Loans & Grants


Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the capital you need.

Types of Funding

Fund your business yourself with self-funding

Otherwise known as bootstrapping, self-funding lets you leverage your own financial resources to support your business. Self-funding can come in the form of turning to family and friends for capital, using your savings accounts, or even tapping into your 401k. With self-funding, you retain complete control over the business but you also take on all the risk yourself. Be careful not to spend more than you can afford, and be especially careful if you choose to use tap into retirement accounts early. You might face expensive fees or penalties, or damage your ability to retire on time — so you should check with your plan’s administrator and a personal financial advisor first.

Get venture capital from investors

Investors can give you funding to start your business in the form of venture capital investments. Venture capital is normally offered in exchange for an ownership share and active role in the company. Almost all venture capitalists will, at a minimum, want a seat on the board of directors. So be prepared to give up some portion of both control and ownership of your company in exchange for funding. Venture capital differs from traditional financing in a number of important ways. Venture capital typically:

  • Focuses high-growth companies
  • Invests capital in return for equity, rather than debt (it’s not a loan)
  • Takes higher risks in exchange for potential higher returns
  • Has a longer investment horizon than traditional financing

​Use crowdfunding to fund your business

Crowdfunding raises funds for a business from a large number of people, called crowdfunders. Crowdfunders aren’t technically investors, because they don’t receive a share of ownership in the business and don’t expect a financial return on their money. Instead, crowdfunders expect to get a “gift” from your company as thanks for their contribution. Often, that gift is the product you plan to sell or other special perks, like meeting the business owner or getting their name in the credits. This makes crowdfunding a popular option for people who want to produce creative works (like a documentary), or a physical product (like a high-tech cooler). Crowdfunding is also popular because it’s very low risk for business owners. Not only do you get to retain full control of your company, but if your plan fails, you’re typically under no obligation to repay your crowdfunders. Every crowdfunding platform is different, so make sure to read the fine print and understand your full financial and legal obligations.

Get a small business loan

If you want to retain complete control of your business, but don’t have enough funds to start, consider a small business loan. To increase your chances of securing a loan, you should have a business plan, expense sheet, and financial projections for the next five years. These tools will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to ask for, and will help the bank know they’re making a smart choice by giving you a loan. Once you have your materials ready, contact banks and credit unions to request a loan. You’ll want to compare offers to get the best possible terms for your loan.

Apply for a Grant

Various organizations offer grants to help fund your business. Grants do not need to be paid back but there are deliverables that are required by each grant.

Resources for Finding Funding

Bank of America Access to Capital Directory

Bank of America, in partnership with Seneca Women, announced the launch of the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory. This first-of-its-kind platform is a resource to help educate women-owned businesses in the U.S. on navigating the capital landscape and identifying potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt and grant capital.

Hello Alice

From a grant to jazz up your online storefront to a loan to help you stock up on inventory, the Small Business Funding Center connects you with the capital you need to launch and grow your small business. The juggle is real for hard-working entrepreneurs like you, so you can bank on easy applications and personalized recommendations here

SBA Small Business Loans

Standard 7(a) Loan

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guaranty percentage and loan amount, may vary by the type of loan.

7(a) Small Loan

Maximum loan amount $350K with turnaround of 5-10 business days. Interest rate negoiatable

Export Express

The Export Express program provides exporters and lenders a streamlined method to obtain SBA-backed financing for loans and lines of credit up to $500,000. Lenders use their own credit decision process and loan.

SBA Express

Maximum loan $350K. SBA to respond to application within 36 hours. Loans for up to 84 mon

Export Working Capital

Export Working Capital loans are for businesses that can generate export sales and need additional working capital to support these sales. Lenders review and approve applications and submit the request to the U.S.

International Trade

International Trade loans provide long-term financing to businesses that are expanding because of growing export sales, or that have been adversely affected by imports and need to modernize to meet foreign

SBA CAPLine Loans

Contract Loan

The contractor must use loan proceeds only to finance the costs of one or more specific contracts, including overhead or general and administrative expenses, allocable to the specific contract(s). 

