Women are quickly moving into the marketplace and founding their own businesses. Luckily, they have a large number of choices when it comes to funding that business. Business loans for women range from Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to microloans and grants from specific agencies. It’s not only important to know where to find these funding opportunities, but be qualified when it comes time to apply to them.
The Small Business Loan Administration (SBA)
The SBA has a number of programs to help women by providing funds to banks that they can loan out to women in business who qualify. While they’re not a direct lender, they can pre-qualify you through the SBA Loan Prequalification Program. They will direct you to lenders that offer 7(a) loans that can help you get your business off the ground.
Many states have a Minority and Women-Owned Business program to help women and minorities get started in business. Besides educational materials, you can meet people who can help you find sources of funding for your business and set you in the right direction.
These types of loans are particularly powerful for women in third world countries who only require a small amount of capital to get started in business. Grameen originally started in India, offering women microloans, but now they even have offices in New York City as part of Grameen America. Kiva.org is also a great online place for women to seek out microloans.
There are numerous grants aimed at helping women establish social services for other women. You can check Grants.gov for grants that may be available for women, but usually they are targeted to specific types of businesses that offer a specific social need. Grants are nice in that you don’t have to pay the monies back, unlike loans. You do have to write a grant proposal and compete with others to obtain funding via grants, unlike loans.