Government Grants for a Woman-Owned Start Up Business

Government grants for a woman-owned start up business are available through both federal programs and in some cases, state agencies, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Many state SBA agencies include an Office of Women's Business Ownership, which exists to support women business owners with government grants, education and mentoring services.

U.S. Small Business Administration Grants
The SBA offers a variety of government grants for woman-owned start up businesses. Many of these work in conjunction with local banks to help guarantee loans for small businesses. The maximum loan amount is generally $750,000, and the process is quite simple for start up businesses with smaller loan needs in the $25,000 range.The application process generally includes a business plan, formal application submission and some kind of substantial collateral like a home or property.

Self-Employment and Enterprise Development Programs
Some states offer government grants to woman-owned start up businesses through Self-Employment and Enterprise Development Programs, also called SEED programs. Offered in select areas, these programs strive to aid unemployed workers, including women, in their entrepreneurial aspirations by providing loans in lieu of the potential business owner collecting unemployment insurance.

Other State Grant Programs
Individual states' economic development agencies provide support by lending small amounts of money to small businesses, and are often especially interested in supporting woman-owned and minority businesses. Contact your state government for details on programs available in your specific community.

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Grants to Help Minority Women Start Businesses

Minority women have many resources available for starting businesses in the United States. Federal agencies have programs in place for the purpose of access to funding as well as other forms of assistance. Funding agencies may require that an individual applicant is a member of an ethnic minority group.

Minority Business Development Agency
A part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency focuses on wealth creation in minority communities. The Agency proactively promotes the growth and competitiveness of minority businesses of all sizes. Funding amounts vary. Grants from the Minority Business Development Agency may be access using the grant search engine at

Minority Business Development Centers
The Minority Business Development Centers provide access to business development services to minority individuals and firms for a small fee. There are no eligibility requirements in place for this program. Beneficiaries must be designated one of the ethnic minority groups. Non-federal entities that receive more than $500,000 are subject to Federal audit requirements for the year. Funding amounts range between $155,000 to $400,000.

Minority Business Enterprise-Women's Business Enterprise
The purpose of Minority Business Enterprise and Women's Business Enterprise Coordinators is to implement the "fair share" goals established by the Environmental Protections Agency. Grants management offices, along with other coordinators, and grantees can use their on-line system to access project goal information according to recipient organization. Funding amounts vary. Grant through MBE-WBE can be applied for directly from their website.

Amber Grants
Funded by the Women's Net website, Amber grants assist women in achieving their personal entrepreneurial pursuits. The primary focus of the grant is to assist women with the development of home-based businesses. Typical funding amounts range between $500 and $1,000. However, the grant scheduled for August 31, 2011 will be $1,500.

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Grants for Women in Georgia to Open a Business

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly 6.5 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by women. Women entrepreneurs own businesses in all fields including engineering, architecture, marketing, public relations and consulting. There are resources in all 50 states for women who want to start their own business. These resources, including grants, are available through programs run by the government and through private organizations and agencies. In Georgia, women who want to start or expand a business in a particular field such as science, technology and law, can do so with the help of private and public sector grant programs.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Georgia Minority Business Center
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Georgia Minority Business Center offers women interested in starting their own business assisting in finding grants that are available through the U.S. government. The Center's Atlanta office in provides support for entrepreneurs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virgin Islands. The Center is staffed by business specialists who have the knowledge and experience needed to help minority entrepreneurs, including women, run their own successful businesses.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Georgia Minority Business Center
401 W. Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 1715
Atlanta, GA 30308

The Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation
The Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation is offering minority women in Gwinnett County, Georgia $1,000 grants to start or expand a business. The program, called "Economic Success = Partnership Grant," is a joint effort of the Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Gwinnett Pearls of Service Foundation. To be eligible, applicants must own and operate a newly established business or a start-up business in Gwinnett County. Owners must have a county business license and be members of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

The Economic Success = Partnership Grant
P.O. Box 670
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046

Edge Connection Women's Business Center
The Edge Connection is a nationally recognized, multifaceted organization that provides small business training, funding assistance and support services to aid help female entrepreneurs start and sustain a business. Housed on the campus of Kennesaw State University's Coles College of Business, the organization targets low income women and minorities. The program's business counselors work with entrepreneurs to find opportunities for grant funding. The program is funded by the Ms. Foundation, the Hewlett Packard Foundation and the United Way, among others.

Coles College of Business
KSU Center (North Entrance)
3333 Busbee Drive, Suite 415
Kennesaw, GA 30144

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Grants for Minority Women in the Food Service Business

More minority women in the U.S. are running their own businesses, including food-service businesses. According to the National Women's Business Council, almost 5 percent of African-American women are business owners. Grants are available to help these women start or expand their companies. After finding a grant that funds food-service businesses, entrepreneurs must complete time-consuming applications. Some hire professional grant writers to prepare these filings, while others learn from online resources or state agencies how to complete the applications themselves.

