Many people dream of starting their own business. But what happens when your dreams of business ownership come with hurdles and barriers?
This is the reality for many Australian women. They have the ambition, capabilities and intelligence to own a successful business, but various things get in the way of their dreams and goals. That’s why there are various organisations dedicated to giving women the opportunity to launch their business by awarding them a grant.
Why do Women in Business Grants exist?
“If women are healthy and educated, free from violence and have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations will flourish.”
– Hilary Clinton, 1995
Everyone deserves equal opportunities. Women are generally at a disadvantage when it comes to business ownership and/or leadership, facing challenges disproportionately to their male counterparts. This becomes especially true when gender intersects with another minority identity- for example, disabled women, poor women or aboriginal women may face more hurdles than rich white women.
Last year we saw the share of total funding for women-led startups drop to 10 per cent, despite the number of female founders reaching record levels. More work must be done to ensure a diverse startup ecosystem.
Who is eligible for a women in business grant?
If you’re an Australian woman who aims to build your own startup, start a charity, or you have a great business idea, you might be able to access funds or support to get off the ground. There are so many options to choose from that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Step one is finding an appropriate grant option and speaking to the advisor to ensure that you are indeed eligible. Step two is completing your application. This process will vary depending on the type of grant, but most will require you to have a business plan. You will also need to show that you are in need of financial assistance.
The best women in business grants in Australia
Victorian Women’s Trust
Victoria Women’s Trust has been reaching women across Victoria since 1985, providing countless opportunities and changing countless lives over the years. They don’t just offer one grant opportunity- they offer several, including sub-funds in honour of specific individuals who have made a difference for women or led awe-inspiring lives.
Young Change Agents
This is a program that focuses on our future, providing support and funding to people as young as 10 years old. After a successful campaign empowering young girls to get involved in STEM, Young Change continues to empower and encourage young people while providing them with the assistance they need. Additionally, Young Change supports teachers and educators so that they in turn have the resources to support and empower their students.
The Alice Anderson Fund
Alice Anderson started the first all-female motor car garage in the 1920s and her namesake fund continues to empower and support women a full century later. The Alice Anderson fund does it all- offers financial support to women-led startups, works to close the gender gap in business investments, supports parents returning to work, and gives advice and support when it comes to navigating the world of business and getting exposure.
Investing in Queensland Women Grants
For the past several years, Queensland has added a whole new element of female empowerment to their Women’s Week. In addition to a week of celebrations, they offer a grant program aimed at community groups and organisations in Queensland that improve the lives of women and girls. This program runs twice a year, offering grants of up to $15,000 to get your idea up and running.
Investing in Women Funding Program
Similar to the Investing in Queensland grants, the New South Wales government provides grants and funding to support women in business. In addition to helping entrepreneurs find success in the world of business, they offer a pathways program for women who have been away from work for prolonged periods of time.
Women of the Future
Women’s Weekly features many inspiring women, and thanks to their Women of the Future award, some women with amazing business or charity ideas have been able to make their dreams a reality. Hosted each year, Women’s Weekly chooses six finalists aged 18-34 to attend a Women of the Future event. The overall winner will receive a hefty loan plus opportunities to additional exposure, support, and mentorship.
Female Founders Co-Investment Fund
Helping to grow an investment pipeline for female founded businesses, the Female Founders Co Investment Fund will match investments at a 3:1 ratio for a registered female-owned Queensland business.
Startmate Women Fellowship
Startmate aims to supercharge the startup ecosystem with talented and ambitious women and non-binary people who might otherwise be overlooked. The Women Fellowship is not a grant program- indeed, it costs money to take part- but it does offer opportunities to learn and engage in the world of business with the support of other women.
Global Sisters is a not-for-profit helping women improve their financial situation, usually by helping them start microbusinesses. They offer a number of programs aimed at women who cannot work or who have great business ideas that they can’t bring to fruition due to structural and systemic barriers. They offer support for solo mothers, survivors of abuse, older women, and many, many other kinds of women. While this is not a grant program, they offer support and resources that would otherwise cost thousands.