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Best Small Business Loans for Women 2022

Women own 40% of small businesses in the U.S., but only 25% seek financing. And those who qualify often receive less money and pay higher interest rates. However, financing solutions for women are wide-ranging. Our experts reviewed and ranked lenders to help you get funded.

Written by Michelle Lambright Black, updated on 11/30/2021
Financially Reviewed by
 Somer G. Anderson, CPA, on 6.1.2021

The country's 12.3 million women business owners employ more than 4 million workers and collectively add about $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy. Yet even though the future looks bright for women of all backgrounds, female entrepreneurs face difficulties when it comes to business funding. 

Women typically don’t ask for as much financing as men do. When lenders approve financing, women receive $5,000 less on average than their male counterparts. 

Women business owners face challenges in the public sector, too. Candace Waterman, president, and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy testified before the Senate that the federal government has only met its modest 5% goal of awarding contracts to women-owned small businesses twice. 

Too busy for the full read? Here's the summary of the Best Small Business Loans for Women in 2022

How to Choose the Best Small Business Loan for Women?

Women continue to struggle when it comes to accessing capital, but that doesn’t mean the process is impossible. If you’re searching for small business loans for women, here are some pointers to consider: 

  • Application process: Seek out lenders with transparent application processes. Finding a lender with a more user-friendly experience might improve your chances.
  • Qualification details: It’s a good idea to know your personal credit scores, business credit scores, annual revenue, and other details so you can look for loans that might be a good fit for your company (and avoid those that aren’t).
  • Variety of loan options: Business financing comes in many options like Small Business Administration loans, unsecured and secured business loans, lines of credit, startup loans, merchant cash advances, and more. Research upfront to narrow down your preferred financing methods.
  • Interest rates and fees: Compare multiple offers to find the best deal. If you need to access nontraditional financing, the cost of borrowing can be higher.
  • Customer support: Research a lender’s customer service reputation, hours of operation, and average response time.
  • Online user reviews: Look for patterns to see the strengths and weaknesses of lenders you’re considering.

The Best Small Business Loans for Women - Full Overview

1. Biz2Credit - Best for Commercial Real Estate/Franchises

Biz2Credit is a business funding platform founded in 2007 that matches small business owners with multiple financing options — including special lending programs for women. Some loans require a minimum personal credit score of 660 or above. But working capital loans may be an option with credit scores as low as 575.

Businesses can borrow up to $250,000 with term loans and $2 million with working capital solutions. Commercial real estate loan limits are as high as $6 million. Interest rates and fees vary depending upon creditworthiness, the loan type, and other factors.

ProsCons
  • Compare multiple funding options
  • Funding may be available within 72 hours
  • Borrow up to $6 million with commercial real estate loans
  • Free online tools to analyze your business
  • Business borrowers typically need at least 6 months in operation 
  • Extra fees may apply with certain funding options
  • No instant credit decisions (24+ hour wait)

Features

Biz2Credit can match you with the best-fit financing solutions for your business, including: 

  • Working capital loans
  • Merchant cash advances
  • Equipment financing
  • Commercial real estate loans
  • Business acquisition loans
  • Refinancing
  • SBA loans
  • Traditional loans

Our Thoughts

Biz2Credit makes the process of comparing different loan options easier to navigate. Yet once it’s still wise to shop around with other lenders to make sure you’re getting the best offer.

Read the full Biz2Credit review for more details.  

2. Fora Financial - Best for Flexible Terms

Flexible terms can make a loan much more manageable for small and big businesses alike. 

After applying for a loan, you will wait 24 hours before finding out if it was approved. Upon approval, the funds will be deposited into your business’ bank account within three days.

Your business must be operational for at least six months before applying for a loan. Your monthly gross sales income must be $12,000 or more to be considered.