Grants to minority women for food service businesses fall into several types. New business grants help fund start-up costs, such as buying equipment and supplies. Existing business grants fund various expansion projects, such as adding new grills, refrigeration or renovating a restaurant. Other grants are awarded to minority women who intend to boost economic development by setting up food service businesses in lower-income neighborhoods. Some grants require an application fee, while others--such as The Amber Grants--do not.

Eligibility requirements differ with each grant program. The Women's Financial Fund requires that women be U.S. residents who are over 18 and have donated $15 to cover the application fee. According to USA Funding Applications, grants are available even for women who are unemployed, have bad credit, have claimed bankruptcy or are the subject of foreclosure proceedings. These grants are awarded to minority women food-service entrepreneurs for many reasons, such as purchasing new buildings or financing advertising campaigns.

Websites, state agencies and online databases are useful resources for finding food service grants. For example, Womens Net breaks down resources of grant money for minority women by state, often providing direct links to state agencies. Also online is Fundsnet Services, which publishes an up-to-date annotated list of state and federal grants. Proposal Writer links to sites that help applicants file for grants and sites that tell how to spot and avoid scams.

Expert Insight
Seek professional advice on which grants are available and which online resources are most helpful. For example, business writer Jeff Schumann, who founded a website to help entrepreneurs find small business grants, recommends that minority women joint The Ladies Club 2000. According to Schumann, the free membership in this club helps women find grants and understand how to apply for them.

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Grants for Women Wanting to Open a Business

Even with the advances women have made in the workplace, they are still under-represented among business owners. To encourage women owned and directed businesses and nonprofit organizations, government agencies and private and corporate foundations create grant programs that give incentives for women to apply for funding. Unscrupulous hucksters take advantage of this by offering to sell women special lists of funders who give away "free grant money". "Don't believe the hype," says the U.S. Small Business Adminstration. Government and private grant makers do not give grants to business start-ups no matter who owns them.

What's Available
Grant funders support such programs for women as education loans, low interest development loans, women's business conferences and incentives to apply for grants. What government and private foundations do not fund, however, are for profit business start-ups. Most grant programs for women are designed to help women build new skills sets and establish professional networks that will help them in their business career. Some state and local level community development programs have added incentives for woman-owned nonprofits and for-profits to apply, but again, these are seldom for start-ups except in underserved, high-risk, high-poverty, high-crime or low resource areas.

Startup Support
The few grants that will help you start a business come in the form of infrastructure development grants which are more like contracts, low interest loans and or tax credits for a project instead of cash. These "grants" usually require you to raise some of the funds yourself and to have a considerable level of expertise in providing the service or building the thing the funder wants built. You have to be able to deliver the services or essential business that the disadvantaged community needs. This can include housing, telecommunications, water systems, medical clinics and other essential services not available in a targeted community. A county might, for instance, provide tax credits and a free facility for a young physician to set up his practice in a small rural community that has no doctor. If you are a woman doctor, you might have your pick of such deals if the state is sponsoring several programs and trying to encourage women entering business at the same time.

Who Makes Grants for Women
There are 26 federal agencies, thousands of state and local agencies and tens of thousands of foundations that award grant funding. Many of these offer an incentive for women to apply. To find Requests for Proposals, look at, the federal grants clearinghouse website as well as your state's grants website.

RFPs are complete information packets about what kinds of grants are available and for what purpose. Get on their email lists and set up the filters so you only get the kinds of grant alerts you are interested in. As funds become available the sites will alert you.

Private foundations, large corporate foundations and professional associations for women sometimes release grants with incentives for women who own and run businesses to apply. To find these go to your local funding library (at the public library, United Way or regional nonprofit management center). They have subscriptions to grant announcements and web-based premium search tools to help you find private grant funding for your project. These listings include information about whether there are incentives for women applicants.

Even if you do find a grant that favors woman-owned endeavors, you still have to meet the requirements of the grant. You often have to sell the idea to a funder before you are allowed to apply for funding. Even if you are invited to submit an application, your proposal will have to meet conditions specified in the RFP. Grants are rather like contracts that pay for activities and facilities that serve the general public welfare. Grants are never given merely to serve the interests of an individual or organization. No government agencies or private foundations offer general grants to for profit businesses. The IRS will not allow a nonprofit foundation to do so. The only thing grants will fund are nonprofit charities and businesses that do some sort of scientific, defense, educational, medical, research or development work that the foundation or government agency believes is in the public interest. If there are a significant numbers of women on your charity's board of directors or if your company is owned or run by women, it may be eligible for extra consideration, but you still have to meet all the requirements of the grant.

