To help businesswomen raise capital for their ventures, we asked entrepreneurs and business professionals for their best tips. From researching local resources for women-owned businesses to applying for grants from notable organizations, there are several resources that may help you finance your latest project.
Here are 11 funding options for female entrepreneurs:
- Local Resources for Women-Owned Businesses
- The Tory Burch Foundation
- The Red Backpack Fund
- SoGal Ventures
- Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists
- Seed Accelerators and Industry Organizations
- Bootstrap Until You Make It
- 37 Angels
- Small Business Administration
Local Resources for Women-Owned Businesses
When I founded The Lash Professional, I had decided to expand from my eyelash salons to offering the best eyelash supplies online. Being based out of Arizona, I considered local resources for women-owned businesses and found many options that provided guidance and funding. Wherever you may be, I suggest looking for local business support for women entrepreneurs first and expand your search from there.
-Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to women’s empowerment. In the past, the foundation has provided up to $100,000 in funding — and over $10,000 in grants for business education. They also provide connections to other successful female entrepreneurs who can provide advice, mentoring, and direction. Some of the foundation requirements include having a for-profit women-owned business with some type of socially conscious involvement.
-Vicky Franko, Insura
The Red Backpack Fund
The SPANX by Sara Blakely Foundation has supported many women throughout the years by providing financial opportunities for women-owned businesses. Given the hardships faced by many startups during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Red Backpack Fund was established in collaboration with GlobalGiving to assist businesswomen through this trying time. Throughout the year, they offer $5,000 awards to 1,000 female entrepreneurs globally.
Alisha Taylor, Alisha Taylor Interiors
Female entrepreneurs can find great success in raising money through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a finance strategy that involves drawing funds through multiple sources instead of relying on one lender. You can raise any amount of money and there is no limit to the number of people who can contribute to your fund. There are no restrictions to who the source is, meaning that friends, family, or even strangers are just as qualified to participate in a crowdfunding campaign as an experienced investor or established professional. This technique can be helpful in raising the total amount of funding needed for an investment or to supplement the remainder of the total money needed that a traditional lender may not fully cover.
-Than Merrill, FortuneBuilders
For women-funded brands, there are exponentially growing numbers of venture-funded options dedicated to empowering diverse teams. One such option is SoGal Ventures. As a women-led firm, SoGal invests exclusively in early-stage companies with diverse founding members, all the while providing resources, mentorship, and tools for continued success.
-Lori Price, PixieLane
Grants For Women
Female entrepreneurs seeking funding should leverage Grants For Women, a website that provides a comprehensive list of grants to help women start or grow their businesses. It includes local and national funding opportunities that are not as well-known. The website is simple to navigate and provides an alphabetically ordered directory. It’s best to check in frequently as the website continuously updates funding opportunities.
-Payel Gupta, Cleared
Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists
Some of the best funding options for female entrepreneurs are angel investors and venture capitalists. There are more angel investors these days than ever before, and some of them are specifically searching for female-owned businesses to support. Do your research, and network with other female entrepreneurs to find out which angel investors or venture capitalists might be the best fit for your company.
-Sheila Chaiban, One Ocean Beauty
Seed Accelerators and Industry Organizations
There are a ton of really wonderful options for women in the entrepreneurial industry. Many organizations are interested in assisting women who are looking to become business owners and CEOs. There are tons of options out there like Ladies Who Launch, SCORE, and Women’s Venture Fund to name a few.
There are also vehicles for female entrepreneurs that can function as seed accelerators for their great ideas and ambitions. Y Combinator is a great example of a seed accelerator that consistently lists and celebrates its female innovators.
-Tom Mumford, Undergrads
Bootstrap Until You Make It
I worked as a photographer until I switched to nursing to support my family. But photography was always a huge passion that stayed with me. A few years ago, I decided to go back to my roots and started out doing portraits using the photography equipment I already owned.
I self-funded my boudoir photography business with the funds I earned from portraiture and saved every extra penny I had (from Costco rewards to rebates) after realizing that I found this genre of photography so much more fun and empowering for the women I worked with.
If you’re starting out, think of how much capital you really need to get started. Sometimes getting caught up with the funding can stall progress on a business that can move forward (and be successful) with less.
-Rya Michele Eisma, Photographic Artist & Women’s Advocate
I believe this organization is the best funding choice for female entrepreneurs. Because 37 Angels was created on the conviction that the gender gap in startup investing needed to be closed, the company invests in both women’s and men’s early-stage enterprises and has a transparent and open application procedure that makes it simple for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to apply for funding. Startups that make it through the pitching phase receive an investment decision four weeks following the presentation.
-Saskia Ketz, Mojomox
Small Business Administration
For many years, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been one of the main sources of funding for women-owned enterprises. The SBA can provide women-owned businesses with financing options through its Lender Match tool, in addition to providing general resources and counseling through its Women’s Business Centers. The SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Programs can also assist women-owned businesses in getting federal contracting opportunities.
-Allan J. Switalski, AVANA Capital
SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.