Girlboss Grants and Other Grants for Women
Throughout history, there have been successful women who do their best to help other women reach the same goals. By lending a helping hand to their female peers, these “girl bosses” are making a difference in the world.
Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Girlboss Media, is one such woman.
She recognized this need to help women fund their businesses, and she created a grant program to provide funding opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
Although this grant program is not currently operating, it made a huge impact, and many women have established similar organizations with the same goals.
In this article, we’ll dive into Girlboss’s story, work, and influence. We’ll also discuss how Girlboss continues to support female entrepreneurs, even though they no longer offer the grant.
And if you’re a women entrepreneur looking for grant funding, we’ll point you toward some of the organizations currently in operation as well as some great places to find business funding no matter who you are. There’s still lots of grant money out there for qualified businesses.
What Is Girlboss?
Girlboss is a media company that creates podcasts, blogs, and other online content for female entrepreneurs. They also maintain a job marketplace that lists opportunities for women in all kinds of industries.
This nonprofit foundation was created by a successful woman who recognized a need and wanted to share her success with other women.
This organization also holds a yearly Girlboss Rally event to incite fire inside the hearts of wannabe girl bosses around the country. These rallies are great places to meet like-minded women and to gain vital business knowledge.
In the past, this foundation offered small business grants for women-run businesses (although that program seems to be on hiatus).
The Story of the Girlboss Who Started It All
At the age of 22, Sophia Amoruso was selling used vintage clothing on eBay. This side job was the early stage of her small business, which she grew into a multimillion-dollar internet retailer.
These days, Sophia is still striving to help women succeed in business. She now runs a LinkedIn business training course called Business Class (which is so popular that you’ll have to join the waitlist if you want to get in).
How the Girlboss Foundation Has Helped Women
From 2014 to 2019, the Girlboss Foundation offered biannual grants of $15,000 to small businesses in need of funding. In total, the Foundation gave away $130,000 over the course of five years.
Think of all the business development opportunities created by that grant money!
COVID-19 hit the Girlboss Foundation hard, and Sophia had no choice but to sell the company. But, it’s undeniable that her Foundation helped many female entrepreneurs to reach their business goals.
Here are a few of the many women whose lives were changed by the Girlboss grant:
Deena Drewis for Nouvella Books
Deena Drewis is the founder and editor of Nouvella Books, an independent press based in Los Angeles. The grant money allowed Deanna to grow her company and give writers the opportunity to make a living from their work.
Sholayide Otugalu for Josephine Cosmetics
Josephine Cosmetics takes eco- and skin-friendly products to a bold new level. As a Girlboss grant recipient, this organic cosmetics company got a big helping hand from the Foundation.
Christin Chang for Chrisu
If you love unique silk scarves, then you’ll love Chrisu. These hand-drawn pieces won’t just look fantastic around your neck or hanging from your purse, but they also look great on the wall.
The detail and imagination added to each scarf are impressive to say the least. But without the generous grant from the Girlboss Foundation, who knows if we would be able to witness such unique artistry?
April Melchior for Urban Works Textiles
Another artist on the list, April Melchoir, received a Girlboss Foundation grant to help her develop her own line of interiors in Philadelphia.
These home decor items are made with fabric that has been printed with April’s illustrations. Her illustrations showcase her love for Philly, with most of the pieces depicting the city’s skyline and landmarks.
Other Minority Grant Opportunities Like Girlboss
Even though the Girlboss Foundation no longer awards grants, the organization’s ideals are shared by many other successful female entrepreneurs.
Many of them even offer women-owned business grants through their own foundations!
If you are looking for project funding or a boost to get your startup going, you should put in a grant application for these other programs, recognized by Girlboss as viable funding options.
The Amber Grant
The Amber Grant is a small business grant developed with enterprising young women in mind.
This funding opportunity was created in memory of Amber Wigdahl, a special young lady who had dreams of becoming a business owner.
Sadly, her dreams were not realized. She died at a young age, but her legacy is still alive, and the Amber Grant helps other young women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.
This program, which awards a $10,000 grant every month and a $25,000 grant once a year, makes it possible for women to see their business ideas come to fruition.
