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Finding Small Business Loans for Women

by Mike Abelson   August 5, 2016
We look at some of the loan options geared toward women who are looking for small business funding.
Loan Advice

Small business loans for women.The revenue generated by women-owned firms has been steadily rising over the last few decades (79-percent since 1997). And according to, 30% of all businesses in the U.S. are owned by women. Plus, the National Association of Women Business Owners reports that one in five firms that make more than $1 million in revenue, is woman-owned. More so, the result of the current presidential election could indicate even greater shifts in regard to how women in positions of authority are viewed. This means that the glass ceiling is definitely on its way to being cracked, if not shattered altogether.

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But no matter what gender you are, odds say you’ll need extra working capital for your business at some point. If you’re looking for funding for your company, we have compiled a list of important points that you may find useful. Read on for information about small business loans for women.

Join a Women’s Entrepreneurship Partner Group

There are organizations out there filled with women just like you – women who have worked hard to build up a successful business. Some of these organizations might provide you with grants and loans, and joining or working with them might help you meet important people within your industry:

  • U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC): This women-led organization seeks to help women start and build their businesses and careers. The association established its own national federal credit union back in 2015. This credit union can be a smart starting place for small business loans for women.
  • Women’s Presidents’ Organization (WPO): If you are the president, CEO, or managing director of a privately held, multi-million dollar company, then you may want to become a member of this organization, which has 120 chapters across the world.
  • National Women’s Business Council (NWBC): This non-partisan federal council offers advice to the president, Congress, and the SBA. The council’s chair is appointed by the president.
  • Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC): This non-profit supports and sustains over 100 Women’s Business Centers (WBC). According to their website, WBCs help over 140,000 female entrepreneurs yearly, providing some of them with financial opportunities.
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC): This non-profit looks to be a powerful force in women’s business development. The council works to facilitate the development of businesses owned by women.
  • The Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB): This Federal Contracting Program works to help companies owned by women win federal contracts. If you are not currently competing for federal contracts, then this organization will likely be irrelevant.

You may find it beneficial to align yourself with one or more of these organizations. Of course, they may not all be applicable to your situation. But many groups like these are there to help women excel in the economy. Sometimes this involves helping women find good sources of working capital, through a small business funding.

Take Advantage of SBA Programs

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers valuable resources to women. One such resource is DreamBuilder, an online training curriculum built in partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management. The curriculum has 22 courses designed to help women develop important business skill sets.

Since 1979, the SBA has been fostering women-owned businesses through their Office of Women’s Business Ownership. The office offers help through training and counseling, financial resources, federal market opportunities, and local SBA resources.

Small Business Grants for Women

In addition to government assistance programs, there are a number of grants that offer small business loans for women.

  • The Girlboss Foundation Grant: This grant has awarded over $130,000 to female entrepreneurs since its launch in 2014. Grants of $15,000 are given out twice a year and also come with local and regional press from the Girlboss Foundation itself.
  • The Amber Grant: Founded in honor of a 19-year-old girl that passed away in 1998, this grant awards an annual $25,000 to a female entrepreneur. Those interested must apply by March to be in the running for the annual cash prize. Applications are received from all industries and sectors. 
  • Open Meadows Foundation: Grants awarded by this foundation are put towards women-led projects that promote gender, racial, and economic justice. Open Meadows gives out smaller funds of $2,000 as well as larger sum donations that cannot exceed $75,000.

Business Loans for Women with Poor Credit

Women who have poor credit may find it harder to receive loans than their outgroup counterparts. In fact, some studies have shown that women often average 20 points lower on their credit scores than men do.

While conventional banks and credit unions may have strict application requirements, alternative lenders may be able to provide more accessible funding.

Women who fall into this category can try applying for a small business loan from a lender that may accept lower credit such as BlueVine, Kabbage, Rapid Finance, or Loan Builder, and see if they are approved.

Business Loans for Minority Women

Minority-owned businesses are classified as companies who are employing 50 people or less and are owned by a minority group member in relation to race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or physical ability. Those in rural areas and those who identify as military veterans can also be considered minorities in some cases.

The Minority Business Development Agency provides grants and new business loans for women who are in minority groups. They have Minority Business Centers that provide one-on-one counseling about business loans. Interested applicants can enter their state information to find the closest loan resource to them.

Local Communities

So far we’ve listed some of the biggest resources out there for women in business. While large organizations are certainly useful, sometimes you can build stronger business relationships when you join a local, community-based group.

Chances are there’s at least one organization in your area that you could be part of. It might be worth your time to investigate. Remember, in business you’re often only as strong as the connections you have made.

If you can’t find a local organization that makes sense for your company, you might consider starting your own. You could begin with something as simple as a website that invites people to email you for more information. If you start to gather enough interest, you could take it to the next level. This kind of networking might just elevate your professional status in your area.

Final Thoughts

“Small business loans for women” is one of the most searched for loan terms on the Internet. In fact, a 2018 report found that between the years of 2017 and 2018, women started an average of 1,821 new businesses per day in the U.S.

Most successful businesses get successful by taking advantage of the right opportunities. And that can mean applying for special financial products geared toward you. As long as there are women’s business organizations out there, it makes sense for women-owned companies to use those benefits.

If you’re looking for small business funding for your company, we hope some of the tips we’ve written about here will help you out. If you want to request funding right now, we can try to find you a provider that will work.


Mike Abelson   Editorial Director
Digital Marketing
Mike is the Editorial Director at Lendza. He enjoys helping entrepreneurs and startups succeed through smart, innovative strategies. He’s partnered with CEOs and executives to grow businesses from the ground up. Before his work at Lendza, Mike was a stock market analyst. When he’s not traveling for work, he enjoys reading adventure and science fiction novels.