Mary Barra, Indra Nooyi, Merillyn Hewson – CEO of General Motors, PepsiCo and Lockheed Martin respectively, prove that women have arrived in business. It is common to see women aspiring to be successful entrepreneurs today. Small business is one landscape where women are increasingly trying to find a foothold with their leadership skills, business skills and creativity.
The world of small business is very competitive and women need funding for their various business ventures. Many women entrepreneurs have faced the irony of being turned away by banks for small loans. But thankfully there are various other options that they can resort to like online loans, crowdfunding etc. There is also this less popular and very effective government grants that women can avail of.
What is Government Grant?
A government grant can be said to be money that one does not need to pay back. But it is less popular because the whole process of taking a grant is a very complex process. There are certain things that a businesswoman interested in taking a business grant must think about.
a. She should research and find out which grant she is eligible to take.
b. She has to adhere to the rules and regulations that govern the whole grant process
c. Anyone wanting to avail of business grant must compete with others who are also fighting for the same pool of money.
d. The moment one is allowed to use a grant one should report exactly how one would use it.
e. After receiving the grant one needs to spend a lot of time in filling and sending applications.
f. The last thing is of course to wait till the grant is approved.
It is clear that government grants require a lot of time. In the wake of emergency funding needs there have been many private grant programs that aim to help small women entrepreneurs. Let us take a look at the most popular.
1.The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program:
This program gives away five grants to women annually. The criteria to avail of these grants require that a business is completely women owned. The founding principles of a business must be social consciousness, sustainability and innovation.
2. Huggies Brand – Mom Inspired Grants:
This private grant as the name suggests is all about mothers. It grants up to a maximum of $15000 to help in the development of innovative products that are inspired by the wisdom that comes with motherhood. Women who avail of this grant also receive resources to develop their innovation and start-up businesses.
3. FedEx Think Bigger – Small Business Grant Program:
This grant is given out to applicants who are willing to share their business vision. It provides the winner a portion of the $ 75000 that the program provides in grants. The winner with the best vision is chosen among the applicants by public voting.
An advantage of trying to receive this grant is that applicants also get to show case their skill and business in front of a large audience. If not the grant, this program sure raises visibility of a company.
4. Idea Café Small Business Grant:
The Idea Café is an increasingly popular brand with business because it is a free gateway that hosts various grants on its site. It grants businesses with the most innovative idea a grant that suits the on-going program.
5. Chase Google – Mission Main Street Project:
Chase and Google have come up together to award $3 million dollars in grants. The early recipients of this grant was awarded $150,000 to assist the development of their business. Going by the brand name the recipients also received a trip to Google Headquarters, a Chromebook laptop and also a $2000 coupon for a market research study that is in alliance with the Google Consumer Surveys.
6. Small Business Innovation Research:
This is a combined program where a total of eleven federal agencies come together to participate in this program. The Small Business Innovation Research is an awards based program basically. It enables SMEs to explore their possible technological potential.
7. Small Business Technology Transfer Program:
The STTR program keeps a specific amount of funds from federal research and development funding. This fund is used to help SMEs have access to funding opportunities in research and development.
8. Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corp Small Business Competition:
This is a competition that is held by Capitol One and Count me In by Women’s Economic Independence. Participants of this competition are allowed to present before the audience a two-minute speech winning which would help the winner to take part in a business accelerator program that runs for nine months.
9. Wal-Mart Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative:
This program is a part of Wal-Mart’s initiative. It is possible that this initiative will increase sourcing opportunities for companies all over the world to about $40 billion dollars.
10. Zions Bank – Smart Women Smart Money:
Zion’s Bank is a Utah based bank that offers grant annually across six categories that includes business. It awards an amount of $3000 to awardees.
These are many private grants options that women can avail of for their
businesses. The type and kind of grant of private grants vary in different places. There are many women in business who are unaware of the possibility that private grants bring in. For those aspiring women entrepreneurs reading this – ‘Are you aware of private grants in your country or state?’ If yes, well and good it’s high time you start exploring these options. For those hearing about private grant for women for the first time it is important that they don their research caps and find out about it.
Funding a SME is a difficult job. But it is not something impossible. The trick lies in reaching out to sources who are supportive rather than the ones who lack a trust in your ability as an entrepreneur. There are many supportive sources that help women entrepreneurs. Find your way to a source and say Good-bye to funding problems.