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Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part 2: Funding Solutions

Investing in women means investing in the people who invest in everyone else (c)

a woman impact entrepreneur

UPD: Funding Advisory Services (600+ funding opportunities for impact startups)

This is the second blog post in the series “Resources for impact entrepreneurs”: Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs. Part2.

Part 1 (Learning Opportunities for Women Impact Entrepreneurs) can be found here. You might also want to check the details on the entire collection of Resources for impact ventures.   

Lack of funding opportunities and restricted access to existing funds are among the main challenges that women have as impact entrepreneurs.

As the below chart (Early-stage funding scheme among companies surveyed, The European Study ‘’Women-led social enterprises’’) shows, early-stage female-led social enterprises mostly rely on personal investment.

chart on funding for women social entrepreneurs

Interestingly, according to The European Study ‘’Women-led social enterprises’’, the companies which used their own generated revenues to fund their development tend to have a more financially sustainable business model.

The PitchBook‘s All In reports state, that only 1-2% of global venture capital has been invested in women-led initiatives over the past few years globally. Although in accordance with BCG analysis (performed in partnership with MassChallenge) startups founded and co-founded by women have fewer chances to be funded (mainly because of lack of credibility), their financial performance rates are higher (MassChallenge; BCG analysis (of the 350 companies included in the analysis, 258 were founded by men, and 92 were founded or co-founded by women).

chart on funding and performance of startups founded by women

Other sources of funding for women changemakers include crowdfunding platforms, business grants, guarantees&loans, impact investing options. These funding solutions not only provide female impact entrepreneurs with financial resources but also encourage other women to start building their innovative startups.

All in all, there are higher chances for women impact entrepreneurs to get funding, if a certain fund/foundation has a strong record of investing in women. You will find below an overview of financial opportunities that primarily or exclusively target female-led teams and women business owners.

Crowdfunding:

IFundWomen: a crowdfunding platform for female founders and creators.

Women You Should Fund: rewards-based crowdfunding helping women and women-led teams make their innovative products, projects, and business ventures a reality.

Awards & Business grants:

Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award: Awards to celebrate exceptional women entrepreneurs.

Visa Everywhere Initiative: Women’s Global Edition, a competition for women founders and co-founders who are changing the world by solving business and social challenges.

Eileen-Fisher Foundation: Women-Owned Business Grant, awarding $200,000 annually in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 for programs increasing women’s participation in decision-making; training women and girls in climate change adaptation, mitigation, and advocacy; engaging women in the sustainable economy.

Women Working Wonders Fund: awarding grants to programs and projects that assist women in transition, provide leadership development in girls and women, and/or contribute to the beautification of the environment.

Cartier Women’s Initiative: regional awards and Science & Technology Pioneer Award for women entrepreneurs.

SoGal Foundation: Black Founder Startup Grant.

Women Who Tech: Covid-19 Tech Grant and Startup Tech Grant for women-Led startups.

AnitaB.org: several grants and awards for women in computing.

AABRS: Small business grants for UK- and US-based small businesses owned by women.

SoGal Foundation: providing several $10K and $5K cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs.

Girlboss Foundation: awarding grants to the next generation of women business owners in the design, music, fashion, music, and art fields in the US.

Amber Grant Foundation: Amber Grant for women entrepreneurs in the US and Canada.

Guarantees and Loans:

MCE Social Capital: providing a loan guarantee model to generate economic opportunities for women and families in underserved communities throughout the developing world.

SheEO: bringing together women from all different backgrounds and ages, who contribute to a Perpetual Fund that is loaned out at zero percent interest to women-led ventures working on the World’s To-Do List.

Grameen Foundation: granting loans or guarantees to companies with social impact (serving primarily women and rural populations) in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Women’s Venture Fund: women’s business loans in NYC, Long Island, and many areas in New Jersey.

Tory Burch Foundation: providing women entrepreneurs in the United States the opportunity to access affordable loans through Community Lenders.

Impact Investing:

Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund: aiming to support women entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Angel Academe: an angel network securing investment for innovative solutions to important global problems in areas including health, finance, education, security and climate change with a female founder/co-founder based in UK.

We-Fi: funding women-owned SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, and Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Solar Sister: investing in women’s clean energy businesses in off-grid communities in Africa.

Impact Investment Funds:

Women’s World Banking Capital Partners: investing in financial solutions in emerging markets to create greater economic stability and prosperity for women, their families, and their communities.

A-Force Ventures: an early-stage fund that invests in female-led consumer internet and mobile startups. 

Rhia Ventures: a women-led social investment company financially supporting female entrepreneurs in reproductive health.

Astia Fund: investing in early-stage companies with women leaders.

Amplifyher: investing in visionary founders with women in decision-making roles.

University Impact: funding ventures and businesses that are solving complex, vexing social problems (no poverty, zero hunger, good health & well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water & sanitation) with strong management teams, passion for change, and innovative business models.

