You’ll face more than your fair share of business building obstacles as a female entrepreneur. People will doubt you. They will smile at your ideas and say, “that’s nice.” Using one of those sweet smiles with doubt behind the eyes. You’ll quickly learn to be your own biggest cheerleader, and that’s OK. One of your stumbling blocks should not be finding funding. Funding issues stop many new businesses in their tracks, but funding options exist, you just have to find them and take what’s yours. Here are several ways to find funding for your business, some of them exclusively available for female-owned businesses and startups.
#1. InnovateHER Challenge
The US Small Business Association is a federal program aimed at helping small businesses succeed. Each year they host an InnovateHER Challenge to award money to businesses that impact the lives of women. The prize is $70,000 for the year 2020 and the criteria are that the business:
- Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families
- Has the potential for commercialization
- Fills a need in the marketplace
#2. Your Local Economic Development Office
Every major city has a local economic development office, some also have local women’s business associations, and then there is the general chamber of commerce that will usually have a women’s sub-group within it. All of these organizations are great sources of information when it comes to starting your business, including ways to find funding. It’s also a great way to meet other kiss-ass women in business that you can mastermind with.
#3. Grants For Girls
Grant money is like mana from heaven. Think of it like a business loan you never have to pay back. The application process can be long and daunting, and very few companies will win a grant in the end. This route takes perseverance but you certainly won’t get one by sitting back on the sidelines. So woman-up and get your slice of the pie! Check out this list of the 11 best grants for women here.
#4. Business Loans
Business loans are how many small businesses start-up. You’ll be leveraging everything you own and your personal credit, but if you have a solid business idea and a ton of confidence, you can pull this off. You’ll have to be able to show the bank that you have quick earning potential and some collateral to back up the loan, possibly even a co-signer. There are some financial institutions that have special loans and low rates for women in business. For a place to start, check out this list of the best business loans for female-owned businesses.
#5. Crowd Funding And Investors
One of the best ways to find funding is to impress others with your dream. You can reach out to individual investors and crowdfunding platforms to gather your funds. Crowdfunding is like social media for investing. For example, people with creative product ideas use the OG, Kickstarter, to fund their passion projects. There are different crowdfunding websites for different types of business ideas. Investors will need to be paid back with interest, crowdfunding usually offers some other type of incentive for people to invest.