Seasonal Line of Credit

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds solely to finance the seasonal increases of accounts receivable and inventory (or in some cases associated increased labor costs). Funds must not be used to maintain activity during

Builders Line

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds solely for direct expenses related to the construction and/or “substantial” renovation costs of a specific eligible project (residential or commercial buildings for resale), including labor, supplies, materials, equipment rental, direct fees (building permits, interim disbursement inspection fees, etc.), utility connections (above or below ground), construction of septic tanks, and landscaping. (“Substantial” means rehabilitation expenses of more than one-third of the purchase price or fair market value at the time of application.) Proceeds paid to a subcontractor can include the subcontractor’s profit. The cost of lad is eligible if the land cost does not exceed 20 percent of the project cost. Up to five percent of the project cost can be allocated for improvements that benefit all properties in a subdivision, such as streets, curbs, sidewalks, or open spaces.

Working Capital Line of Credit

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds for short term working capital/ operating needs. Proceeds must not be used to pay delinquent withholding taxes or similar trust funds (state sales taxes, etc.), or for floorplanning. In

SMARTstart Microloan Fund

The Pasco Economic Development Council’s SMARTstart Microloan Fund is available for passionate, small business owners with the solid ideas, good management skills, valid business plan needed for success, but are unable to secure traditional financing.

Proceeds are available to be used for:

  • Working Capital
  • Inventory
  • Supplies
  • Furniture
  • Fixtures
  • Machinery and Equipment

Learn more:



4.0 Schools Fellowships

Fellowships from 4.0 Schools are designed to help business owners who have an idea to improve education in the United States. Your business idea could be a school, technology tool, retail product, or service. Business owners who are just testing the waters on their idea can get mini-grants of $600, and businesses that are further along are eligible for $10,000.  Subscribe to receive more information about next year application deadline here

Applications for the 2022 Cycle are Closed

A Little HOPE

A Little HOPE, Inc. is a not-for-profit publicly supported charitable foundation, recognized by the IRS under 501 (c)(3), which grants funds to organizations that provide bereavement support services and grief counseling to children, teens and young adults, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or loved one, regardless of the circumstances of the death.

Grant applications are by invitation only and are sent to potential grant recipients during the month of October each year.

For more information visit:

Amber Grant

Amber Grants began in 1998 in honor of Amber Wigdahl, who died before fulfilling her dreams. Each month we award an Amber Grant of $10,000, and one of our 12 monthly recipients receives an additional $25,000 Amber Grant.

January – Skilled Trades
February – Health, Fitness & Wellness
March – Food & Beverage
April – Sustainability
May – Mental & Emotional Support
June – Business Support Services (e.g. accounting, consulting)
July – Animal Services
August – Hair Care & SkinCare
September – Education & Child Care
October – Creative Arts
November – Technology & E-commerce
December – Fashion Design

Grant Awarded Monthly. Deadline application: Last day each month. ($15.00 fee for each application)

For more information visit:

Backstage Capital

Backstage Capital provides support to startup founders through programs and grants. Applicants must identify as women, people of color and/or LGBTQ+ members and be affiliates with a for-profit stage company.

For more information visit:

Coalition to Back Black Businesses

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multiyear grantmaking and training initiative. It helps black-owned small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $5,000 in grants will be awarded each fall through 2023.


For more information visit:

Fearless Strivers Grant Contest 2023

Mastercard is partnering with Fearless Fund, a Black women-owned venture capital fund that supports women of color-owned businesses, on a new grant program. The Fearless Strivers Grant Contest aims to provide $20,000 grants to Black women-owned small businesses, along with digital tools and mentorship opportunities. This is part of a larger initiative by Mastercard to support Black women in business. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. THIS IS A SKILL BASED CONTEST. Void where prohibited. Open to black women who are legal U.S. residents (including DC), 18+ and the principal owner of a U.S.-based small business.  

Deadline application: August 31, 2023

For more information visit:

Flawless by Gabrielle Union together “Lift As We Rise”

Eligible black female entrepreneur applicants will have the chance to win $25,000 each through the inaugural grant. In addition to financial support, the Lift As We Rise Grant will offer a one-year LinkedIn Premium membership and a mentorship session to help elevate your LinkedIn profile. Grant for Black women business in fashion, skincare or hair accessories and tools sectors.  

