Business Start Up Guides
Women Owned Businesses
Here you will find information on government programs that help women entrepreneurs start, grow and expand their businesses.
Grants and Loans
Federal and state government agencies do not provide grants to women to help them start a business. Grants may be available from non-profits and private organizations, however, these are very rare and usually focus on helping minority women and women in economically disadvantaged communities. However, there are a limited number of loans available to specifically to help women start and expand their businesses.
The following programs are specifically for women entrepreneurs. Use the Loans and Grants Search Tool to get a full list of programs for which you might qualify.
- ACCION USA Small Business Loans
Offers flexible loans (up to $50,000) to small business owners who have limited or no access to traditional business credit, including women and minorities.
- California: Women's Economic Ventures Small Business Loan Fund
Low interest business loans available to women-owned businesses in Santa Barbara or Ventura County that are unable to meet traditional bank lending criteria.
- Delaware: Delaware Access Program
Low collateral loan program geared to small businesses, including minority and women owned businesses.
- Illinois: Minority, Women, and Disabled Participation Loan Program
Small businesses that are 51 percent owned and managed by persons who are minorities, women, or disabled, with loans up to loans up to $50,000 or 50 % of the total project.
- Iowa: Target Small Business Assistance Program
Provides loans, loan guaranty, and equity grants of up to $50,000 to help women, minorities and persons with disabilities start and expand their businesses.
- Massachusetts BDC Capital Community Loans
Financing programs for women-owned, minority-owned businesses.
- Mississippi: Capital Access Loan Program
Provides financing for borrowers who, for various reasons, might have difficulty in obtaining conventional loans. Borrowers must apply for a loan through a lending institution.
- New Jersey: Urban Plus
Provides financial support to small, women- or minority-owned businesses, manufacturers, redevelopers and non-profit organizations in the following endorsed New Jersey municipalities: Camden, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, East Orange, New Brunswick, and Atlantic City.
- New Mexico: The Loan Fund
Assists businesses and non-profits that provide positive social benefits, meet other special requirements, and are unable to access loans from traditional sources, such as banks. Particular emphasis is placed on helping low-income people, women and minorities.
- New York: Micro Loans for Minority and Women Owned Businesses
Listing of organizations that provide micro loans to businesses who often do not qualify for bank loans as well as one-on-one counseling and business development assistance to facilitate credit-readiness. Funds are provided by the state's Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program.
- Wisconsin: Linked Deposit Loan Subsidy
Provides an interest rate subsidy on lender financing to women or minorities who start-up or expand a business.
- Wisconsin: Women's Business Initiative Corporation Small Business Loans
Offers small business loans with a maximum loan amount of $100,000. Loans can be used for expenses associated with starting or expanding a business, including machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures, inventory, supplies and working capital
Business Assistance and Training
The U.S. Small Business Administration sponsors a national network of Women's Business Centers providing in-person assistance and educational resources to help women start and grow successful small businesses. These centers are located nationwide near major cities and metropolitan areas.
Several state governments have offices and resource centers that help women business owners grow and develop small businesses.