Article: Funding and Loans That Target Women-Owned Businesses

Funding and Loans That Target Women-Owned Businesses

Prompted by a question from one of our members in the forum last week, I finally got around to assembling a list of funding sources specifically targeted at women-owned businesses. The list below is by no means definitive. I know I’ve missed some; many of these programs are extremely regional. If you don’t see an organization that should be there please make note of it in the comments section. In a week or so I’ll add it to the list and post it in a new financial resources page in the Learn tab. –We’ll keep updating the list too so if you have an update on any of these firms or new ones to add please let us know so we can keep it fresh!

I’ve broken the list down in three categories Angel, Seed & Venture Capital, Loans, and Accelerators & Incubators. The firms listed are in no particular order. For each organization there is a brief description in their own words and a link to their website where you can learn more about their funding criteria.

Angel, Seed & Venture Capital

Golden Seeds and Golden Ventures

“Golden Seeds is an investment firm that is dedicated to delivering above market returns through the empowerment of womenentrepreneurs and the people who invest in them.”

Women’s Venture Capital Fund

“We invest in women entrepreneurs. The Fund capitalizes on the intersection of the expanding pipeline of women founders and gender-diverse management teams who are creating capital efficient companies with stiletto high growth rates. We see this nexus offering epicopportunities for wealth creation.”

Phenomenelle Angels

“Phenomenelle Angels Fund I, LP is an early stage fund that invests in women and minority owned or managed businesses in Wisconsin and the Midwest.”

Springboard Enterprises

“Venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises is the premier platform where entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts meet to build great women-led businesses. Springboard educates, sources, coaches, showcases and supports high growth companies seeking equity capital for expansion.”

Illuminate Ventures

“Illuminate Ventures is different – we don’t rely on “pattern recognition” or following the herd.  We seek new and innovative business ideas led by committed, talented and diverse teams, particularly those that are inclusive of women entrepreneurs.  We recognize that great investment opportunities come in a variety of packages – sometimes looking a bit different from the norm.” 

Ceres Venture Fund

“Ceres Venture Fund, L.P. is an established Chicago-based venture capital fund dedicated to funding high growth companies located in the Midwest in their early stages of growth.”

BELLE Capital

“BELLE Capital, LP is an early stage angel fund focused on building great companies in Michigan and other, underserved geographic regions in the Midwest and South.”

One for Women Kansas City

“The Women’s Capital Connection officially launched in January, 2008 with 32 founding investors committed to investing in women-led ventures in our region.  Since 2008, 47 women investors have been involved in supporting angel investing.”

Loan Programs

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program

On October 7, 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration published a final rule effective February 4, 2011, aimed at expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible: Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or Economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs)”

Opportunity Fund

“Opportunity Fund is the largest non-profit microfinance lender in California helping small businesses throughout the Bay Area since 1995. We have invested over $200 million locally, including over 1,700 loans totaling $19.5 million to business owners like you.”

Women’s Venture Fund

“Our mission: Small business loans for women entrepreneurs. Obtaining small business financing isn’t easy – and getting small business loans for women can be more challenging still. Women’s Venture Fund understands. That’s why our mission is to help women entrepreneurs get the small business financing they need to start or grow a business.”

Wells Fargo

“Wells Fargo celebrates the strength, vision and innovation of women business owners. Through our financial solutions, outreach efforts and educational resources, we help sustain the success of women-owned businesses; and we are honored to support their role in shaping the future of small business.  As America’s #1 small business lender1, Wells Fargo is dedicated to helping you succeed financially — in business and personally. We stand ready to help you grow your business, achieve your vision and safeguard your financial success.”

Accelerators & Incubators

(Many programs offer the potential for investment upon completion.)

Women Innovate Mobile (WIM)

“Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) is the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology.”


“Founded in 1999 in Silicon Valley, Astia is an innovative global not-for-profit organization that propels women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth.  Astia offers programs for high-growth start-ups that deliver results.”

Springboard Enterprises

“Venture-catalyst Springboard Enterprises is the premier platform where entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts meet to build great women-led businesses. Springboard educates, sources, coaches, showcases and supports high growth companies seeking equity capital for expansion.”


“The Ramps™ training program is designed for women entrepreneurs. Texas State University RampCorp brings “The Ramps™” to cities across Texas. We’re recruiting up to 30 current and future entrepreneurs per city to launch companies with guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors.”

WESST Enterprise Center

“WESST was founded in 1988 by three women to help women start their own businesses. Six years later, the organization expanded to five centers across the state with 75% of its clientele being women. Two and a half years ago, WESST also opened its first incubator in downtown Albuquerque.”

This post originally appeared on Project Eve, an online community where a new breed of innovative women go to reinvent their careers. With engaging articles and interactive tools, Project Eve motivates women to think beyond traditional boundaries, support one another, embrace change and view challenges as opportunities.. 

kim pink dress profile shotAbout the blogger: Kim is co-founder and COO of Project Eve. Prior to Project Eve, Kim spent over 15 years working in various aspects of the financial services industry. 

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