Rivet Ventures: investing in US-based companies in women-led markets where female usage, decision-making, and purchasing are crucial to company growth.

Plum Alley: investing in forward leaning technology and healthcare companies with women founders or women and men founders that will improve our lives and the planet.

Copper Wire Ventures: providing capital to US-based women-led tech companies.

Intel Capital: investing in technology companies led by women and underrepresented populations, which include Black, Latinx, and Native Americans.

Rethink Impact: investing in US-based female leaders using technology to solve the world’s biggest problems in health, environmental sustainability, education, and economic empowerment.

X Factor: investing in US-basedcompanies with a female founder who have the insight and drive to build the next billion-dollar company.

MergeLane: investing exclusively in US-based companies with at least one woman in leadership.

WomensVCFund II: making investments in early stage (A/B), revenue-generating, high-growth companies led by management teams inclusive of women in Pacific Northwest and California.

Chloe Capital: investing in US-based women-led innovation companies.

BBG Ventures: investing in US-based visionary teams (with at least one female founder) building the next generation of market-defining consumer products and services.

Bumble Fund: seed and early-stage corporate venture investing vehicle focusing primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color and those from underrepresented groups within US.

Golden Seeds Ventures: investing in  US-based female founders with expertise in their domain.

Portfolia: designing investment funds for women backing the US-based innovative companies they want to see in the world, for returns and impact.

True Wealth Ventures: an early-stage venture capital fund run by women investing in US-based women-led companies with products and technologies in the sustainable consumer and consumer health sectors that more efficiently solve the next generation of challenges.

The 22 Fund: investing in US-based tech-based, export-oriented manufacturing companies, to create clean jobs of the future in underserved and LMI communities, intentionally including women and BIPOC led firms to deliver both high ROI and social/economic impact.

Pipeline Ventures: investing and creating capital for trans women, cis women, nonbinary, two-spirit, agender, and gender-nonconforming founders within US.

BELLE Capital USA: investing in companies with female founders or owners and/or committing to recruiting top female talent to C-Suite and Board in the US.

The Jump Fund: a women-led micro VC firm investing in female-led ventures across the Southeast U.S.

Minority Business Development Agency: Enterprising Women of Color Initiative, focusing on the fast-expanding minority women entrepreneur population as a revenue generator for families, communities, and the nation.

ICA: accelerating great businesses through investments to grow Bay Area businesses and closing the gender and racial wealth gap.

InvestHer Ventures: the first venture capital fund in Chicago that promotes, supports, and invests in early-stage tech companies built by female founders.

Elevate Capital: investing early in underserved and overlooked entrepreneurs (such as women and ethnic minorities, or those with limited access regionally to capital and opportunities) in Oregon.

Disruption Ventures: funding women-led companies as high value and high potential investment projects in North America

January Ventures: investing in female, more diverse and more distributed founders in US and Europe.

Female Funders Fund: investing exclusively in female-founded early-stage companies in US and Europe.

Merian Ventures: investing in women founded and co-founded innovation in cyber, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and consumer-facing companies; geographical coverage: US and UK.

Investing Women: investing in Scottish-based companies and we are particularly interested in companies with one or more female founders.

Borski Fund: investing in Netherlands-based companies that reduce the gender gap.

Marigold Capital: investing in in Canada-based underrepresented founders with technology-enabled products and services that deliver value to women, BIPOC, and underserved groups.

Scale Investors: a female-focused member-based Angel Investor network that invests in exceptional female founders in Australia.

Enygma Ventures: investing in women-led businesses that have an established track record, a proven revenue model and demonstrated growth in SADC.

Are any global/regional impact investing opportunities missing? Please share the links in the comments below.

Other useful links on this topic:

Grants for Women: grants and funding opportunities for women.

EU online platform to look for country-specific funding opportunities for female social entrepreneurs.

Resources for women social entrepreneurs by ChangemakHERS

COVID-19 Resources & Ongoing Opportunities for Women Social Impact Entrepreneurs by Cartier Women’s Initiative: funding opportunities, strategies for adapting to the crisis.  

Global Invest Her: Covid-19 resources per country.

Information, Grants, and Resources for Women That Own Small Businesses

More learning and funding resources for impact ventures can be found in the following blog posts:

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 1: Impact Investing Platforms, Founders&Funders Dilemma, and Hundreds of Funding Opportunities for Impact Ventures

1-Year Challenge. Impact Idea #1. Part 2: Founder’s Bias, and Dozens of Growth Opportunities for Impact Entrepreneurs

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 1: Tools and Online Platforms

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 2: Online Programs and Courses

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 3: Mentorship Support, Online Communities, and Talent Pools

Be Your Own Mentor. Part 4: Pitch Decks, Raising Capital, Impact Investing

Stay tuned on Linkedin and Twitter for more useful resources. Follow #LVfinds on Twitter for daily updates for your impact venture to start and progress faster (online programs, fellowships, awards, competitions, incubators, accelerators, and more).

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