If all you have is a vague business idea and want some money to develop it, the Small Business Administration advises that there are no funders that give such grants to general for profit business start-ups no matter who owns them. If, however, your new business is a nonprofit that provides a public service or is a for profit that can do something the government or private funder wants done AND you own it or run it, then, IF the funder wants to encourage women in business, you may find yourself given a better place in line for the funds.

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Best Businesses for Women to Start

Finding the best business for women involves many spectrums. First, a woman should make a list of all of her strong points and skills that she could offer her business. If there is a desire to get into a field that she is uneducated in, going back to school or taking community courses is a good step in achieving and eventually owning one's own business. Some of the most successful businesses run by women developed when they built on their interests or hobbies. Loving what you do is key to making any business work and become successful.

Being in business is a chance for women to express themselves and to be in control of their future, as well as making a difference in the lives of those around them. A woman can rearrange her time to meet the needs of her family and other lifestyle events. Businesses give a woman self-worth, the ability to succeed financially and mentally, and the opportunity to grow.

A woman needs to take into consideration what she needs from her business lifestyle that will fulfill her in all aspects of her lifestyle. One way to consider the greatest potential in an industry is to assess its growth over the past five years. A woman may ask herself what types of businesses noted women entrepreneurs are running; are they dot-com businesses, service businesses or product manufacturing? She may also want to assess the faltering industries within the past five years. Look at the failures carefully; be sure to grab key points from each business to take into consideration before you decide on your own business. Learning from the mistakes of others is important in not making the same mistake yourself.

Time Frame
Study how much training or education is required or recommend for that career. If you will be starting your own tax service, you may want to attend some classes or refresher courses at a local community college. Over time, occupations change and modernize, so updated news materials and equipment need to learned. To get a business up and running, it can two to five years to see a profit.

The function of the best business for a woman to start would be that it gives back more financial and economic gain than what you put in to it. If one is struggling to make ends meet or depleting her savings account just to keep her business afloat, she must closely analyze the overall business plan. If the business is not working for her as much as she is working for it, it may be time to get help by outsourcing some of the work or finding alternatives in your business plan to eliminate the weaknesses.

Some of the most successful businesses for women to start are ones that involve the dot-com industry or the Internet. Services as a virtual administrative assistant, advertising, web designer or stores and businesses that sell a product are the most profitable. Personal care and skin care items are also successful, especially if one can manufacture a label with her own name. Freelance writing and customer service jobs are successful businesses that can be started from home, with the potential for hiring employees to help with additional clients and added services.

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How to Be an Independent Career Woman

Career women face unique hurdles that require them to be more aware of their professional goals. From dealing with a "glass ceiling" in the workplace to maintaining work/life balance, the steps to achieving work-related goals are varied, depending on a woman's choice of career and the extent to which she wants to go to achieve success on her chosen path.

1. Set a career goal and maintain focus on it. This can be hard, particularly when life gets in the way, as it tends to do. However, the most successful and independent of career women are able to make their professional goals a top priority. Determine your overall mission and come up with a game plan on how to get where you want to be.

2. Develop a skill set that makes you a valuable member of your industry of choice. In many industries, valuable skill sets are centered on those that can generate revenue streams for organizations or those that can spur innovation for companies with a more traditional method of doing business.

3. Learn the latest technologies. Hone your customer service skills. Learn how to sell anything to anyone, be it a product or a service. Make sure your skills are well-rounded; you want to be able to pitch to the president of a major corporation or communicate with the mail room clerk on ways to make mail distribution more efficient, all with the same sense of professionalism.

4. Obtain an education that allows you to pursue career objectives. According to, one of a woman's most important assets as an independent career professional is education. Get the highest level of education you possibly can; if you have the time and the resources, go to the top of your educational limits and obtain a Ph.D in your chosen profession. The more you can manage to do educationally before getting into the crux of your career path, the more valuable a team member you will be.

5. Network with women across various industries. One of the most powerful tools an independent career woman can have is a vast network of people that offer a breadth of experience and know-how. Attend industry functions and join other professional women's organizations.

6. Project confidence in the workplace. As a woman, you may have to be more aggressive to get your point across or make yourself heard. Don't be brash about the way you do it, but don't back down just because you are a female, either. You know you understand how to best do your job; make sure others in your office know it as well.

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How to Implement the Strategies of Marketing Plans

A marketing plan lays out strategies to boost sales and increase brand awareness; the challenge comes in implementing each strategy. Because marketing efforts are limited by schedule, available staff and financial constraints, careful implementation can ensure that you have the resources and time to execute the full plan. As you design ways to carry out each marketing effort, consider how you can use them at the right time to achieve your business and growth goals.

