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It's 2016, so you would think female entrepreneurs would have the same access to small business financing as their male counterparts. But recent studies have shown that women are less likely to get business credit than men, and when they do, they often ask for and get less in loans than men.
So how can female entrepreneurs close the small business lending gap? Here's a look at some small business loan and grant options for women.
Lending a Hand
The traditional funding route for small businesses has been a loan, normally from a local bank. But if you're having trouble getting approved for a loan, or getting the amount you need to get your idea off the ground, there are more financing options available than ever. Online lenders and crowdfunding could end up getting you more startup capital, and may be less gender biased than traditional lenders.
If you do go the traditional business loan route, the Small Business Association has resources available that can help women entrepreneurs from the basics of financing to crafting the business plan that will get you the best small business loan deal.
Getting a Grant
Many government agencies and private entities have recognized the difficulties women-owned businesses face in getting small business loans, and have stepped in to try and help. Unless you're starting a non-profit, it may not be possible to get federal grant money, but most states offer grants for women-owned businesses at some level. You may also want to research grants available for minority-owned businesses.
There are also private organizations and businesses that participate in grant programs for women entrepreneurs. Companies like Wal Mart, Chase Bank, Google, and even Huggies offer grants for female-owned startups and the SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership has a business challenge that awards $30,000 in prize money to three winners for businesses that have an impact on the lives of women.
Figuring out the right financing option for your small business, and then securing that financing, can be complicated. If you have small business loan questions, you may want to talk to an experienced commercial attorney in your area.