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10 Best Small Business Loans & Funds for Women Entrepreneurs

Posted by Arya Chatterjee

March 8, 2024

Ladies, it’s time to say goodbye to glass ceilings and hello to unlimited potential — business rules are being rewritten.

Women leave their mark on the business world from coast to coast, turning dreams into realities and breaking barriers with every stride. They’ve repeatedly proven that they’re more than just a force to be reckoned with — they’re the architects of tomorrow’s business landscape. Yet, one crucial ingredient behind every successful venture, women-owned or otherwise, lies capital.

Picture this: a boss lady with a killer business idea struts into a bank, ready to conquer the world. But she’s met with raised eyebrows and a reluctant nod towards the door marked “traditional business loans.” It’s a tale as old as time — or at least as old as the gender disparity in entrepreneurship.

Well, the numbers tell a different story altogether. In the U.S., women-owned businesses are skyrocketing at a staggering rate. The U.S. National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) reports that in 2023, 14 million women-owned businesses made up 39.1% of all U.S. businesses, generating over $1.8 trillion in revenue annually. And while women-owned businesses are growing five times faster than the national average, Fundera paints an eye-opening picture. Only 25% of women business owners seek business financing, and only 7% receive venture funds for their startups. That’s like trying to build a castle with a handful of pebbles.

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From tech titans like Whitney Wolfe Herd of Bumble and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon to Sara Blakely of Spanx and Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post, women know how to make waves across industries. So, why should they settle for anything less than the best when financially fueling their dreams? Fear not, fellow female warriors armed with strategies and knowledge, you can build your empire, one loan at a time.

10 best small business loans for women entrepreneurs


1. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has been a cornerstone for small businesses in the United States, offering many loan programs to bolster entrepreneurs. They’re the trusty sidekick always in your corner, ready to swoop in with a financial cape whenever things turn sideways.

While not exclusively for women, SBA loans offer low interest rates and flexible terms, making them an excellent option for female entrepreneurs. According to SBA data, SBA-backed loans to women-owned small businesses have risen 70% since FY20, signaling a shift towards greater inclusivity and empowerment.

SBA caters to women of all stripes with an array of loan options available, ranging from micro-loans for those just dipping their toes into the business waters to substantial 7(a) loans for those ready to make a big splash. SBA’s 7(a) loan is part of the primary business loan program. This loan ensures financial support to small businesses for working capital and a range of other uses, up to a maximum of $5 million. On the other hand, SBA’s 504 loans offer long-term, fixed-rate financial support up to $5.5 million for major asset purchases by small businesses.

2. Amber Grant

The Amber Grant stands out as a beacon of support for women-owned businesses. Founded by WomensNet, this grant awards $10,000 each month to a deserving female entrepreneur, fueling their entrepreneurial rocketship. At the end of each year, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $25,000. The grant recognizes the passion, vision, and sheer grit needed to build something from scratch.

The application process is straightforward, emphasizing the applicant’s vision and commitment to their business idea. Beyond the know-how to finance the business, the grant also provides valuable exposure and networking opportunities, amplifying the voices of female leaders ready to dominate the world of entrepreneurship.

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3. Kabbage Loans

Kabbage Funding from American Express offers a streamlined lending process and tech-savvy approach designed to cater to the needs of small businesses, including women who dare to seize their dreams. Whether it’s a line of credit up to $250,000 or a quick infusion of cash to cover unexpected expenses, Kabbage understands that entrepreneurs need flexibility and agility to navigate the ever-changing business terrain.

What sets Kabbage apart is its focus on tech-forward solutions. It leverages data analytics to assess applicants’ creditworthiness beyond conventional metrics. This approach encourages inclusivity, allowing women with limited credit history to secure funding based on merit and business performance.

4. Tory Burch Foundation

Founded by the illustrious fashion maven Tory Burch herself, the Tory Burch Foundation is about rolling up those designer sleeves and getting down to business. Through their Capital Program, women can access a range of loans tailored to their specific needs. Whether it’s launching your startup, expanding the company, or a simple boost to get your feet wet, the program has your back and also offers mentorship and networking opportunities.

By partnering with community leaders, the foundation ensures that women-owned businesses receive the proper assistance to finance a business. Moreover, the Tory Burch Foundation emphasizes the importance of education and empowerment, equipping women with the tools and resources to overcome adversity and achieve triumph.

5. Accion

Accion is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic opportunity through microfinance. Think of them like the fairy godmother every aspiring female entrepreneur dreams of, swooping in with the wave of their magic wand to sprinkle some much-needed capital dust on ambitious business plans.