Deadline application: April 19, 2023

For more information visit:

Founders First CDC National Kitty Fund⁠

The Kitty Fund makes small micro investments in Moms who are running employer-based small businesses with two or more employees. The award was created in honor of Mother’s Day and Founder’s First CEO Kim Folsom‘s mother, Catherine “Kitty” Abrams Tadlock Webster, who passed away in March of 2020. In 2020, the fund made its first investments of $13K in 50 Moms running small businesses nationwide. In 2021, the amount increased from $250 to $500 for the 50 recipients.

Pre-registration is open now

For more information visit:

Galaxy of Stars Grant

Enter for a chance to win a $3,750 Galaxy Grant, brought to you by Hidden Star, a 501(c)(3). Our mission is to help minority and women entrepreneurs succeed. Refer a friend and double your chances of winning with their entry. If they win, YOU BOTH WIN!! Galazy of Stars provides free tools to help businesses succeed. These tools include free website and free hosting, forums that provide a great, safe place to interact with other entrepreneurs; curated educational content and tutorials that will help you grow and improve your business, trusted resources that will provide you with honest, unbiased guidance that you can trust and rely on.

For more information visit:

If you’re looking for federally sponsored grants for women, the best place to start is All government grants are open to male and female business owners, and this site serves as a database of all federal grants—including those specifically available for small business owners. To search for this type of grant, visit the official government grants website and check out their section for grant applicants to see if you’re eligible.

It’s important to note that this database includes a variety of grants, so you may need to sort through different options to find those that are the most relevant to small business owners. can serve as a great starting point with over a dozen federal government agencies participating in the database.

Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant started in 2006 as a small business grant for women entrepreneurs specifically in the jewelry industry. The grant is awarded to emerging jewelry designers in the United States—specifically geared toward businesses under five years old.

Those that apply should be prepared to answer a series of questions about their business goals and strategies. Winners are awarded a $7,500 cash grant, $1,000 toward Halstead jewelry supplies, and publicity within the jewelry industry. The good news is that even those applicants who don’t win will receive general feedback on their business plan from the judges. 

Deadline application: May 1, 2023

For more information visit: 

The HerRise Micro-Grant provides financial support to women of color who are often unable to secure funding for their small business. Each month a $500 micro-grant will be awarded to a small business owned by women of color. Small business grants are useful for financing a particular small business need. Past recipients used their growth grants for computers, equipment, marketing materials, website creation and more.

Micro-Grant Awarded Monthly

For more information visit:

Hillsborough County Capital Grant

Hillsborough County has put together a uniform procedure to request county funds for construction projects.  All small businesses who have completed a business plan and require a capital infusion for construction are encouraged to apply.

For more information visit: 


IdeaCafe Grant

The IdeaCafe Grant awards a $1,000 micro-grant to one small business owner each year. The application deadline is in January, so apply early. Although the funding isn’t technically a small business grant for women only, the vast majority of the winners have been female entrepreneurs.

This is a great grant to apply to if you’re a relatively new startup looking for funding. This grant is also available for those that have an idea for a business but haven’t actively started building it yet.

For more information visit:


Kinetic Black Business Support Fund Grant

Kinetic Business is proud to support black-owned businesses with the creation of the Black Business Support Fund. 

Your business must meet the following requirements to participate in the Black Business Support Fund Grant program:

Deadline application: Until funds last

More information:


KKR Grant

KKR Small Business Builders has an emphasis on companies that are pivoting their business in response to the pandemic; are operated by historically underrepresented groups (HUGs); and/or are providing important community services. To be eligible, a business must have between 5 and 50 employees, less than $7 million USD in annual revenue, demonstrated need for support, a strong plan for moving forward, and be in good standing with the IRS or their local regulatory body.

Grant application will be available in 2023

For more information visit:

Ladies Who Launch’s Small Business Grant Program

The Launch Program provides women and non-binary small business owners capital through a $10,000 grant, mentorship from industry experts, and six months of free education that supports them on their unique journeys.

Applicant must be a woman or non-binary founder or co-founder of the company. Applicant must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States or a US territory. Applicant must be 21 years or older. Only one entrepreneur per business may apply and/or participate.

Deadline application: March 31, 2023

For more information visit:

National Association for Self Employment

The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) awards quarterly $4,000 Growth Grants to its members. Membership starts at $12 a month. You have to be a member in order to apply for this grant. 

