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Business Grants For Women In California - 2024

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Your business may have suffered substantial revenue losses in 2024 as a result of COVID-19. Women business owners in California will benefit from the positive impact of these resources and information about private and government grants.

What Is a Grant?

Unlike loans, private and federal government grants are awarded to new products, businesses, or projects by a government authority or agency. The repayment of private or federal grants is not required, unlike secured loans. While grant awards are low to no-cost financing options, the grant application process and administration of these grants can take a long time. 

Grant recipients must demonstrate that they will be able to build a successful business as a result of the grant funding opportunities. Several types of grants are available, including those funded by local governments, private organizations, and private foundations.

California Business Grants For Women

There are several grants available to California-based women business owners. Several grants will be available to women business owners in 2024.

California Dream Fund

CalOSBA's Technical Assistance Expansion Program administers the California Dream Fund through selected centers. This website lists only the centers that are eligible to receive the dream grant funds. 

One-time $35 million grants are available through the California Dream Fund to improve entrepreneurship and small business development in California. The Technical Assistance Expansion Program (TAEP) will provide intensive training to new entrepreneurs and small business owners. New companies will be able to apply for a microgrant of up to $10,000 after completing the training and consulting program. 

CalOSBA administers this program and disburses funds through selected centers of the TAEP Network of Centers for California Small Businesses. Check out the California Dream Fund program's complete list of participating centers here.

Amber Grants For Women In California

Throughout the year, the Amber Grant program awards $10,000 to a new women-owned business each month. An additional $25,000 is awarded to one of the 12 Amber grant winners every year. Additional Amber grant opportunities are also offered throughout the year by the Amber Grant Foundation.

There is a $15 application fee and a simple application process: explain your business, describe what you'll do with the grant money, and describe what you'll do with the grant money. In choosing the winners, the Amber Grant Foundation's advisory board seeks out eligible businesses with compelling stories and passion for their work.

The business grant program has no time and business requirements, so an Amber Grant is a great choice for eligible applicants seeking startup business grants. The grant applicant must be a US or Canadian business.

IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database

A grant marketplace for women-owned businesses, IFundWomen offers grants and coaching for women entrepreneurs. By submitting one application, IFundWomen will match a grant from an enterprise partner to an application within its database when it adds a grant from the enterprise partner.

If your business matches their criteria, you will receive an invite to apply. American Express, Visa, Neutrogena, and Neutrogena have been past grant partners.

Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

It is a tradition at Cartier to award three grants every year to women-owned businesses in nine different countries around the world. It is the goal of the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards program to support early-stage businesses that are focused on issues related to social, economic, or environmental development that are first in their development cycle.

An award of $100,000 goes to the first-placed business, another $60,000 goes to the second-placed business, and $30, 000 is awarded to the third-placed business. Furthermore, participants will be allowed to participate in a variety of training workshops as well as receive executive coaching.

SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant

Startup grants are offered by the SoGal Foundation and companies like Bluemercury, Twilio, and others to businesses owned and operated by Black women and Black nonbinary entrepreneurs. $10,000 and $5,000 grants are available.

Lifetime access to the SoGal Foundation team and fundraising advice is also provided to awardees. As SoGal accepts applications on a rolling basis, you can apply at any time.

Fearless Strivers Grant Contest

With the Fearless Strivers Grant Contest, the Fearless Fund and Mastercard offer $10,000 grants to Black-owned businesses. Furthermore, the winners will receive digital tools to assist them in getting and maintaining their business entities online, as well as one-on-one mentoring from a Mastercard small-business mentor.

There are both national grants and city-specific grants offered through the Fearless Fund. To be regarded as a qualified business, your small business must be based in the US, have fewer than 50 employees, and have made less than $3 million in annual revenue in the last year to qualify.

Female Founders Fund

If you're a female entrepreneur looking for early-stage funding for your tech startup, consider pitching the Female Founders Fund (FFF). This fund was launched by serial entrepreneur Anu Duggal and powered by a team of female investors in 2014 to invest in the next generation of women-founded technology companies.

FFF invests in companies with at least one female entrepreneur founder in the B2B, consumer, fintech, and health care sectors, primarily in seed-stage disadvantaged businesses. Although FFF accepts pitches from businesses across a wide range of industries, it is sometimes ready for a formal funding round even before those businesses are ready. A typical FFF investment ranges from $500,000 to $750,000, with an average of six to eight investments a year.

Visiting FFF's FAQ page will provide you with more information about its eligibility criteria, investment process, and pitching.

Black Girl Ventures

Coaches, communities, and business resources for Black and Brown female entrepreneurs are provided by Black Girl Ventures (BGV).

Among BGV's flagship programs is its crowdfunded pitch competition program, where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas for three minutes before a panel of professionals questions them for three minutes. A crowdfunding platform called SheRaise allows the audience to vote with their dollars. 

Each participant in the BGV Pitch has the opportunity to raise capital. However, the first, second, and third place winners are announced first, second, and third. Furthermore, winners are eligible for free business coaching and discounts on graphic design.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What resources are available to women entrepreneurs in California looking for business grants?

Women entrepreneurs in California can explore resources such as the California Women's Business Centers (WBCs), which offer information on funding opportunities, counseling, and training. Additionally, they can apply for national grant programs like the Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program, Amber Grant, Cartier Women's Initiative, and Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program.

Are there any grant programs specifically designed for women-owned businesses in California?

While there may not be many state-specific grant programs exclusively for women-owned businesses in California, women entrepreneurs can apply for national grant programs that cater to women-owned businesses across the US. Also, check for local and regional grants offered by economic development agencies or women-focused organizations in your area.

Can women entrepreneurs in California apply for Small Business Administration (SBA) grants and resources?

Yes, women entrepreneurs can apply for SBA grants, resources, and loan programs. Although these resources are not specifically targeted at women, some SBA offerings, such as the Women's Business Centers, cater to the needs of women entrepreneurs.

How can I find local and regional grants for women-owned businesses in California?

To find local and regional grants, start by contacting local economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and women-focused organizations in your area. They can provide information about available grant programs or financial incentives for women-owned businesses in your community.

What should I consider when applying for a business grant for my women-owned business in California?

Before applying for a grant, ensure that your business meets the eligibility criteria, and carefully review the application requirements and deadlines. Tailor your application to the specific grant program, highlighting the unique aspects of your business and how it aligns with the program's goals. Additionally, explore other forms of financial assistance, such as low-interest loans and mentorship programs, which may be available to your business.

The Bottom Line

It can be incredibly challenging to be a female business owner, but you aren't alone. Additional resources to consider include community, networking, and support organizations, as well as additional networking and support groups. As a last resort, you can apply for business loan programs if you think you're in a good position to get one. The loan amounts may vary from lender to lender.

Are you interested in learning more about different competitive grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations' blog section today!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.

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