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Financing Options for Women-Owned Small Businesses and Startups

financing options for women-owned small businesses and startups

Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship, where innovation and determination fuel the growth of small businesses and startups. It’s an exciting journey, but one that often comes with challenges, especially when it comes to securing the necessary funding to turn dreams into reality. For women-owned small businesses and startups, these challenges can be even greater.

According to a study by Gusto, the number of women entrepreneurs has been steadily increasing, with 49% of entrepreneurs in 2021 being women, up from 28% in 2019. Despite this progress, women-owned startups receive just 2% of venture capital investments, creating a significant funding gap that needs to be addressed.

Thankfully, there are various financing options available specifically designed to support women-owned businesses. These options include investment firms, angel funds, grants, and small-business loans, all aimed at providing the necessary funding support to drive success.

In this article, we’ll explore the different financing options available and how they can benefit women-owned small businesses and startups. By understanding these options and their advantages, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the funding landscape and secure the resources needed to thrive.

Investment Firms and Angel Funds

When it comes to funding options for women-owned businesses and startups, investment firms and angel funds are valuable resources. These organizations specialize in supporting early-stage ventures and empowering women entrepreneurs to succeed in their respective industries.

37 Angels

Considered a champion for closing the gender gap in startup investing, 37 Angels provides funding to early-stage startups. With a network of experienced investors, they offer a unique blend of financial support, expert guidance, and valuable connections to help businesses thrive.


BELLE Capital USA focuses on funding high-growth companies, particularly women-led businesses operating in underserved markets. Their mission is to provide women entrepreneurs with the resources they need to scale their ventures successfully.

Fearless Fund

As an angel fund that specifically supports women of color, Fearless Fund offers financing options for pre-seed, seed-level, or Series A stages. They understand the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities and strive to bridge funding gaps.

Female Founders Fund

Female Founders Fund is committed to investing in innovative and promising women-owned and women-run startups. With a focus on sectors such as technology, e-commerce, and media, they provide capital and strategic support to drive business growth.

Kapor Capital

Kapor Capital is dedicated to funding startups that tackle significant problems and create positive social impact. They empower founders from diverse backgrounds, including women entrepreneurs, by providing financial backing and fostering a supportive ecosystem.

Investment Firms and Angel Funds
Investment Firms and Angel Funds

Grants and Programs

If you’re a woman entrepreneur looking for funding options, grants and programs can be an excellent resource to support your business ambitions. Here are some notable grants and programs specifically designed to empower women-owned businesses:

The Amber Grant Foundation

The Amber Grant Foundation offers grants to women entrepreneurs, providing them with the financial boost they need to take their businesses to the next level. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to scale up, Amber Grants can be a valuable funding option to explore.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative

The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an esteemed program that recognizes and supports women-run and women-owned businesses. By offering awards to businesses with a social or environmental impact, the Cartier Women’s Initiative helps these ventures gain the recognition and funding they deserve.

The Fearless Strivers Grant Contest

The Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is specifically dedicated to supporting Black women-owned small businesses. By providing financial resources and mentorship opportunities, this grant contest aims to foster the growth and success of Black women entrepreneurs.


iFundWomen is a platform that offers a range of funding options for women entrepreneurs. From grants to crowdfunding campaigns, iFundWomen provides access to a universal grant application database, making it easier for women-owned businesses to find the funding they need.

The Tory Burch Foundation

The Tory Burch Foundation supports women-owned businesses through its fellows program. By offering grants and access to educational resources, the foundation empowers women entrepreneurs to overcome financial barriers and achieve their business goals.

The Visa Global She’s Next Grant Program

The Visa Global She’s Next Grant Program is designed to provide grant funding and coaching opportunities to women-owned small businesses. By accessing the resources and support offered by this program, women entrepreneurs can accelerate their business growth and enhance their financial stability.

grants and programs

Small-Business Loans

When it comes to financing your women-owned small business, small-business loans are an option worth considering. These loans provide the necessary capital to support your business growth and enable you to meet your financial needs. There are different types of small-business loans available, including SBA loans and bank loans, each offering unique benefits and considerations.

SBA Loans

SBA loans, such as the SBA 7(a) loan program, are a popular choice for women-owned businesses. These loans are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and provide low interest rates and long repayment terms. The SBA 7(a) loan program is designed to help women-owned businesses obtain the funding they need to start, expand, or acquire a business.

Bank Loans

Banks also offer small-business loans with low costs, but they may have stricter eligibility qualifications compared to SBA loans. To secure a bank loan, you may need to demonstrate a strong credit history, provide collateral, and have a solid business plan. It’s important to shop around and compare loan terms and interest rates from different banks to find the best fit for your business.

Aside from traditional banks, there are also online lenders that provide small-business loans. These lenders often have more flexible requirements and may consider businesses with lower credit scores or shorter business histories. Online lenders offer a convenient and accessible option for obtaining the funding your women-owned business needs.

Microloans and Specialized Loans

If your women-owned small business is unable to qualify for traditional loans, microloans from mission-based organizations can be a viable alternative. These loans are typically small-sized loans offered to businesses with limited access to capital. Microloans often come with more relaxed requirements and are a popular choice for women, minorities, and businesses that have difficulty obtaining financing through traditional means.

In addition, there are specialized small-business loans available specifically for women-owned businesses, minorities, and those with bad credit. These loans aim to provide financial support and equal opportunities for underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship. By exploring these loan options, you can find the financing solution that best meets the needs of your women-owned small business.


When it comes to financing options for women-owned small businesses and startups, there is a diverse range of opportunities available. From investment firms and angel funds to grants and small-business loans, women entrepreneurs have access to funding support that can fuel their growth and success.

By exploring these financing options, women-owned businesses can overcome the gender and minority funding gaps, ensuring they have the financial resources they need to thrive. Investment firms like 37 Angels and BELLE Capital USA focus on funding women-led businesses, while organizations like the Amber Grant Foundation and the Cartier Women’s Initiative offer grants to women entrepreneurs.

Banks and online lenders provide small-business loans with low interest rates and flexible repayment terms, while microloans from mission-based organizations cater to businesses that may not qualify for traditional loans. It’s important for women entrepreneurs to actively seek out these resources and take advantage of the funding support available to them.

With the right financing options, women-owned small businesses and startups can overcome financial barriers and build successful enterprises. By leveraging the support provided by investment firms, grants, and small-business loans, women entrepreneurs can take their businesses to new heights.

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