A greater number of women-owned businesses are being established, which is excellent news for the economy, job seekers, as well as women who never considered the option of owning and operating their own ventures.

This certainly is exciting but presents challenges for women entrepreneurs looking for funding. While any eligible business is can receive assistance through resources such as the Small Business Administration, many women-owned businesses may not be aware of loan options.

A 2014 report from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship showed that only 4.4 percent of SBA funding went to women-owned businesses, which shows there are still barriers for determined women to have a vital professional role.

 The report also concluded that the majority of federal contracts go to male-owned businesses, and women in business find access to services and training difficult.

Because of this inequity, efforts are being made to help level the playing field and come up with different types and sources of financing options. These can include private and public funding such as:

  • InnovateHER Challenge. This national program awards funds to businesses that come up with creative products or services that benefit the lives of women and families. This is offered at a local, regional and national level.
  • SBA Small Business Innovation Research. The SBA provides a variety of incentives to come up with clever uses of technology and doing business better.
  • SBA Women’s Business Centers. Each state SBA program offers a series of programs and instructional courses to give women assistance in competing and learning.
  • Amber Grant. Each month, this foundation provides $500 to a women-owned business that is doing interesting and innovative things in the world. Each year, all 12 monthly winners compete for an annual $1,000 prize. Entering requires writing a short description of your business and how the funds could benefit it.
  • Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant. This program presents a variety of grant opportunities for 10 people, especially in the areas of business ventures that could stimulate social and environmental change. 

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