Pros

Cons

  • Flexible payments
  • Terms up to 15 months
  • Can loan up to $500,000
  • Quick payoff discount
  • Business must have operated six months prior to application
  • Gross monthly sales income must be $12,000 or more

 Fora Financial makes applying for a short-term loan easy and the requirements are not as strict as it is with big banks and other lenders. 

Learn more about Fora Financial in our comprehensive review

3. Credibly - Best for SBA Loans

Credibly is an alternative online lender that has short-term financing in the form of merchant cash advances and business loans. Credibly has lenient and low qualification requirements. You might even qualify with a credit score of just 500 and six months business experience.  

Pros

Cons

  • Lenient credit score requirements
  • Fast and straightforward application process
  • Discounts for early repayment
  • Financing for your business growth requirements
  • Rates can be high
  • A blanket lien is demanded
  • Extra fees might be charged

Features

Credibly tailors its loans to small- to medium-size businesses. Credibly offers the following funding for your business requirements: 

  • Small business working capital loans
  • Small business merchant cash advances
  • Small business expansion loans
  • Other kinds of small business funding including a business line of credit

Given that Credibly lending options are extensive you can also access additional types of loans including Small Business Association (SBA) loans via partner programs.

Our Thoughts

The SBA has a selection of loans available to small business owners, and Credibly offers a means of accessing these loans. Small Business Administration loans have many advantages including reasonable interest rates and advantageous terms. 

Read the full Credibly review for more details.

4. Fundbox - Best for Fixing Cash Flow Issues

Fundbox is an excellent online option for small business loans for women. They also have low credit score requirements, which can be as low as 500. They don’t have strict requirements about how long you have been in business either. 

Borrowing limits range from $1,000 to $100,000, with a draw fee of 4.66%, and repayments occur on standard terms of 12 or 24 weeks. In the application, they’ll ask you to provide your business checking account. It’s necessary to estimate your annual revenue. Your credit is calculated based on this information.

ProsCons
  • Quick and straightforward application process
  • Perfect for solving cash flow issues
  • Accessible borrower requirements
  • Low credit limits may not suffice for your business needs
  • Expensive fees, when comparing with similar services

Fundbox is perfect if you need fast and uncomplicated cash loans. Credit limits are small, making it more suitable for quick fixes on cash flow and invoice factoring. Yet, fees can be pretty high. 

Read the full Fundbox review for more details.  

5. BlueVine - Best for Recently Established Businesses

BlueVine is an online lender that focuses on small businesses’ financing solutions. This company has less rigorous requirements and options for female business owners. For this reason, it might be a good option for borrowers with low credit scores. 

BlueVine has many options for financing women business owners. The credit score requirement can be as low as 530 It also requires at least three months in business and annual revenue of $120,000 or more. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $5 million. Here are the major pros and cons about this lender:

ProsCons
  • Cash available in less than 24 hours
  • Transparent interest rates and fees
  • Outstanding customer reviews for its online services
  • Availability restricted to B2B companies
  • Options don’t cover all states
  • Services can be expensive

BlueVine offers convenient solutions if you need fast cash. Credit requirements tend to be low, but APR and fees are high, so bear this in mind when making your decision.

Read the full BlueVine review for more details.

6. Kabbage - Best for Low Credit Scores

Kabbage offers accessible loans to borrowers with credit score issues. Eligibility criteria are one year in business and $50,000 of annual revenue, at least. Meeting this criteria will give you access to up to $100,000 in credit. 

You can access more significant limits by proving an annual revenue of $500,000 and three years of activity. Your loan request can be granted within 24 hours, if you choose to receive it via PayPal. If you choose to receive it in your bank account, it can take up to three days.  

ProsCons
  • Flexible credit score requirements
  • Credit is available in a matter of days or even on the same day
  • Can connect to several online accounts, such as PayPal, Amazon, and eBay
  • High APRs and confusing rules about fees
  • Lacks longer-term options

Kabbage loans are expensive but are an excellent option for borrowers with poor credit scores. They offer excellent connectivity with online accounts, but fees are comparably higher than similar services. 

