According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO.org), more than 11.6 million companies in the United States are owned by women. Generating about $1.7 trillion in sales and employing more than nine million individuals, women-owned firms (business in which 51% or more of the ownership is held by women) account for 39% of all privately held firms. Twenty percent of all firms with annual revenues of $1 million or more are owned by women.
The year just finished, 2020, was the centennial year of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote. Since that landmark event, women have made huge strides in every area of society, occupying vital posts in government, industry, and other sectors. Despite that progress, however, women entrepreneurs still report obstacles to obtaining the financing and other resources they need for their enterprises to grow and thrive. Among these are persistently negative societal perceptions of women business leaders, inadequate support and mentoring networks, and, significantly, impeded access to funding. This makes it doubly important for women entrepreneurs to know about any special opportunities presented by government policy or non-government entities that can help more women-run business grow and thrive.
Government Loans for Women-Owned Businesses
The federal government and some states offer programs designed to encourage women entrepreneurs. For example, the federal government will award contracts to companies qualifying as either a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) or an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOB). Designed to emphasize industries where women are historically under-represented, the government aims to award at least five percent of all federal contract dollars to women-owned businesses each year. Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sponsors about 100 women’s business centers around the country, designed to help women entrepreneurs with business development and access to capital. Some lend money directly to small businesses, while others can help you find grants and loans. To learn more about women’s business centers in your area, visit the SBA website here.
Grants for Women Entrepreneurs
Is there anything better than free money? A number of programs offer exactly that to women-owned businesses in the form of grants—funds that never have to be paid back. Here’s a list of organizations, both governmental and private, that offer grant funding to women-owned and other businesses:
1. Grants.gov. This database of federally sponsored grants requires a data universal numbering system (DUNS) number and registration on the federal System Award Management website.
2. Amber Grant Foundation awards $10,000 to a different woman-owned business every month. At the end of the year, one monthly winner receives an additional $25,000.
3. Girlboss Foundation Grant. This women’s career and mentoring organization offers $15,000 grants to women entrepreneurs working in design, fashion, music, and the arts. Learn more at the Girlboss website here.
4. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant. This clothing retailers awards up to $100,000 to 10 women-owned businesses each year. The program focuses on new women-owned enterprises (in business three years or less, with less than $1 million in annual revenue) working in the areas of environmental or social change.
At Shone Wealth Management, we are in the business of advising women entrepreneurs who are reaching for their dreams. Our fiduciary advisors work with each client to develop a unique approach tailored to the client’s goals and needs—always with the client’s best interested foremost. If you’d like to learn more about our services, please contact us.
To get a better handle on your business goals for the new year, click here to read our recent article, “To 2021: How to Make Sure Your Business Is on Track to Achieve Your Financial Goals.”