs available to guide you. Grants are available from nongovernment sources as well.

  • Government Assistance. A good place to start is the Small Business Administrations (SBA), specifically the Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) that oversees a network of Women’s Business Centers (WBC). They provide training, counseling and have a grant program.
  • Women’s Associations. A great deal of support, financial and otherwise, can be obtained by joining any of the numerous women’s organizations, such as:
    • NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners
    • NAFE – National Association for Female Executives
    • NWBC – National Women’s Business Counsel
  • Funding Associations. Some associations work specifically on making funding available. For example, the AAUW (American Association of University Women) (www.aauw.org) is one of the largest private sources of funding for graduate women. Another is The Women’s Funding Network (www.wfnet.org).
  • Corporate Programs. Many corporations are involved in programs that assist women, either directly or through funded foundations. For example:
  • Foundations. There are a number of foundations that have organized to be able to provide specific types of grants to women. For example:
    • Washington Women’s Foundation http://www.wawomensfoundation.org/ is a donor education and grant-making organization of over 500 women who come together to pool and direct financial and intellectual resources.
  • Professional Grants. Certain professions use grants and loans to advance women to further advance the status of their profession. Other professions supply grants to further specific causes.
  • Family and Honorarium Foundations. Some foundations are set up by families or to honor an individual. For example, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation www.barbaraleefoundation.org was founded by Barbara Lee to strategically advance two of her longstanding passions – women in politics and the contemporary arts.

A word of caution – the Internet is riddled with grant scams. Be sure you are dealing with a legitimate organization before disclosing any confidential business information. As is almost always the case, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not legitimate.

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