Read the full Kabbage review for more details

6. Funding Circle - Best for Businesses With No Collateral

Funding Circle is a British online lender operating in the US. They offer term loans to be repaid between six months and five years. Requirements are demanding: two years in business and a 660 credit score. 

They don’t specify a minimum yearly revenue and offer more significant limits: between $25,000 and $500,000. The interest rate ranges between 3.49% and 27.79%.  

ProsCons
  • Higher credit limits: up to $500,000
  • No fees other than the interest rate (between 3.49% and 27.79%) and the origination fee (3.49% to 6.99%)
  • The application process is faster than with most banks
  • Borrower requirements make it unfit for starting businesses
  • Not available in all states

Funding Circle offers a considerably higher borrowing limit than most other lenders. Yet, they have rigid eligibility criteria. The bottom line is that you might also want to consider other options.

Read the full Funding Circle review for more details

Best Small-Business Loans for Women - Main Features

Understand your options before choosing which loan is best for your women-run business. In this section, our experts have summarized all the key information you need to compare the best options for female entrepreneurs.  

Company

Min. Credit Score

Min. Time in Business

Min. Annual Revenue

Loan Amount

Interest Rate

Biz2Credit

Biz2Credit review

575 to 660 minimum

Six months

$250,000

From $5,000 to $6 million

Varies

Fora Financial 

Fora Financial review

Around 500

Six months

$144,000

From $5,000 to $500,000

One-time factor rate

Credibly

Credibly review

FICO Score 500+

Time in Business 6+ Months

Average Monthly Deposits $15,000+

between $5,000 - $400,000

Not specified

Fundbox

Fundbox review

550

Not specified

 $50,000

 From $1,000 to $100,000

APR from 10.1% to 79.8%

BlueVine

BluVine review

600 (can be 530, depending on the option)

Six months

$120,000

From $5,000 to $5 million

APR between 15% and 78%

Kabbage

Kabbage review

Not specified

One year

 $50,000

 $100,000

APRs between 20% and 80%

Funding Circle

Funding Circle review

660

Two years

 Not specified

 between $25,000 and $500,000

Between 3.49% and 27.79%

How to Apply for a Loan for a Female-Owned Business?

Here are three steps to help you apply for a women-owned businesses loan. 

  • Review eligibility requirements: Be sure to research a lender’s qualification criteria before filling out an application. For example, some lenders might accept applications from businesses that are majority owned (aka 51% or more) by females. With certain SBA loans, meanwhile, you might also need to be certified through the Small Business Administration as a Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB). 
  • Gather the necessary documentation: Your lender may want to see copies of your personal and business tax returns, bank statements, profit and loss statements, proper identification, business plan, and more.
  • Choose your preferred loan and apply: In addition to making sure you can qualify for and afford the loan you’re seeking, pay attention to the cost of borrowing. Interest rates and fees can vary widely between lenders. So, don’t be afraid to shop around. 
Recommended Reading: Best Small Business Loans and Grants for Minorities

Small Business Grants for Women

Access to capital through lenders can be helpful, but you have to repay those funds. Grants offer the chance to grow your business without going into debt. 

Federal Grants

The U.S. government offers grants for women-owned small businesses. To qualify, you’ll must satisfy a number of requirements, like agreeing to collaborate with the federal government, having the correct number of employees (i.e., less than 500), etc. For more details, visit the federally funded grant database at Grants.gov and use the search feature to find grants for women.

Cartier Women's Initiative Grants

The Cartier Women's Initiative is an international entrepreneurship program that promotes change by empowering women entrepreneurs. The program offers seven regional grants with a top grant award of $100,000 for seven laureates and $30,000 for 14 finalists. It aims to fund strong, sustainable social and environmental impact.

Amber Grant

The Amber Grant is a private foundation that awards a grant of $10,000 or more every month. The foundation awards an extra $25,000 grant to one of the 12 winners at the end of the year. 

To apply you must: 

  • Pay a $15 application fee.
  • Disclose the name and nature of your business.
  • Share what you plan to do with the grant. 

The Girlboss Foundation Grant

The Girlboss Foundation offers grants twice per year for women business owners worth $15,000. Grants are available for female entremprenuers involved in the following creative fields: 

  • Music
  • Arts
  • Design
  • Fashion 

To be eligible for a grant, you must demonstrate that you have an innovative and creative woman-owned business with financial need. 

FedEx Small Business Grant

FedEx offers grants to small businesses within the United States that meet the following criteria: 

  • Active businesses with a FedEx shipping account
  • Have a shipping need 
  • No more than 99 employees. 
  • At least six months in business 

The 2021 grant contest offered a first-place award of $50,000, a second-place award of $30,000, and third-place awards of $15,000. Winners also get a credit to use on FedEx Office print services. 

Comcast RISE

The Comcast RISE Small Business Program is essentially a contest that eligible women-owned business owners can enter to try to win grants. In March of 2021, 500 businesses won a combined $5 million in grants, and another $6 million was awarded that November. 

Eligible grant recipients may use funds for:

  • Media consultation and campaigns
  • Technology upgrades

To apply, complete an online application and optional video to explain why your business should be considered. 

Recommended Reading: Best Small Business Startup Loans for 2022

Additional Resources and Organizations for Women Business Owners

In addition to online lenders and grants, here are some other financial resources to consider.

Local Banks and Credit Unions

With the advent of the internet and fintech innovation, many financing options have moved online. However, if you prefer a face-to-face connection, local community banks and credit unions might be a better fit for you.

Equipment Financing

Do you need funding to purchase or lease equipment? If so, the seller or manufacturer might offer financing options to help you cover the cost of your purchase.

Investors and Venture Capitalists

If you have a business or idea with the potential to scale, you might consider taking on investors or venture capitalists. However, with this approach be prepared to share some equity in your business, and to invite input from your new business partners in the future. Women also face obstacles here — receiving just 2.3% of venture capital funding in 2020.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a bit like GoFundMe, except for business. You can use a number of online platforms to raise money for your business, with a series of small donations or equity-based investments. 

The Bottom Line

In this article, we have seen how there is still an enormous gender gap in the small business loan distribution and how this inequality has justified the creation of specific options for female entrepreneurs. Our experts have also pointed female entrepreneurs in the right direction so that they can find the right loan for their needs and embark on their entrepreneurial journey with confidence. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What types of small business loans for women are there? Women have many options when it comes to small business loans — including programs that may be available to females only. Women can apply for traditional business loans, SBA loans, equipment loans, term loans, microloans, and much more.
  • How do you qualify for a business loan for women? To qualify for a business loan, you typically need good business and personal credit. Yet requirements differ among lenders, and the type of financing you’re seeking also plays a role. Some lenders want borrowers to be in business for a specified period of time and to generate a minimum annual revenue. It’s always smart to research a loan’s specific qualification criteria in advance. 
  • What are the loan amounts for business loans for women? Business loan amounts can vary greatly — for women and any other borrowers. You can receive as little as $1,000 for a small business loan. If you are looking to purchase land and build, some lenders will approve up to $6 million or more in financing. It’s wise to figure out how much you need to borrow and how much you can afford to repay when you’re researching your business financing options.
  • Are there small business loans for women with bad credit? Some lenders don’t require a minimum credit score for loan approval. Online and alternative lenders might be more willing to approve loan or credit applications for those who have lower credit scores. However, bad credit financing options tend to cost more. So, be sure you can afford the expense before you agree to borrowing terms. 
  • Are there small business loans for minority women? Many lenders offer business loans for minority women. Furthermore, online lenders often develop financing options aimed at improving diversity and inclusion in the small business space. Even those with limited or damaged credit history may be eligible for certain types of small business loans for minorities