According to Score.org, nearly one-third of all businesses in the United States are woman-owned. Statistics from 2005 reveal that 775,000 new business start ups every year (55%) are women-owned.
So where do women entrepreneurs go to find funding for their start up businesses?
Many assume that federal government programs would be at the top of list. However, there may be more opportunities at the state, county and local levels. Finding these types of grant programs requires a bit more digging, but the effort can be well worth it.
A first step would be to visit Grants.gov and look through current offerings. Next, spend several hours scouring your state’s main web site. Do the same for your county and city web sites. Send emails and make phone calls to see if you can learn of anything new that is not yet posted.
Also it’s important to know about special small business classifications that may apply in certain situations: minority-owned, disadvantaged and veteran-owned — in addition to ‘woman-owned’. If you qualify for one or more of these special categories, your application may get priority over other business owners.
In today’s economy, technology and innovation ideas have a greater chance of special grants and loan programs. Have an idea specific to green energy or recycling? The timing has never been better.
What to do if your start up is not technology or energy related? If the business start up can be made flexible to fit specific projects, such as workforce training, or capital improvements to public facilities, the funding possibilities increase.
Sign up to get information on very specific types of projects at Grants.gov and consider adapting to fit the requirements. Based on current product or service needs, you can construct a winning plan that provides a solution. Your reward for finding that solution could be a grant or low cost loan.