With loans ranging from a humble $300 to a cool million, Accion doesn’t discriminate based on the size of your dreams; they’re in the business of making them come true. However, their personalized approach sets them apart, providing tailored financial solutions and ongoing support to help women succeed. Every entrepreneur, seasoned or otherwise, appreciates the helping hand of mentorship. Accion gives you access to personalized support, financial literacy training, and encouragement that prepares you to take on the world confidently.

6. Fundbox

Fundbox offers a range of financial solutions designed to address the cash flow challenges that block the paths of small businesses, including those led by women. Through their innovative platform, entrepreneurs can access a range of financial solutions tailored to their needs, from invoice financing to lines of credit.

Plus, with Fundbox’s tech-easy approach and user-friendly interface, getting the funding you need is almost as easy as ordering your morning latte. Their focus on inclusivity and accessibility enables entrepreneurs to bridge financial gaps and seize growth opportunities.

7. Grameen America

Grameen America follows the pioneering microfinance model created by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, providing small loans to low-income entrepreneurs, especially women. They’re the unsung heroines of the financial world, bringing the power of microfinance to the streets of America.

Through its nationwide network of branches, Grameen America offers access to small loans tailored to every entrepreneur’s needs, whether starting a food truck or transforming a side hustle into a full-blown organization. This organization levels the playing field with financial literacy, peer support, and a healthy dose of Grameen magic. It gives women the tools they need to rewrite their destinies.

8. Kiva Business Loans

As a nonprofit organization, Kiva recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving economic growth and innovation. They have this brilliant idea that everyone deserves a shot at success, regardless of their background or bank balance. So, they’ve created a platform where everyday heroes, a.k.a. the general public, can become micro-lenders, pooling our resources to support entrepreneurs. Women are at the forefront of this revolution.

Whether it’s a budding culinary sensation in Bangladesh or a fearless fashion entrepreneur in Fiji, Kiva is backing these women with various options tailored to their unique needs. Loans reach up to $10,000 at 0% interest. From microloans to larger loans, the organization offers a beautiful blend of support for financing a business and community spirit, where every dollar lent is a vote of confidence in the power of female entrepreneurship.

9. Coralus

Coralus (formerly ShEO) is a company that marries fintech with female empowerment through its innovative lending program. By leveraging alternative data sources and machine learning algorithms, Coralus assesses credit risk more accurately, allowing women with limited credit history to access affordable loans.

From startup loans and equipment financing to providing a line of credit to keep things flowing, Coralus supports female leaders in making their business dreams a reality. Moreover, the company offers ongoing support and guidance from a collective community to help other women navigate the complexities of business ownership, ensuring long-term success and financial well-being.

10. Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund (WEALF)

With a name like that, you know they mean business! The Women’s Enterprise Action Loan Fund emerges as a strategic ally for women entrepreneurs, offering more than just financial assistance — it’s a lifeline of support and wisdom. With a mission dedicated to balancing the gender scales, WEALF provides a diverse array of loans tailored to women-owned businesses.

Whether seed funding for startups, expansion capital for scaling ventures, or working capital to navigate through turbulent times, WEALF’s offerings cater to the diverse spectrum of entrepreneurial endeavors. They offer interest-free loans up to $10,000. But it’s not just about dollars and cents; WEALF’s holistic approach offers invaluable resources such as mentorship, networking opportunities, and business development support to help women thrive beyond the initial loan.

11. Bottom line

As women continue shattering glass ceilings and redefining the entrepreneurial landscape, access to capital remains critical to their success. While we’ve explored the diverse trim business loan options, it’s evident that access to capital is not just about funding ventures — it’s about fueling dreams, dismantling barriers, and rewriting the narrative of business ownership.

From stalwart support of legacy institutions to the innovative platforms of fintech disruptors, women entrepreneurs have an arsenal of support at their disposal. These loans represent more than just a means to an end — they’re a catalyst for change, driving progress and prosperity in communities around the globe. The stage is finally set — ladies, let the entrepreneurial journey begin!

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Want to know more? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today.


Arya Chatterjee
Arya Chatterjee

Arya Chatterjee is a freelance writer and consultant from Mumbai. With a background in journalism and over five years of creative writing experience working with legacy media like Architectural Digest and Femina India and brands like The Label Life, and Macy's, she crafts unique and compelling stories that engage the readers. She enjoys writing about health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle and exploring the symbiotic relationship between thriving businesses and happy employees through her writing. She is always looking to explore new avenues to expand her creative energy.

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