Calling all women business owners and creators! This article is for you. When the new year started, you set your business intentions. You made a plan. You promised yourself this year would bring new levels of success. This article is to help you keep that promise. It is filled to the brim with grants, programs, competitions, and more to jumpstart your year in Q1.
Before we jump into the opportunities for you, let’s set the tone with a mantra to refocus your mind from the obstacles and self-doubt to all the achieving you’re going to do this year.
I will not be afraid of any challenge placed in front of me because fear holds me back and winning takes courage.
Now let’s start applying! Here’s our round up of the top funding opportunities and more for women entrepreneurs:
1. MVMT50, NEW VOICES FUND Apply by February 15
Originally when MVMT50 announced their pitch competition the mission was to award a Black female entrepreneur with $10,000. Since then Shea Moisture and New Voices Fund joined forces with MVMT50 to increase the grand prize to $100,000! Applicants have until February 15 to apply for the competition which will take place on March 9 at University of Texas at Austin. Click the link to learn more.
2. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Apply by February 19
For the 7th annual grant contest, FedEx will be doubling their prize money for 10 finalists. This means the grand total for all ten grants is $220,000. Click the link to learn more.
3. 2019 Student Entrepreneur Program Apply by February 22
WBENC is proud to invest in the next generation of Women’s Business Enterprises. Since the program began in 2008, nearly 200 students from over 80 colleges have been helped. Participants receive a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum, entrance in a pitch competition awarding $20,000 in seed capital, and experiential learning through off-site visits to WBEs, corporate campuses, and accelerators. Click the link to learn more.
4. PitchIt @LendIt USA 2019Apply by February 25
If you’re a founder of a fintech company, this Pitch competition is for you. The event is sponsored by none other than 500 Startups, the world leader in investing in and mentoring early-stage fintech startups. Check out the link to see if you qualify and apply if you do.
5. Flash Pitch NYC Apply by February 27
This monthly event series gathers entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors in a room to watch startups pitch their companies. So far two principals and one venture capitalists are confirmed investors for the late February event. Click the link to learn more.
6. Caffeine-Induced Pitch Competition Apply by February 27
If you’re looking for a pitch competition in Florida, this event takes place in Melbourne, FL. Fun fact: Melbourne is part of Florida’s Space Coast, an area that offers more engineering talent per capita than any other in the United States. Enter for a chance to win cash and other prizes, network, practice your pitch, and get some insightful feedback. Click the link to learn more.
7. Amber Grant Apply by February 28
The Amber Grant is on a mission to help women bring their entrepreneurial dreams to life. Each month candidates are eligible to win a $1,000 grant. Then at the end of the year all 12 winners are eligible to win a grant of $10,000. The deadline for February is approaching, but if you need more time there’s always next month. Click the link to learn more.
8. 2019 Global Startup Competition: Applications opened February 1
St Louis, this lucrative grant is for you! According to their website, “Arch Grants is looking for innovative technologies, products, or services, wrapped within scalable for-profit business models with the potential to make national or international impact.” The winner will be awarded a $50,000 equity-free cash grant, amongst many other expensive resources. Click the link for more details.
9. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program Apply by March 12
Need $5,000? The Tory Burch Fellows Program is one of the most sought after opportunities for women. Fellows receive four days of guidance and networking in the Tory Burch offices, a one-year fellowship, a $5,000 grant, and for a select few fellows the opportunity to pitch their business to industry influencers. Click the link to learn more.
10. The Farm Accelerator Application– Apply by March 4- May 23
Atlanta’s startup community is constantly growing and Comcast NBCUniversal figured out a way to support new businesses and technologies with The Farm, an innovation hub in Atlanta. The Farm, which runs twice a year for 12 weeks, offers a $20,000 startup accelerator to each team, premium startup incubator office space, a cutting-edge hardware prototyping lab, coworking facilities, a customized curriculum, company-building guidance, mentorship, and a network of startup community supporters. Whew, that’s a lot! Click the link to learn more.
11. Brainhit2019 Startup Innovation Competition Apply by March 1
BrainHIT is scouring the globe, literally, for the best brain health innovations and technology. All early startups are encouraged to apply and present their ideas to judges, clinicians, peers, and industry leaders. Click the link to learn more.
12. MassChallenge Boston Apply by March 13
MassChallenge Boston has become one of Massachusetts’ premiere programs for new innovators. The program awards up to $1.5 million in cash prizes and $50,000 in scholarships, a coworking space, access to expert mentors, top corporate innovation teams, a tailored curriculum, world-class resources, and more – all at zero cost and for zero equity. Click the link for more information.
