Grants for Women Starting a Business

Women in business play a significant role in the U.S. economy generating more than $900 billion in revenue annually with numbers steadily increasing. The federal government recognizes this tremendous contribution and offers a wide range of financial aid through its agencies including grants for women starting a business.  These grants are available for the start-up of new businesses as well as for the expansion of an existing business.

Organizations such as Womens-Finance.com provide tips, advice and financial aid for women who are launching a new business as well as those who currently own and business and are looking to expand, purchase equipment, develop new products, etc. These small business grants can range from as little as $100 to as much as $5000. In order to be eligible to apply one must be a female U.S. resident over the age of 18 and are required to make a minimum $15 donation to the Women’s Financial Fund.

The National Institutes of Health also provide grants for women and other socially disadvantaged groups within the private sector for businesses involved in the innovation of technology. These grants are designed to encourage women in small businesses to help meet the federal government’s research and development needs.  Some of these specialized projects are offered by the National Institutes of Health and include:

  • Environmental Health – to study the effects of exposure to environmental agents
  • Human Genome Research – to acquire physical and genetic maps and ascertain the deoxyribonucleic acid sequences of the human genome.
  • Drug Abuse and Addiction Research – to acquire new knowledge and means of approach in conjunction with basic, biomedical and clinical neuroscience, epidemiologic, disparity and health services including behavioral and social science.
  • Communication and Deafness Disorders – to explore positive, viable solutions that would directly affect people suffering from deafness or other disorders relating to communication in respect to balance, taste, hearing, voice, smell, language and speech.

The small business grants application process can be a daunting one and present some difficulties to even seasoned entrepreneurs. Unfortunately many women become intimidated by the amount of information required to fill out an application and their applications are often rejected due to simple issues that can be easily avoided. Some of the most common mistakes are found to be:

  • Blank spaces – Never leave any blank spaces in an application. If a specific question does not apply to your circumstances make sure to write N/A in the space. Leaving unanswered questions can raise concerns by the grantor that you may also not be as thorough as necessary in your business endeavors.
  • Business Plan – Most grant applications require a completed business plan but even if one is not requested, much of the information within your business plan will be questions in the application. It will also give the grantor confidence that you are well prepared and have investigated all aspects of the market and your business in particular.
  • Application Deadline – No matter how professional your grant application package is if it is submitted after the posted deadline; it will not be considered! Always make certain that the grant you are applying for has a deadline that gives you ample time to gather all the information you need and have it postmarked in advance of the specified date.
  • Personal Contact – It is recommended that you have the name of someone on the grant panel that you can contact with questions regarding the application or grant parameters. Make sure that any questions you have are well thought out in advance and not ones that are clearly spelled out in the proposal. It is always beneficial to have made a personal connection with those in charge of reviewing and awarding any grant proposal.
  • Proofread and Proofread Again – Your grant application package is the first impression that the reviewing and awarding panel has of you and your business. Once you have completed the application use a dictionary or the spell check feature of your computer to ensure there are no obvious errors. It is also a good idea to have someone else read your application; fresh eyes will often pick up small errors that the writer will not notice. Remember that typos and grammatical errors can cause your application to be rejected.

Grants for women who wants to start a business is a unique opportunity that can go a long way in helping to launch or expand a business that would otherwise not be possible.  A key component in finding the right grant lies in doing your research and knowing where to find the information that you need. Before you spend any money remember that there is plenty of free advice on such things as writing a professional business plan and key sites that will help you locate government and other grants for women who are starting a business or expanding and existing one. While conducting your research always keep in mind that no one can guarantee you will be awarded a grant and that legitimate grantors will never contact you personally with offers of free grant money nor is there ever a charge for filling out a government grant application.

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