Microloans for Women in Business

Microlenders Who Specialize in Helping Female Entrepreneurs

Are you a woman entrepreneur who wants to start her own business but lacks funding? It can be extremely challenging when just starting out, especially if you don't have a strong track record in business, or are without collateral. However, there are many local, state and national resources available to women and minority business owners if you know where to look.

This is a list of organizations that provide microloans—those under $50,000—to women, minorities, and small businesses. Be advised that some restrictions apply, particularly those that are limited to a specific geographic area. And it's best to check the organization directly to make sure you get the most updated information about what they offer.

1
Kiva

Woman leading meeting
Hero Images/Getty Images

San Francisco-based Kiva is an international nonprofit started in 2005 that aims to reduce poverty by connecting people through microlending. The loans are crowdfunded, with backers contributing donations as small as $25 to borrowers.

Kiva's microloans can be used to start or grow a business and for other uses. The borrowers then repay the lenders through Kiva, and the lenders can decide whether to reinvest their funds in another borrower.  More

2
Small Business Administration

Business woman looking out window
Ryan McVay/Stone/Getty Images

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides  funds to nonprofit community-based intermediary lenders that have experience managing and lending. Borrowers work directly with these pre-selected intermediaries. Loans of up to $50,000 are available to help small businesses start up and expand. 

Each intermediary lender has guidelines and eligibility requirements, but the SBA microloans are generally not approved for payment of existing debts, or to purchase real estate.

3
Grameen America

business woman using smartphone in office
MoMo Productions/Stone/Getty Images

Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of the successful Grameen Bank women’s microloan program in Bangladesh founded Grameen America in 2008. As part of Grameen America, women in poverty receive financial education and guidance with the goal of establishing credit. Women in the Grameen America program can receive $1,500 to start a business. According to its website, Grameen provides nearly $100 million in microloans every month.  More

4
ACCION USA

Woman Carrying Briefcase by HandbagMaster.com
Woman Carrying Briefcase by HandbagMaster.com. Woman Carrying Briefcase by HandbagMaster.com

ACCION USA is a private, nonprofit organization that provides microloans up to $50,000 and other financial services to low and moderate-income entrepreneurs, including women and minorities who are otherwise unable to access bank credit for their small businesses.

ACCION considers business owners' character and business strengths as well as credit history when giving loans. In addition to loan programs tailored for female business owners, ACCION has programs for minorities, veterans, Native Americans and people with disabilities.  More

5
The Loan Fund - Alternative Lending for New Mexico Women Entrepreneurs

Business people signing contract in new office
Hero Images / Getty Images

The New Mexico Community Development Loan Fund is a private, tax-exempt organization that provides loans, training and business consulting to entrepreneurs, business owners and non-profit organizations throughout the state and the entire Navajo Nation.

This is restricted to New Mexico small business owners.  More

6
Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WBIC)

businesswoman signing contract
Buero Monaco / Getty Images

WBIC offers microloans up to $100,000 with special programs for female small business owners. In addition to lending programs for women they also offer education programs, seminars, and business assistance and referral services.

This organization's programs are limited to Wisconsin-based small businesses. More

7
Women's Economic Ventures

Businesswoman using laptop in office
Morsa Images / Getty Images

This organization provides low-interest business loans to women-owned businesses in Santa Barbara and Ventura County in California. Loans for start-ups range from $1,000 to $25,000. Business expansion loans are available to women who have been in business at least 1.5 years with loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

8
Elizabeth Street Capital

Woman leading meeting
Hero Images/Getty Images

Elizabeth Street Capital is a partnership of the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America, which provides access to affordable loans to female entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs in underserved communities. 

9
Key Bank

Woman sitting at her desk with computer
Chris Ryan / OJO Images / Getty Images

Even during tough times, at least one bank is out there gunning for women in business. Key Bank has a long-term record of lending programs for businesswomen and works to ensure that it's helping women entrepreneurs start, grow, and keep their businesses running, even during a downturn in the economy.

Continue Reading...