From business development programs to local financing programs, the federal government has various grant funding opportunities for women business. Federal grant programs provide creative ways to strengthen women businesses with emphasis in micro-lending programs, business continuation and creative financing initiatives. Federal grant program funding has created avenues for women entrepreneurs to become successful.
In 1960, the federal government initiated funding programs for women to develop small businesses. Until 1960, there were no federal programs designated for women. During the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, women were developing businesses across the country at a rapid rate. For the next 20 years, the federal government would make it a priority to establish federal grants and business development programs for women.
Women business owners play a major role in the growth and recovery of the American economy. According to a 2009 Small Business Administration report, there are more than 8 million women business owners in the United States, The report also stated that female business owners generated $3 trillion in annual revenue and provided 23 million jobs. Over 70 percent of these businesses were created directly or indirectly through federal funds and grants.
The SBA report also states between 2008 and 2009, women-owned businesses grew at 17 percent a year in relation to male owned businesses, which experienced a 9 percent growth during that period. Women-owned businesses also employed 24 percent of the workforce in America. The report states that growth has been made possible by federal grant programs that target women.
Grants to women-owned businesses are structured as funds that are not paid back to the government. In most cases, the women owned business must be incorporated and have at least two years of financial activity in the business. Some grants are given to women owned businesses after participation in a business development or business certification program.
The types of grants that are available for women's businesses are grants for working capital, purchasing equipment and marketing and advertising campaigns. There are organizations that assist women business owners to create grant applications, such as the NWBC--the National Women's Business Council--and the American Association of Women Business Owners.
A key benefit of federal grants for women business owners is that it helps women-owned businesses succeed. Federal grant funds provide training, financial capability and capital to develop programs that are needed to sustain women owned businesses, while at the same time helping the economy grow.