Television, magazine, and web ads keep promising that there is over 400 billion dollars available in grant money today. They promise that if you send them money, they’ll tell you how to get a federal grant that you don’t have to repay. Women owned businesses are the fastest growing markets in today’s world. These ads target women wanting to start or expand their own business. They promise women business grants are easy to find and even easier to get.
The first part of their promise is true. Google women business grant and you will get 357,000 results. Few of them are actually helpful though. Most of the hits are for ad sites promising more of what you have been hearing. Remember the shocking statement in the add; that less than fifteen percent of people ever apply for these grants? That part is true too. But there are reasons for that. Many of these grants have eligibility criteria the average person cannot meet. Others are location specific grants. Meaning that if you live in Massachusetts and find a great women business grant for starting a home remodeling company, you may have to live in Alaska to qualify. Still, there are grants that you can apply for.
The Amber Grant offers women business owner’s small grants for everything from start up to expansion. The amounts are small, usually not more than a thousand dollars. But that small grant can help you buy a new computer for your business or pay for business cards and other advertising.
Most states and the Small Business Administration offer women business grants of varying amounts. It takes some research to find them. Your best bet is to go to your state’s web site and search under business assistance benefits. For instance, when you search the Commonwealth of Massachusetts official site for women business grants you are directed to their SOMWBA site (State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance). This site provides links to information ranging from the private sector, to federal government, the state, and local assistance programs. When you register with the site you can receive updates on financial assistance and access to technical assistance as well. Registration is free.
Money, in the form of grants and credit, is available to women in business. Many of the loans are subprime and easy to acquire with a better than decent repayment plan. And though you won’t qualify for every grant, the odds are good you’ll qualify for a few of them.
As a final note, WomensNet and WomenOwned are two good resources for finding women business grants. In fact, WomensNet is the place that offers the Amber Grant. They are worth looking at, but as with all things business related your best bet is to have a plan in place before you start your search. Knowing what specifically you want a grant for will shorten your search tremendously.