Grants are funds given to an individual or group that do not require repayment. Grants can come from the government as well as from private corporations and foundations. Many nonprofit organizations specifically disseminate funding to women in business, often as a way of empowering women from lower socioeconomic strata to increase their earning potential and the quality of their lives.
Unique grants are created for niche markets or novel ideas. For women starting a new business, getting total or partial funding from a grant can mean the difference between realizing or letting go of a dream.
There are many types of grants. Keep an open mind about which type you would like to obtain. If you are a woman and a mother, you can look for grants for mothers as well. Grant Woman provides information on types of grants for women-owned businesses. Base your search on your criteria and the amount of money you need.
The most crucial aspect of obtaining a grant is the grant proposal. This is a written proposal to the organization or agency that provides the grant in which you're interested. A grant proposal is a thoughtful, thorough written outline of your business idea, with no stone left unturned in presenting the intangible aspects and the real numbers of your business. The most successful grant proposals provide a complete business plan, including realistic budgets for equipment, materials, staff and supplies. The numbers you include in your business plan should reflect real costs based on your current research rather than estimates. Target your proposal toward the specific mission statement of the grant foundation as well. If that particular foundation is interested in women who have small businesses, play up that aspect and explain why your small business will benefit your community members.
Writing With Focus
A successful grant proposal will allow the reader to get a full picture of your idea in a concrete way. It will show not only what you will do but also where you will do it, how you will do it and with what staff. After including a detailed business plan, it's important to include a vision statement or some organized piece about the focus and intention of your business.
Women's Business Grants
WomensFinance.com is a source for finding grants specifically targeting women entrepreneurs. This organization is a nonprofit and lists state grants that assist women starting a business or growing a pre-existing business.
Amber Grants are grants designed specifically for women entrepreneurs. Named in honor of a sibling of a woman entrepreneur who passed away, WomensNet.net created this grant in 1998. The grant is funded by Prewitt Investments III, a Texas-based company.
In order to apply for an Amber Grant, you only need to submit an online application explaining your reasons for being self-employed, the nature of your business and how you will use the funds. This is one of the most accessible grant applications available.
Since there are so many different types of grants, giving up after one rejection is unwise. Keep trying, keep looking and continue refining your grant proposal writing skills. Having assistance with writing, even in the form of a reader to make sure it flows sensibly, can help a great deal. You can apply for a grant you never considered by using appropriate language and presenting your business idea in a novel way.
Aimee Boyle is a regular weekly contributor on issues pertaining to women's health for "EmpowHer." She has written about special needs children in articles entitled "How Children Learn," and "Extended Time" for"Helium," another online magazine, as well as "HubPages," and "ArticleTree." Her articles for "eHow" through Demand Studios include "Step-Fathers' Rights," "What is a Petition," and many others.