Financial Resources and Grants for Women-Owned Businesses

ByNathan Paulus
Edited byRae Osborn

Updated: March 11, 2024

ByNathan Paulus
Edited byRae Osborn

Updated: March 11, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

The Small Business Administration reports that the United States is home to over 12 million women-owned business enterprises (WBEs) — businesses at least 51% owned, controlled, operated and managed by one or more women. These WBEs employ over 10 million people and generate about $2.1 trillion in sales annually. Despite these significant contributions to the U.S. economy, however, women business owners still face funding bias during the financing process, hampering their ability to start, finance and sustain their businesses.

Various resources are available to offer financial support and assistance to women looking to finance and accelerate their businesses. Nonprofit organizations and communities are also available to assist women in growing their networks and securing funding. Leveraging these resources can help women entrepreneurs overcome financial barriers and unlock significant growth opportunities in their entrepreneurial journey.

Navigating Funding Gaps for Women Entrepreneurs

A substantial financial hurdle women entrepreneurs face is a persistent gender gap in business funding. In 2023, companies formed by women received only 2% of the funding invested in venture-backed startups in the United States. This disparity is compounded by the fact that women-owned startups receive 23% less funding than those owned by men. Such financial challenges can significantly hinder the growth and profitability of women-owned businesses. However, strategies exist to assist women entrepreneurs in navigating these challenges effectively. Some strategies to use are discussed below:


Access Specialized Funding and Grants

Identify grants and financial resources supporting women-owned businesses. Many organizations offer funding opportunities designed to bolster the growth of women-led ventures. Researching and applying for these can provide essential financial backing.


Refine Your Business Plan and Presentation

Craft a clear, comprehensive business plan and a persuasive pitch to attract investors. Highlight your business's unique value proposition, market potential and roadmap for success. Practice delivering your pitch to ensure it's compelling and captures the essence of your vision.


Build a Supportive Network

Engage with women-focused investors, entrepreneurial groups and networks. Connecting with entities and individuals who explicitly support women entrepreneurs can provide capital, mentorship, advice and community support. Look for networking events, forums and online communities that cater to women in business, as these can be invaluable in fostering connections that lead to funding and growth opportunities.

Sources of Entrepreneurial Funding

Entrepreneurs have access to a broad range of funding opportunities, each with unique benefits to support the launch and growth of their businesses. Although these options are not specifically tailored for women-owned business enterprises (WBEs), they are inclusive and accessible to all entrepreneurs. Sources of available funding range from non-repayable grants to mentorship and networking opportunities through accelerators and incubators.


Grants are non-repayable funds or goods, often provided by government departments, corporations, foundations or trusts. For women entrepreneurs, grants can be favorable resources that help mitigate the challenges of undercapitalization, providing the necessary seed money to kick-start or expand businesses. Align your business objectives with the grants available to increase your chances of success. To identify eligible funds, including small business grants, look through, a directory of federally supported grants. While these grants are not limited to women-owned businesses, the database is a great place to start when seeking free finance.

Business Loans

Business loans offer entrepreneurs capital to scale operations and foster growth. The application process typically requires a detailed business plan, credit check and financial documentation. Eligibility varies but usually depends on business viability, credit history and potential profitability, with a preference for established businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) loans small businesses and entrepreneurs at competitive interest rates. The SBA's 7(a) loan program, particularly popular among women entrepreneurs, offers low-interest loans but requires businesses to meet specific size standards and operate for profit in the U.S.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are private investors who fund startups and early-stage businesses, providing essential capital and often contributing expertise and industry connections to support the company's development. These investors can help women entrepreneurs during the early stages of a venture, offering capital and valuable experience, mentorship and networking opportunities essential for growth. Golden Seeds, 37 Angels, Broadway Angels and Astia are some early-stage investors that can help women entrepreneurs with initial funding and support.

Venture Capital

Venture capital firms invest in high-growth potential startups and early-stage companies, providing more significant amounts of capital than angel investors to spur rapid growth. These firms usually acquire a significant equity stake in exchange for their investment. While women entrepreneurs have historically faced challenges in securing venture capital (VC) funding, there's a growing focus within the venture capital community on investing in startups led by women and other underrepresented groups. Female Founder Fund, for example, invests exclusively in women-founded companies.


Microloans offer accessible financing for startups or expansions, featuring smaller loan amounts with favorable terms. Organizations like Accion, Grameen America, Kiva and the SBA Microloan Program specialize in providing microloans to businesses that are often overlooked by traditional banks. These loans, which typically require a business plan, financial statements and personal references, offer a flexible funding solution for women entrepreneurs. Remember to research meticulously, understand the loan terms before proceeding and ensure the loan aligns with your business needs and capacity to repay.

