Many women over 50 choose to stay active by starting their own business. So doing gives these individuals an opportunity to live out a dream while generating income. Getting start-up funding, however, may seem daunting. The good news is that as of 2009 in the United States alone more than $90 billion in grants have gone to women starting small businesses. Grants often have specific qualifying features like being a resident in the United States. Federal grants go to banks or organizations that, in turn, award sums to applicants. State grants vary, with some states offering grants for individual businesses by type.
As a woman you are already considered a minority in business, and you're over 50. That gives you two search groups when you're hunting for grants. Many businesses and organizations target specific groups for grant awards. Other possible search parameters when you go to state and local listings include being a parent, single or having a disability. Consult with the AARP in your area as well as the local office of the Small Business Administration for a list of potential grants. These offices have the ability to help you through the application process, too.
Woman's Financial Fund
The Women's Financial Fund encourages applications from women starting a business or those wanting to expand their businesses regardless of age. As a new business owner, you can receive up to $5,000 for equipment and marketing. Existing business grant awards also go up to $5,000 for expansion.
Amber Grant Foundation
The Amber Grant Foundation provides money to women starting a small or home-based business. Named after a young woman who died before ever having a chance to achieve her dreams, the foundation exists specifically to support your dreams and goals no matter your age. There are no restrictions on the type of business or your location for qualification. The award amount ranges between $500 to $1,000.
Microloan Demonstration Program
The SBA runs the Microloan Demonstration Program. The SBA provides loans or loan guarantees to private organizations that use the money for short-term, fixed-rate loans to women with struggling businesses. A start-up operation can qualify for up to $35,000 as working capital. The SBA works directly with the borrower to facilitate direct loans or formula grants. There are no age restrictions in this program.
The Women's Funding Network
The WFN consists of more than 150 public and private foundations around the world. The focus of the foundation is to award grants to women in small business. Additionally, funds exist for women who want to attend business school so they have better skills for running a small business. Assistance from the foundation remains open women regardless of age.