When you first set out to launch your technology startup or small business, the common sources for funding are usually venture capital, angel investors, loans, and crowdfunding.
But there’s another free financing opportunity available through grants intended for women entrepreneurs. Competition for these programs is stiff, but the payoff goes beyond just cash: many also provide support and resources for women navigating the founder’s journey.
Here are seven startup grants for women in tech.
1: For All Female Founders: IFundWomen
A great starting point for any female founder in search of grant money is IFundWomen, a funding marketplace and resource bank for women-owned businesses.
IFundWomen has over a dozen grant programs for startups with different needs across stages and industries, from health and wellness grants to consumer technology grants to COVID-19 relief grants.
You can find all of IFundWomen’s grant opportunities here.
2: For Black Women Entrepreneurs: Visa She’s Next Grant Program
In partnership with IFundWomen, Visa announced that it will commit $1 million in 2021 toward advancing Black women in the startup ecosystem.
The company’s new She’s Next grant program offers 60 Black women-owned businesses across the US $10,000 and a one-year coaching membership.
3: For Early-Stage Companies: The Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
The Tory Burch Foundation’s Fellows Program provides 50 women entrepreneurs with a $5,000 business education grant and a year-long virtual mentorship program.
To be eligible to apply, you must be a woman-identifying entrepreneur who owns either a majority stake in your business or the largest share in a completely women co-owned business. Preferred recipients have less than five years of operations and under $75,000 in revenue, but can be from any industry.
The next application cycle will begin in fall 2021.
4: For Technology Startups Tackling Unique Issues: Women Who Tech Emerging Tech Grant
Non-profit female-led startup accelerator Women Who Tech has an Emerging Tech Grant for tech-based approaches to some of the biggest problems facing our people and planet, from sustainability solutions to fertility apps.
The prizes for the competition are a $15,000 innovation grant and one-on-one pitch coaching. Learn more about the program here.
5: For Chicago-Based Startups: Chicago Foundation for Women Grants
Female founders in the Chicagoland area should check out The Chicago Foundation for Women, an advocacy group for women and girls who lack economic security and opportunity.
The organization offers several different grants each year that range from $15,000 to $150,000 as well as rapid response grants of $7,500 for businesses impacted by the pandemic outside the seasonal application cycles.
Learn more about past grants and future opportunities here.
6: For Any Woman-Owned Business That Might Benefit from Free Printing: The Fedex Small Business Grant
The Fedex Small Business Grant isn’t specifically for female founders, but it does ensure its recipients are 50 percent women.
The competition awards $50,000 for first place, $30,000 for second, and $15,000 for third, as well as FedEx Office print services for each. To be eligible, your business just must have been operational for at least six months and have less than 99 employees. The application cycle begins in early spring.
7: For High-Impact Prize Money: The Cartier Women’s Initiative
Luxury jeweler Cartier has a Women’s Initiative that has several different $100,000 awards for innovative women entrepreneurs solving problems across issue areas, from poverty to public health to education.
Women tech founders can look into the Science & Technology Pioneer Award, which looks for “solutions built around unique, protected, or hard-to-reproduce technological or scientific advances that require heavy R&D, a long commercialization cycle, high capital intensity, technology risk, and complexity.” Learn more here.
Startup Grants for Women Propel Innovation
Grant programs are an excellent opportunity for female tech founders looking to kickstart a product launch or new initiative, or who maybe just need a stepping stone to venture capital.
But you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to finding and securing funding.
The Women Tech Founders community has a deep network of female founders who have navigated all kinds of funding routes, including grant applications. Head to our founder directory or join today to connect with our community to rise with us.
Terri Brax is the Creator and Co-Force behind Women Tech Founders and TeacherCare. Her passion is advancing those around her.