13. Montclair State University 2019 Pitch Contest Apply by March 26
The New Jersey pitch competition awards $50,000 to the first prize winner, $20,000 to the second prize winner, and $10,000 to the third prize winner. Click the link to learn more.
14.Pitch Pitch Women Entrepreneurs with SMPLCT Lab Apply by March 27
If you’re a female entrepreneur in NYC who wants to crowdfund your project you should definitely check out the upcoming Pitch Pitch competition. The event will be hosted by The Farm, a coworking space in SOHO. Click the link to find out how you can attend.
Last month Her Agenda spoke with Mahisha Dellinger, Curls CEO and star of OWN’s Minding Your Business, who shared her mission to create more generational wealth in the black community by sharing the knowledge she’s gained as a successful business owner with other black women. The immersive course that encourages you to work and play hard costs $1,200, which includes your airfare, hotel accommodations, food, excursions, activities, and more.
The free 2-week, online course is designed to provide women business owners around the world with a business and management education, networking opportunities and access to capital. Once completed, those who earn high scores on the exam are invited to take the Full 10-week course in which women will develop their Business Growth Plan. Click the link to learn more.
The certificate program which was developed by Cornell faculty and experts is also 100 percent online. Those interested are asked to fill out the Request Information page to be informed when Spring 2019 sections are opened. Seats are first come, first serve. Click the link to learn more.
Opportunities to keep an eye on
18. ERA’s Summer 2019 NYC Accelerator program Apply by April 1
ERA invests $100K in seed funding with potential follow-on funding and gives entrepreneurs access to NYC’s largest mentor network of 400+ industry leaders and the strongest alumni network of 180 companies. The program begins on June 17, 2019.
19. URBAN-X Spring 2019 Apply by April 1
Does your startup reimagine city life? The Urban-X venture accelerator program in Brooklyn partners with MINI and Urban US to explore the boundaries of design. “MINI experts guide founders in design, manufacturing, engineering, marketing, community building and branding. Urban Us connects startups with the leading community of founders, investors, companies and city officials. Together, we’ve invested in many of the leading startups working on city solutions.” On average, teams raise over $100,000. Not bad right? Click the link to learn more.
20.Women’s Founders Network Fast pitch Apply by April 1- June 1
Women entrepreneurs across all industries are welcomed to apply. It’s a lengthy process (winners don’t pitch until October) but it’s worth it. The grand prize is $45,00 and professional services. Click the link to learn more.
21. Eileen Fisher Grants: Returning Spring 2019
In the past, Eileen Fisher Grants awarded 10 women a year with grants up to $100,000. Additionally, in order to qualify your business must be majority woman-owned and promote social and environmental change. Eileen Fisher has not released information about the 2019 grants yet but wrote this statement on their website:
“In Spring 2019, we expect to launch new and/or updated grant programs. While we cannot guarantee that the funding criteria will be similar to past programs, we encourage you to return to our Grants page at that time to see if your organization might be a fit for our 2019 opportunities.”
Click the link to learn more.
22. InnovateHer Challenge powered by the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership: Returning Spring 2019
This grant provides federal grant money to women entrepreneurs whose business aimed to improve the lives of women. First place was awarded with $40,000, second place received $20,000 and third place received $10,000. Details for the 2019 grants have not been released but in an interview with Maverick Monday they issued a statement saying:
“Currently, we are planning an even better and more exciting InnovateHER for 2019! Please be sure to follow us [the SBA] on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn so you don’t miss any updates.”
23. Girlboss Foundation– Grants awarded biannually
It’s only fitting that a company called Girlboss live by their name and empower some fans to become bosses of their own. Women creators receive a $15,000 grant each to improve their businesses and since launching in 2014 the Girlboss Foundation has issued over $130,000 in grants. The application is currently open.
Check out the August 2018 grant recipient Black Girl Magik, an online platform and collective that speaks to women of the African Diaspora. Click the link to learn more.
KIVA provides microloans with 0% interest up to the amount of $10K for entrepreneurs. You crowdfund through your network and depending on your city, their partners will match the amount you raise, helping you to reach your goal faster.
Support your girls
EnrichHER created an exciting community for people to support and invest in women-owned businesses and women creators. In addition, when they’re not helping you invest in the next generation of women leaders, the EnrichHerSpark Community is helping you hone your own skillset so you can be empowered as well. It’s just an overall dope concept that you should know about, so check it out. Click the link to learn more.