Many moms dream of starting a business of their own. Some even have a creative idea and an excellent business plan, but without the necessary funding to get their businesses up and running, some just give up on this process during the planning stages. Moms who are truly determined to become entrepreneurs need to be stubborn and persistent. It may take just as much work to find funding for the project as it does to run it, but money is out there for those with the tenacity to find it.
Finding a Source of Funds
The first step in finding seed money for any business is to make a list of possible sources. You can do this by making use of the following sources:
• Books and libraries
• Online searches
• Friends, neighbors, and co-workers
• Business owners already invested in the same area
• Government pamphlets
• Foundations or charitable organizations
As you learn about opportunities that might result in resources for your endeavor, make a list and include the most vital information. Note the application procedures, deadlines, and any limitations. This will keep you from having to return to the source for information and will save time.
Sources Known for Funding Businesses Run by Women
Most sources of funding are competitive in nature, and many allow annual application. The following are some that are known for supporting women:
• The Women’s Funding Network offers up to $65 million every year to promote women’s economic efforts.
• The American Foundation of University Women invests in women in a variety of businesses, especially those in which women might be in the minority or underrepresented.
• The Ada Project for Women offers several grants and fellowships to help women move ahead in the business world.
• The Women’s Financial Fund gives existing and new business grants in small amounts up to $1000 for expansion or development.
• The United States Government offers free money to women for a variety of uses; some of these include provisions for overhead, and building or equipment purchase or rental. Some are designated for minority women, single moms, or ladies who are senior citizens. The money to be used for this purpose, during most years, is in the billions of dollars, but it remains unused unless women apply for it.
• The Chicago Foundation for Women is well known for its grant program that provides women with the money necessary to run successful businesses. Although the grants are limited to Chicago residents, women living in this city can apply for funding amounts between $15,000 and $50,000.
Gathering the information needed to apply for these opportunities is hard work. You will need to have written objectives, know your market, and have a good handle on estimated costs. The more specific facts and numbers that you can give in your application packet, the more likely it is that any funding organization will provide what you need to get your business off the ground.
Guest author Jennifer Lewis writes for a website that has some useful information on entrepreneur grants for women, including grants for divorced women. She passionately believes that moms should follow their dreams of running their own business and that they should research all options to obtain the funding they need.