Quarterly Grant. For more information visit:

MBDA Capital Readiness Program Grant Competition

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency is launching a nearly $100 million grant program to support female and minority entrepreneurs. The Capital Readiness Program is directing grants of between $2 million and $3 million to business incubators and accelerators run by companies, nonprofits, and universities. So the funds will not go directly to small businesses from the federal government. But recipients must use the funds to provide services that can help women- and minority-owned startups overcome structural barriers. The program will focus on several high-growth industries, including health care, climate technologies, and infrastructure. 

For more information visit:

Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants

The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing. 

Applications due October 31, 2022 (set-aside) and March 31, 2023

For more information visit:

Rural Relief Small Business Grants

The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), a non-profit community development financial institution, offers financial assistance through grants. Grants are specially targeted to small businesses in under-served communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans who own businesses. In all, 900 grants worth a total of $18 million are available. 

For more information visit:

Small Business Growth Fund presented by Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN)

Applicants needs to sign in through Hello Alice in order to apply.

To qualify for the grant program, you must:

Be a for-profit business located and registered in one of the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia

Have less than $1M in 2022 gross annual revenue

Have a commitment to their customers and community

Have a clear plan for how the funds will help them achieve a significant growth milestone in 2023

Amounts will be awarded based on a variety of scoring factors including but not limited to need for and intended use of funds, plan for growth, industry, and annual revenue. 

Deadline application: April 21, 2023

For more information visit:

The Black Ambition Prize

Black and Hispanic Entrepreneurs. This year, the organization is offering two prize opportunities: The Black Ambition Prize and the HBCU Prize. The Black Ambition Prize aims to support innovative projects, offering up to $1,000,000 in funding, while the HBCU Prize offers funds to those at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The application period is now open and will close in June. The organization will then select semi-finalists to participate in a mentorship program and the Black Ambition Demo Day this fall.

Deadline application: June 2023

For more information visit:

The Female Founder Grant (Papaya Small Business Grant)

To be eligible for the grant, companies must have at least one female founder, be in the seed or early stages of development, and have a business model that aligns with Papaya’s mission of promoting financial wellness and inclusion. Up to $10,000

Deadline application: April 30, 2023

For more information visit: 

The Shirley Holden Helberg Grants for the Mature Women

The National League of American Pen Women, Inc. awards three grants of $1,000 each in art, letters, and music to women 35 years of age or older.

NLAPW awards are established for the purpose of promoting professionalism in Art, Letters, and Music, encouraging talented women to pursue further education or other goals which affect their creative efforts. All are awarded in accordance with specific donor requirements.

Candidates must be female, ages 18 through 25, and a member of a Native American tribe. These grants are awarded every two (2) years for scholarships in art and each is given to a Native American girl who is talented but lacks financial resources to further her education. Funds must be used toward courses at an accredited college, university or trade school. Funds will be mailed to the academic institution to be used by the student.

Application window will be August 1, 2023 – September 30,2023.

For more information visit:

USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants

This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue. Truckers based in rural areas may qualify for Rural Business Enterprise Grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Trucking businesses in qualified rural communities may apply for grants of between $10,000 to $500,000. Again, this program isn’t specific to trucking companies. But those in rural areas outlined on the USDA’s website can benefit from this program.

Application deadline: April 19, 2023 

For more information visit:

Wish Local Empowerment Program Grant

Black-owned businesses with no more than 20 employees, a brick-and-mortar location, and less than $1 million in average annual revenue.

Must be a Black-owned business (51%+)
Must possess a liquor license or currently seeking a liquor license

Application deadline: Until funds last

For more information visit:

Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant

Are you a student? This grant is for you! You’ve got big ideas, and we want to turn them into a reality. One young scholar with entrepreneurial spirit will receive $2,500 to continue their education.

* Must be a high school senior, undergraduate, graduate, or trade school student
* Must attend a U.S.-based high school, trade school or university
* Must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher
* Must have an interest in starting a business

How to Apply
* Complete online application
* Create a short, 2-minute video telling us how entrepreneurship will impact your life
* Submit sample business plan

Deadline application:  March 31, 2023 

For more information visit: