10 Loans for Woman Owned Small Businesses and How to Apply

10 Loans for Woman Owned Small Businesses and How to Apply

It’s not always easy being a woman entrepreneur, especially when you are trying to raise funds for your business.

According to research (PDF) from Babson College, sponsored by Ernst & Young, 85 percent of the 6,793 businesses funded by venture capital between 2011 and 2013 had no women on the executive team at all. This at a time when women entrepreneurs have proved they are a force to be reckoned with.

It goes without saying the situation needs to improve to support more women entrepreneurs. There are, however, some sources of business loans for women entrepreneurs that are worth looking at.

Loans for Woman Owned Small Businesses and How to Apply for Each


The bank offers funding through Key4Women, a nationwide network of women entrepreneurs who cater to the various needs of women-owned businesses.

The Key4Women program is aimed at providing women entrepreneurs with capital, customized financial solutions and educational and networking opportunities. Since 2005, KeyBank has lent more than $6 billion to women entrepreneurs.

How to Apply?

To access funding for your business, you need to become a Key4Women member first. To get started, enroll here.

Women’s Venture Fund

Women’s Venture Fund is a flexible, simple solution to fund your small business. For first-time women entrepreneurs, Women’s Venture Fund assists by calculating loan needs through a comprehensive consultation process. This approach allows you to properly understand how much financing your business actually needs.

The organization funds businesses based on factors such as number of clients, sales, contracts and the availability of other accessible resources.

How to Apply?

The funding process starts with your written plan that should explain how you secure clients, your track record and what you project as future sales. Based on your requirements, Women’s Venture Fund develops the most comprehensive roadmap for your business growth.

Submit your loan application here.

Women’s Economic Ventures Loan Program

The Women’s Economic Ventures Loan Program was established by Women’s Economic Ventures back in 1995. Today, the loan program helps those women-owned small businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank financing to diversify and expand. The loans are typically targeted at low and moderate income women.

For startups, loans in the range of $1,000 and $25,000 are available, whereas for expansions the organization offers loans between $5,000 and $50,000. Funds can be used to make fixed asset purchases, physical improvements of the place of business and to meet operating expenses.

Interest on the loan is fixed at a rate of 10-15 percent.

How to Apply?

You don’t require a business plan or presentation to apply for loans under $5,000. Such loans can be approved within 3-4 weeks after you submit your application.

For loans over $5,000, you need to submit a business plan and get an approval from the Loan Committee. Such loans are generally approved 6-8 weeks after the submission of the application.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is one of the leading lenders to women-owned businesses here in the United States. The company offers financial solutions designed to support women-owned small businesses.

Whether your company is well-established or just getting started, Wells Fargo business credit card can cater to your needs.

You can opt for loans and lines of credit to manage your cash flow during seasonal or business fluctuations, or simply borrow funds for special projects such as making equipment purchases, remodeling or business expansion.

How to Apply?

To be eligible, your business should be at least 51 percent, operated and controlled by female individual(s) with U.S. citizenship.

Operation HOPE Small Business Empowerment Program

The Operation HOPE Small Business Empowerment Program is aimed at helping women from low-wealth neighborhoods realize their entrepreneurial dreams. By partnering with over 25 direct lenders across the U.S., the program offers a range of business loan options as well as resources, information and more.

How to Apply?

For information on eligibility criteria and more, visit their website.

Opportunity Fund

If you own a California-based small business, you may want to consider Opportunity Fund. The organization offers loans of between $20,000 and $100,000 to California businesses. Funds can be used for working capital, equipment purchase, remodels and more.

Interest rates range between 8.5-10 percent, with a repayment term of up to five years.

How to Apply?

To be eligible, you should be in business for at least one year. You shouldn’t have any current credit delinquencies, open tax liens or open bankruptcies. You must also provide collateral to be eligible for the loan.

Balboa Capital

Balboa Capital offers a host of loan options with high approval rates for women entrepreneurs. These include working capital loans, flexible small business loans, business cash advances and equipment financing.

How to Apply?

To get started, you need to first provide your business, owner information and wait for your application to get approved. To complete the application process, click here.

Economic Opportunities Fund (EOF)

Looking to start a new business, or struggling to get a loan? The Economic Opportunities Fund (EOF) is an option you should be taking a look at. A subsidiary of WORC, EOF offers loans, investment products and services to businesses in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area, with a special focus on women.

The fund offers startup loans in the range of $500-$2,500 and lines of credit of up to $2,500. It also provides loans between $2,500 and $10,000 for business expansion.

How to Apply?

You need to fill out the loan application form (PDF) and submit it along with all the requisite documents. Check the product and borrower eligibility pages to know if you meet the specific criteria for the product you are looking for.

PNC Financial Services

Financial solutions provider PNC is also focused on catering to the funding needs of women-owned businesses. The company has trained over 1,700 women’s business advocates who work closely with women-owned businesses.

It provides business term loans to enable businesses to purchase assets or meet specific financing need. Loans can be unsecured, or secured by collateral. Interest rates are generally fixed for the life of the loan.

How to Apply?

The application process is easy. You need to simply provide basic information about your business and check out the eligibility criteria of the product you are interested in.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)

The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation provides loans of up to $250,000 to small and micro businesses. The organization works closely with women entrepreneurs to analyze their financial needs and guides them through the loan process.

How to Apply?

To qualify, your business should operate in the state of Wisconsin and have a successful track record. Entrepreneurs with extensive experience in the industry have stronger chances of qualifying for the loan. You should also have a written business plan and a strong credit history.

Woman at Bank Photo via Shutterstock

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