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Best Small Business Loans for Women 2021

According to recent Fundera research, women own 40% of small businesses in the country. Yet, they receive almost $5,000 less in small business funding. The loan options listed on this page seek to close this gender gap with small business loans for women.

Financially Reviewed by Somer G. Anderson, CPA, on 6.1.2021

At a glance There is still an enormous gender gap in the small business loan distribution, such a disparity justifies the creation of specific options for women entrepreneurs. This article helps female entrepreneurs seeking to jump start their small business or sustain their existing business with the best small business loans for women. 

Insights Into Small Business Loans for Women

In 2014, CBS News reported that less than 5% of small business loans were given to female business owners and that women entrepreneurs were more likely to have their loan applications declined. According to a 2021 Fundera report, these statistics appear to have improved in terms of the number of loans being issued to women business owners, with 57.4% of SBA microloans issued to women. However, women business owners still lag behind men in terms of the average loan amount. In 2021, the average loan amount for women was $38,942 while men received $43,916 on average - a difference of almost $5,000. Given this disparity, it is important that women business owners understand their options for small business loans and grants.

Recommended Reading: 11 Ways Women Can Shrink The Gender Pay Gap To Better Achieve Their Financial Goals

Compare the Top Small-Business Loans for Women

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

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%

The Best Small Business Loans for Women Explained

1. 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. Read the full Fora review.

2. 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 longs 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 our full Credibly review

3. 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 full Fundbox review.

4. 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 full BlueVine review.

5. 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 full Kabbage review.

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 full Funding Circle review.

What Type of Small Business Loan for Women is Right for Me?

The following are the main types of small business loans for women.

1. SBA Loans for Women

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal body that supports entrepreneurs in the US. It offers a variety of funding options for small businesses and each one is backed by government funds.  

SBA doesn’t offer any specific business loans for women. However, the terms of an SBA loan are favorable to those seeking smaller amounts of money. Since women typically ask for smaller loan amounts, SBA loans for women are ideal. 

2. Online Business Loans

To overcome the stigma of meeting a lender face-to-face, online business loans can be a great option for women. Crowdfunding sites are a common source of online business loans. Because lenders are more willing to consider personal circumstances, it can make them a better option for female borrowers.

3. Short-Term Business Loan for Woman

If you only need cash for a short period of time, there are plenty of women-owned small business loans out there. In general, short-term loans are for a specific purpose and usually last for between three and 12 months.

4. Small Business Loans For Women with Bad Credit

Small business loans for women with bad credit aren’t any different from those designed for males with poor finances. There are lenders that provide specific business loans for women with bad credit and the best way to find deals is to use a broker.

5. Working Capital Loan for Women

Another popular type of women entrepreneurs loan is a working capital product. A short-term loan, these deals are designed to cover a company’s everyday operations (such as wages) and not long-term investments or buying assets.

6. Bank and Credit Union Business Loans for Women

In terms of business financing for women, small business loans are the most common. These usually don’t have fixed terms and deals are negotiated with lenders based on your personal circumstances. Therefore, you can get better interest rates and lending conditions as a female entrepreneur.

7. Microloans

SBA microloans for women are small investments designed to help a business grow and cover operational expenses. Microloans allow you to borrow between $500 and $100,000.

8. Business Loans for Minority Women

Support services based around business loans for black women are available. The same applies to small business loans for Hispanic females. In general, grants are the go-to option for minority groups. Some popular options include the Girlboss Foundation Grant, the Amber Grant for Women and those offered by the Minority Business Development Agency.

Recommended Reading: Best Small Business Loans and Grants for Minorities

Alternative Funding Sources: Business Grants for Women

There are public and private grants for women business owners. There are also government grants for Small Business Innovation Research. Those grants are primarily offered to small businesses which collaborate with federal research and development. Your company must have less than 500 employees to be eligible. 

It’s also worth checking the government’s database of federally funded grants: Grants.gov. Private foundations offer the options listed below.

1. The Girlboss Foundation Grant

The Girlboss Foundation, created by Sophia Amoruso, offers grants twice per year for entrepreneurial women. Those grants for women business owners are worth $15,000 and are dedicated to music, arts, design, and fashion. Grants are awarded to innovative and creative businesses in financial need. 

2. Amber Grant Foundation

The Amber Grant is a private foundation that awards $10,000 grants every month. An extra $25,000 grant is awarded to one of the 12 winners at the end of the year. The application fee costs $15 and requires you to inform them of your business’s nature and what you’re planning to do with the grant. 

3. Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

The Eileen Fisher grant is directed to women-owned companies focused on environmental and social improvement. Eileen Fisher - a womens’ clothes retailer - awards $100,000 to 10 women business owners every year. Businesses must be operating for at least three years to be eligible for this grant. Also, women must be 51% of leadership and ownership of your business. 

4. FedEx Small Business Grant

FedEx grants $25,000 to 10 small businesses yearly. Your company should be operating for at least six months and count on less than 99 employees. Winners also get credit to use on FedEx business services and FedEx Office print.

Recommended Reading: Best Small Business Startup Loans for 2021

See Our Additional Guides on Business Loan Types

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.