Monthly grants have been awarded to civil engineers, doctors, fashion designers, and even a junk hauler. In other words, there is no set type of business plan for this grant.
To learn about the rules of eligibility and the application process, visit the Amber Grants for Women website here.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
This program was developed by Cartier, the notable and historic jewelry company. (Fun fact: It was actually founded in 1847, when Louis Cartier took over his master’s jewelry workshop in Paris.)
Although this luxury brand spares no expense in the crafting of their timeless pieces, Cartier has always prioritized social and environmental sustainability.
Even though this company was founded by a man and propelled into a global market by his three grandsons, the Cartier Company has seen its fair share of strong women leaders.
They make great strides to support women-owned businesses, too. Every year, The Cartier Women’s Initiative awards numerous grants to women-led businesses showing dedication and commitment to social and environmental sustainability.
This program awards a $100,000 grant to eight women every year, with sixteen $30,000 prizes going to the runners-up. In addition to funding, recipients also gain access to mentorship and training from world-class business owners.
It’s nice to know that entrepreneurs taking the initiative to use their business to care for the world are being rewarded.
The Tory Burch Foundation
Tory Burch Foundation’s motto is “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs.”
They do this through a variety of programs that provide education, networking opportunities, and the chance to become their next recipient of the Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship Program.
The award includes a one-year educational program consisting of virtual workshops and other events to teach women valuable business skills.
Recipients also gain access to an online community of peers and a trip to the Tory Burch offices to see a successful business in action.
Last but not least, the fellows of this program are awarded a $5,000 grant to advance their business education.
To be eligible for this award, you must meet the following requirements:
- Woman business owner
- 21 years of age or older
- Legal resident of the U.S.
- Owner of an early-stage business generating at least $75,000 in yearly revenue
Eileen Fisher Grants
Eileen Fisher is the owner and designer of a clothing line that focuses on simplicity and sustainability. Her dedication to sustainable business ethics spills forward into the grant program she runs for other women small business owners.
These grants are awarded in various amounts, determined by need. In order to be considered for this prize, business owners must demonstrate their ability to use the grant to propel their business forward while maintaining a socially conscious method of operation.
Eileen Fisher is currently supporting seven programs across the globe that are all run by women and stand for environmental justice.
Other Funding Options
In addition to the women-specific grant programs above, there are other funding options available to help any small business owner stay afloat in this challenging economy.
Here are a few:
The federal government has created an online database of available grants for the public at Grants.gov.
There are thousands of grants to filter through on this website. You can spend hours searching for and applying for grants for your business through this database.
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration is another great resource for funding opportunities. The SBA will occasionally offer grants for a specific need, but they really shine in their small business loans program.
SBA loans have great rates and payback options for struggling small businesses
Related: Federal Grants for Women
National Association for the Self-Employed
The National Association for the Self-Employed holds a grant competition for its members. Winners receive $4000 to help grow their business.
Find out more about this grant and become a member here.
Local Women’s Business Centers
You can also visit your nearest women’s business center for information on local grants. These business centers can also help you get set up with a small business loan or marketing opportunities.
More broadly, you might talk to the local Chamber of Commerce about grants and networking events in your region.
If you fail to win one of these grants and you cannot find a small business loan, your next best option could be to seek venture capital from an investor.
If an outside investor believes in your company enough, they’ll give you a set amount of capital in exchange for a portion of the resulting profits or as a partnership agreement.
You can read more about how to find venture capitalists here. Of course, relinquishing some of the rights to your business is a big decision, so be sure to consider everything before bringing in outside investors.
The Girlboss Foundation was a step in the right direction. Hopefully, it is remembered not by its failure to remain, but what it accomplished during its best years.
Sure, all good things don’t last, but the ideals the Foundation left behind are still alive and spreading.
There are many more grants available to women business owners now than there were in the past, and that’s a very good thing since the number of women-led businesses is growing exponentially.
If you would like to become the next Sophia Amoruso, you should consider applying for these grants.
Becoming the recipient of one of these programs could provide just the amount of funding you need to take the next big step in your business growth.
Then, maybe you can share your success with the next generation of female entrepreneurs!