This month is Women’s History Month, an important time to reflect on the progress that women business owners have made, and the challenges that persist.
The past two years have posed incredible challenges for small businesses, especially women-owned small businesses. As female entrepreneurs continue to work to recover and maintain their businesses’ critical roles as the backbone of our communities, it is an ideal time for us to take advantage of the many helpful and free resources available.
But with so many options out there, I know firsthand how daunting it can be to attempt to figure out which resources are the right fit for you, and your business goals. So, with this in mind, I have rounded up a list of a few of my favorite resources for training, providing grants, and business loans. Bookmark these resources below:
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready is a free online curriculum that gives small businesses tools to succeed in today’s digital world. There are some great resources for female small business owners, such as a virtual workshop on “Getting Certified: Paths for Minority/Women-Owned Businesses,” and the Women in Business Mentorship Program. As a Verizon partner, this is a resource I highly recommend – you can even take a few courses taught by me! Sign up today.
Back2Business Grant Program
Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) has partnered with Fiserv to offer the Back2Business Grant powered by Fiserv. This grant application should be used by small business owners with a Fiserv associate referral code. If you do not have a Fiserv associate referral code, please submit your application here.
USA Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative
USAWEC is a practical, high-touch, relationship-based program relevant to today’s women business owners and the economic challenges they face while operating in the USA. The program includes interactive live sessions, applied learning activities,1:1 mentor sessions with talented and committed business leaders, and other unique program offerings. The program will soon start accepting applications for a cohort of 150 US-based female business owners looking to grow successful, resilient, and scalable businesses. Applications open from April 1st-April 15th, and there is no cost to participate. For more info:https://www.thecge.net/institutes-initiatives/the-usa-women-entrepreneurship-cooperative-usawec/
The “Amber Grant” was founded in 1998. The grant was set up to honor the memory of Amber Wigdahl, who died at just 19 years old — before realizing her business dreams. WomensNet proudly gives away at least $30,000 every month in Amber Grant money. In recognition of the diversity of businesses owned by women, we’ve also expanded our grant-giving to include “Marketing Grants,” “Business Category Grants,” as well as two “$25,000 Year-End Grants.”
Submitting one application makes you instantly eligible for all grants related to your business. We announce the grant winners by the 23rd of the following month. View Application
Hello Alice created the Small Business Funding Center to curate the best grant opportunities and all with one simple application. https://funding.helloalice.com/all-grants/ As women business owners have more difficulty qualifying for business loans than other groups. They also offer resources to secure small business loans. They can connect you with 90+ lending and financing partners at https://funding.helloalice.com/small-business-financing/
Power Forward Grant
The Power Forward Small Business Grant program aims to create a lasting impact through the economic empowerment of Black-owned small businesses across New England. Through a combined commitment of $1 million, Vistaprint, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation are teaming up with the NAACP to award transformative grants of $25,000 on a rolling basis. Through this initiative, grant recipients will have opportunities to be featured on national co-branded platforms along with receiving marketing and design resources customized to their specific needs to help their business grow and thrive. This grant fund will close when funds are depleted. Apply here
BGE Energizing Small Business Grants
BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Small businesses located within BGE’s service area across Maryland can now apply for a BGE Energizing Small Business Grant of $20,000. This grant program is part of BGE’s $15 million pledge to assist small businesses with COVID-19 relief and recovery and is a multi-year commitment expected to run through at least 2023. Interested business owners can apply now at bge.helloalice.com.
KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program
KKR Small Business Builders has an emphasis on companies that are pivoting their business in response to the pandemic and are providing important community services. For the seventh round of the program, KKR is pleased to support small businesses with female founders with $10,000 grants. Applicants must be 51% woman-owned and have 5 to 50 employees, and revenue should not exceed $7 Million. Apply Here
IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database
There are organizations that serve as grant managers for corporations. IFundWomen is a non-profit that offers grants often on behalf of their corporate partners. You may want to complete Universal Grant Application Database is where they look first for qualified grant applicants. Here’s how it works: when IFundWomen brokers a grant with a partner, they will match the partner’s grant criteria to businesses in the database. If you’re a match, you will be notified and invited to apply. Register here
Mission Driven Finance
Mission Driven Finance launched in 2016 to fill the gap between philanthropy and traditional investments—commonly known as “impact investing.” They specialize in providing business loans not based on credit scoring. They are more than a lender, they are a creative partner. They are passionate about reconnecting capital and community. They serve people who are often overlooked. Learn more about financing options here.
LISC Lending Services
LISC is a national non-profit organization that has distributed more than $215 million dollars in grants to small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis. They offer grants, often on behalf of their corporate partners, including Verizon, Lowe’s, P&G, Sam’s Club, Synchrony, and Truist. They are also a mission-based lender, offering business loans of $100,000 to $500,000 for permanent working capital, leasehold improvement, and equipment. LISC also provides commercial construction and acquisition loans from $500,000 to $5 million. To learn more Click here
National Women’s Business Council
National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is the only independent federal advisory committee for the approximately 13 million women-owned businesses in America. In addition to promoting and protecting the interests of women-owned businesses, every Wednesday, the NWBC hosts a variety of free webinars and virtual business owner roundtables.
Association of Women’s Business Centers
The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) is a nonprofit organization that is sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). They help women-owned businesses across the U.S. The SBA has more than 100 Women’s Business Centers around the country, where women can receive training, mentoring, microloans, and more. The centers also hold events and webinars focused on networking and business education.
Enjoy these resources, and be sure to check on these grant programs right away. Many of their applications close in March.