Women entrepreneurs represent 30% of all small businesses, employing 7.9 million people and generating $1.4 trillion in sales, as of 2015.
Yet in 2017, funding for women entrepreneurs has had a hard time. Surprisingly, the lack of funding for women entrepreneurs isn’t because women are not making an impact on the small business landscape. As it turns out, women are often turned away by banks for small business loans.
In Joyce Rosenberg’s article “Women Small Business Owners Struggle to Get Loans,” she cites possible reasons including the lack of collateral, strict banking regulations, perceived risk for the lender, low or negative cash flow and revenues, and lack of preparation.
Gender bias from investors and lenders might be out of an entrepreneur’s control, but what they can control is where they try to obtain funding. There are small business loans for women, grants, venture funding and crowdfunding that champion women-owned businesses.
Here are the 10 Best Resources of Funding for Women Entrepreneurs
Also, feel free to reach out to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Small Business Administration office (SBA), or SCORE office for further resources.
1. BBG Ventures
BBG Ventures began as AOL’s #BuiltByGirls. Every company in the venture’s portfolio has to have at least one female founder. BBG Ventures’ focus is on consumer internet and consumer tech. Here are BG’s investment guidelines.
2. 500 Women
500 Women is a division of 500 Startups that focuses on women-owned businesses. In 2014 and every year after, 500 Startups has invested $1M into 10 companies with women founders. The women need to own at least 10% of the company.
3. BELLE Capital USA
BELLE Capital USA believes in the power of women-owned, women-funded, and women-run businesses. They specifically target digital/mobile/internet, technology-enabled products and services, as well as life sciences/medical devices/health IT (digital health) and CleanTech. Start the Belle Capital application process.
4. Golden Seeds
Golden Seeds is a group of investors looking for women-led businesses with high potential. They believe that gender-diverse teams produce a better return on equity. Since 2005, Golden Seeds’ members have invested over $90 million in more than 85 women-led enterprises. Here’s what they’re looking for.
5. The Women’s Venture Capital Fund
The Women’s Venture Capital Fund capitalizes on the expanding pipeline of women entrepreneurs in digital media and sustainable products and services. They believe women are at the forefront of adopting digital platforms, products, and sustainability.
6. Female Founders Fund
The Female Founders Fund states, “Women experience greater successes—and fewer failures—than their male counterparts. Yet traditional venture capital does not reflect this.” They’re looking for women-led startups in e-commerce, web-enabled products and services, marketplaces, and platforms.
The Female Founders Fund was started by Anu Dugaal, a serial entrepreneur. They have 26 companies in their portfolio from industries like financial technology, digital health, enterprise, wearables and more.
7. Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation grew from Tory Burch’s own brand launch in 2004. She learned about the obstacles facing women in business firsthand. In addition to the struggle of balancing work and family, the biggest challenge is securing financing.
The Tory Burch Foundation provides businesswomen with access to capital, entrepreneurial education, and mentoring and networking opportunities.
8. Pipeline Angels
Pipeline Angels creates a strong network of new and seasoned women investors. They offer a boot camp for new investors as well as a summit for startups looking for funding. Since launching in April 2011, they have invested over $2M in 30 companies. Learn about their criteria and application.
Traditionally, crowdfunding depends on the financial status of your friends and family. iFundWomen is a platform for women-led startups and small businesses. Their mission is to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs through crowdfunding.
10. Amber Grant
The Amber Grant launched in 1998 by Womensnet.com in honor of Amber, who died at the age of 19—unable to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams. They offer a number of $500 grants monthly. One of the monthly winners receives an additional $1,000.
Get the funding you deserve
Women-owned businesses are growing faster than ever. But regardless of what route you take to obtain financing, always do your own due diligence. Research fully before putting your best foot forward.
At the end of the day, women must continue fighting for gender equality. You can start today by finding funding that’s reserved for your business and no one else’s.