Grants for women starting a business are primarily funded through government programs. The different types of grants for women starting a business are based on the type of business and the qualifications of the applicant. Non-profit business grants, research or educational grants, and grants for women of a minority are examples of the different types of grants available for female entrepreneurs.
Non-profit businesses such as animal shelters, child care centers and research organizations can find grants for women starting a business through regional public offices and other non-profit organizations. If the new business plan includes a need for additional education or research, there may be special educational grants for women who qualify. In the U.S., the Small Business Association (SBA) cannot provide grants to small businesses, but it can — through its counseling and training programs — offer grant money to educational and non-profit businesses. Some regional public offices and non-profit organizations also authorize small business grants for environmental and sustainability businesses and companies that can help develop the regional tourism industry.
Government grants are available for businesses engaged in scientific research and development, especially if there is great promise for commercialization. As of 2011, the SBA offers two programs, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT). Several federal agencies support research and development (R&D) projects for eligible female entrepreneurs interested in scientific research; however, government funds are highly competitive. Research grants are usually intended to provide funding for a specific project or area of development. Check the websites of public offices, non-profit organizations and universities to learn about the criteria for grant money.
There may be ways to combine two types of grants for women starting a business in the research industry. In general, a research business plan should call for ongoing education and training expenses to maintain a high level of expertise. Educational grants may be approved for research-based businesses. Additionally, research grants from the government can provide support for the hefty start-up costs associated with a research facility.
If a business does not qualify for educational or non-profit funding, there are other types of grants that favor minority applicants. Being a female business owner alone is enough to earn a woman consideration as a minority, and there are grants specifically for women of a minority. Assistance for minority business owners reaches beyond free money to include free business consulting and development services and valuable support. There are also benefits to be had from working with other minority-owned businesses.