1. Prioritize your marketing strategies into a list, ranking them in order of importance. In the process, consider how each strategy supports your company's overall strategic goals. In doing so, you'll decrease the likelihood that big efforts will get overlooked in favor of smaller, less labor-intensive strategies. Use the list as a framework for your marketing plan.

2. Research practical limitations for each marketing strategy that will help or hinder you along the way. For print publications, you may need to consider the lead time and the required file types for advertisements. For websites, you should know the number of times your information will appear, the time it will take to write and publish blog posts, and the effort needed to set up social networking profiles. If you are printing materials, you will need to know the printer's average turn-around time and expected delivery dates.

3. Develop a marketing calendar for the year. Start with your most important strategies and put them on the calendar, considering the requirements of each outlet and the time needed to develop the campaigns. Assign each strategy to a time when customers will be most receptive to the message and media. Keep your marketing budget information handy and subtract the cost of each campaign as you add it to the calendar to avoid overshooting available funds. You may need to scale-down proposed marketing strategies, insert less expensive versions around the larger projects, or move some to the next year's plan.

4. Design the necessary materials and write marketing copy. Gather the information and assets needed for each campaign: photos, edited text, website pages, email blaster templates or print designs, for example. Develop materials with an eye to the needs of your target audience.

5. Identify places to distribute your marketing materials based on the information about your target audience that you outlined in your marketing plan. Find publications, websites or physical locations for your marketing strategy. If you planned a poster campaign, gather information about places that will allow you to post. Assign a specific staff member to handle the execution and distribution of each marketing strategy.

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How to Implement a Business Plan

A business plan is an excellent tool to get your business started on the right track. However, without the proper implementation, it can become outdated and will no longer be useful. Once you've laid out your goals, you must identify how you will use your resources to achieve them. You must show leadership while remaining flexible and creative -- and tough enough to accept when something doesn't work.

1. Prioritize your objectives, such as expected sales, repeat buyers, or milestones in product or technology development. Determine potential risks. Be prepared to offer coaching and training (or to delegate those tasks) to team members.

2. Identify how you will determine the success of each objective. Create a time line for each objective's completion. Identify the costs and resources needed, and allocate them. Lay out your expectations, such as how many sales you expect in each department within one month. Then create tools to measure success.

3. Delegate the responsibilities to your management team. By doing this, you make them accountable and give them the control and freedom needed to tackle their mission as they see fit. Motivate your employees by showing them how critical their role is and how it fits into the bigger picture. Explain why the changes are necessary.

4. Review progress on a monthly basis, keeping a log of the results. Welcome both negative and positive feedback. Determine which methods worked, which failed. Identify how the resources were used. Reward employees who meet their goals.

5. Implement any changes. Set a new timetable for one, three or six months in the future.

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Best Home-Based Business Ideas for American Women

Taking care of your family goes beyond packing lunches and wiping noses. Today's American women multi-task as caregivers, nurturers and home-based CEOs. Add to your family's income by opening a business from your home. You will find a new adventure is waiting for you, and you won't even need to leave the living room to get there.

Jewelry Making
Fashion mavens are always looking for the next "in" thing. You can be on the cutting edge of this trend by offering handmade jewelry. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces and clips are just the tip of the iceberg. If you do not have experience making jewelry, do not fret; there are countless magazines and websites that offer supplies and instructions to get you started. Marketing your wares can be done through the Internet, craft shows or even in-home party demonstrations.

Event Planner
An event planner takes care of the details for corporate functions. Coordinating attendance lists, choosing the event site, planning the decor and arranging food are just a few of the tasks an event planner handles. From trade shows with several thousand attendees to a reception for 20 VIPs at a product launch, businesses call on event planners. Strong communication and organizational skills are needed to run this business.

Medical Transcription Service
Typing and listening skills are needed to start a medical transcription service business. Doctors and medical staff must keep accurate records of their interactions with patients. As their busy schedules do not leave much room for sitting at a computer to type up reports, they dictate their notes via telephone or other devices. With the infrastructure of the Internet, you can access the audio files, type the reports and send them to the medical staff from your home.

Gift Baskets
Ideas for gift baskets are limited only by your imagination: from baby shower baskets, complete with rattles, blankets and soft spoons, to corporate gifts with fancy crackers, jellies and dried fruits. Running a gift basket business requires more space than other work-from-home businesses. A dedicated space, such as a spare room, will allow you to keep a neat inventory of supplies at the ready. With online sales and easy shipping opportunities, you can sell your baskets nationwide.