In the past decades, it was almost impossible for women to start businesses.
Cultural , social and financial barriers limited females from starting out enterprises.
Luckily today, the current financial infrastructures have ensured equality in securing funds for both genders.
In fact, most people believe that women are more likely to secure grants than men.
While this notion may be true, there are certain types of loans as well as steps that every aspiring business woman should follow to secure funding.
Types of Grants and Loans
Today, there are numerous private organizations willing to fund women startups. However, most of them are aimed at helping certain recipients and demographics.
Some of them are specific programs for helping people of a given race, age, gender, location or even profession.
So, always assess your eligibility and determine whether you meet the criteria.
These private organizations will normally record their programs with Small business Administration (SBA).
In case you get rejected or don’t meet the criteria, there are multiple borrowing options such as banks, online lenders and credit unions that are more than willing to fund a sound business idea.
Federal funding sources are one the best ways to get the resources you require.
There are numerous platforms that list available public grants and loans for specific people.
However, you are less likely to find grants for for-profit startups.
Most of the offerings are targeted toward scientific researches in medicine and technology.
SBA funding is the closest form of public funding.
These loans are not awarded as grants but given as loans to eligible aspiring entrepreneurs at a low interest.
Recently, SBA website has started posting multiple small business boosting state loans targeted toward helping viable startups within the respective states.
Application Steps Women Can Follow to Obtain Business loans And Grants.
1. Research on Available Types of Funding
If you type” business grants for women” on Google and hit search, you are less likely to find the best results.
Instead , your search results will be extended to individuals of a specific race, region or age.
Instead go to grant finder websites, look at the available business loans and grants for women and choose one that you might fit in.
In your Google search, you may also find lending institutions willing to lend money to women on fair terms.
Searching for both private and public loans will give you variety of options to choose from.
2. Come up With A business plan.
If you don’t have an existing business, come up with a plan.
The plan should include the market you are tapping in, the gap in that market and your value proposition.
The plan should also include the business startup and running budget.
If you have an existing business, the updated plan should include how you plan to boost the business operations.
Whether you want to extend the operations, hire new staff or improve your marketing, indicate it concisely and clearly.
3. Gather The Necessary Documents.
When applying for a loan or a grant, always make sure you have all the necessary particulars.
This ranges from personal information to the business details.
Put all the regulatory documents on the tables including all the registration and tax compliance papers.
Also make sure to have a well written proposal attached to your business plan.
A proposal is a statistical extension of the business plan that includes more detailed data of the market, product and business in general.
If you have any letters of recommendation or testimonials make sure you have them prepared as they are likely to improve your approval chances.
In short, have all these documents, go through them one by one looking for any errors and inconsistencies.
4. Prepare and Apply
You have all the documents proofread, verified ,ready and sent, now it’s time to present them.
Whether applying for a loan or a grant, there will always be questions.
Most of the questions will come from your documents, so make sure you have the numbers in your head.
From budgets, accounts to profit projections, ensure you have rehearsed properly.
This will help you make a viable pitch or presentation backed by factual figures.
5. Follow up
After sending and presenting the loan/grant application, you will have to wait for few weeks to receive a reply.
Most of organizations have an online portal where you can check your status occasionally.
If your applications get approved there will be some extra legal steps to go through before you receive the funds.
After accessing the funds, most lending organizations will ask for follow up reports on how the money has been used.
On the other hand, if your application doesn’t get approved, don’t take it as rejection but as feedback and keep applying for more similar opportunities.