Business Accelerators

Business accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, typically lasting a few months, that include mentorship and educational components and culminate in a public pitch event or demo day. Accelerators are designed to help startups achieve rapid growth through an intensive, structured program. Startups are often given a small amount of seed investment; in exchange, the accelerator usually takes an equity stake in the company. Business accelerators can benefit women entrepreneurs by providing them with the resources and network necessary to scale their businesses quickly.

Best Grants for Women Business Owners

Grants can provide crucial capital for women business owners, pushing them farther toward their entrepreneurial goals without accruing debt. Explore these avenues as part of your financial planning strategy. Remember that each grant has unique eligibility criteria and application processes, so research thoroughly before applying. Here are a few notable grants designed to empower women entrepreneurs:

insurance2 icon

Business insurance offers financial protection from various inevitable risks, such as property damage, liability claims and employee-related issues. This layer of security helps mitigate financial losses from unforeseen events, ensuring that unexpected setbacks don't compromise your business's operational stability and growth potential.

Getting the right business insurance begins with a thorough assessment of your business's needs. Identify risks pertinent to your industry and operation scale, consult with an insurance broker or agent and compare quotes from several providers to ensure you receive comprehensive coverage at the best price.

How to Empower and Support Women Entrepreneurs and WBEs

Established women-owned business enterprises (WBEs) can also play a part in supporting the next generation of women entrepreneurs. Sharing your experience, knowledge and resources can significantly impact fledgling WBEs and aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are ways you can give back and foster a supportive environment for women in business:



Offer your time and insights as a mentor. Sharing your journey, challenges and lessons learned can provide invaluable guidance to those just starting out. Consider partnering with local business incubators, women’s networks or online platforms dedicated to entrepreneurship to find mentoring opportunities.


Financial Support

Your financial support can make a significant difference. Whether through creating scholarships, funding specific grants for women-owned businesses, or investing directly in promising startups, your contributions can help bridge the funding gap many women entrepreneurs face.


Hosting Workshops and Seminars

Use your expertise to educate and inspire. Hosting workshops or seminars on business planning and fundraising strategies can equip emerging entrepreneurs with the skills they need to succeed. Collaboration with local business schools, chambers of commerce or women’s business organizations can amplify your impact.


Networking Opportunities

Facilitate connections that help fledgling entrepreneurs grow. Organizing networking events, introducing emerging business owners to potential investors or partners and creating or supporting online communities for women entrepreneurs can open doors to new opportunities.


Advocacy and Representation

Leverage your voice and visibility to advocate for better support and policies for women entrepreneurs. Engaging with policymakers, participating in business forums and using your platform to highlight the importance of supporting women-owned businesses can drive systemic changes.

Additional Resources

We've curated a list of resources, including organizations and networks, to help women entrepreneurs and business owners.

  • Association of Women's Business Centers (AWBC): AWBC supports women entrepreneurs through a national network of Women's Business Centers offering training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities.
  • Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE): A nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses, CWE offers education, training, certification and networking opportunities.
  • Female Entrepreneurs Association (FEA): An international community for women entrepreneurs, FEA offers resources, training and connection opportunities to inspire and support women in starting and growing their businesses.
  • Female Founders Alliance (FFA)): A private network of women startup founders, FFA offers access to mentorship, funding and growth opportunities tailored to women in the startup ecosystem.
  • Ladies Who Launch (LWL): LWL provides resources, workshops and events to support women entrepreneurs in launching and growing their businesses and fostering a community of innovative and ambitious women.
  • National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO): A professional organization representing the interests of women entrepreneurs across all industries, NAWBO offers networking, resources and advocacy to support women in business.
  • Office of Women's Business Ownership (OWBO): An affiliate of the U.S. Small Business Administration, seeks to empower women entrepreneurs via outreach, advocacy, training and assistance.
  • The Boss Network: An online community of professional and entrepreneurial women, The Boss Network promotes collaboration through networking events, resources and support for women in business.
  • Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC): A leading advocate for women-owned businesses, WBENC provides certification programs and opportunities to help them thrive.
  • Women Founders Network (WFN): Focuses on connecting women founders with the tools, resources and networks needed to build successful businesses, offering pitch competitions, educational events and access to capital.
  • Women's Small Business Association (WSBA): A national network focused on supporting women in business, WSBA offers networking, education and resources tailored to the needs of women small business owners.
  • Women's Venture Fund (WFV): This is a resource that offers advice, funding and education to women entrepreneurs. WVF focuses on empowering women to build successful businesses through financial and advisory support.

About Nathan Paulus

Nathan Paulus headshot

Nathan Paulus is the Head of Content Marketing at MoneyGeek, with nearly 10 years of experience researching and creating content related to personal finance and financial literacy.

Paulus has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He enjoys helping people from all walks of life build stronger financial foundations.