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Top Women's Business Loans of 2023


Getting a business loan can be difficult, but women often have more trouble getting finance than other business owners do. Accessing the capital required to run and expand a business can be made simpler by being aware of the various kinds of small business loans for women—and how to apply for them.

In addition, there are a variety of unconventional choices, such as subsidies designed especially for women-owned enterprises. We'll go through the best business loans for available women as well as the application process.


Based on 16 data points from the loan information, prices, eligibility, customer experience, and application process categories, we evaluated 19 well-known lenders. Based on the weighting given to each criterion, we determined which lenders were the best:

Loan cost: 36%

Loan details: 28%

Customer experience: 25%

Eligibility and accessibility: 15%

Application process: 15%

We also took into account some factors within each major category, such as the possible loan amounts, payback terms, and associated fees. We also considered the minimal credit score, the amount of time in operation, and the lender's geographic reach. Finally, we looked at each provider's borrower benefits, customer service tools, and features that make borrowing easier, like mobile apps, online applications, and prequalification alternatives.

Whenever applicable, we gave lenders partial points based on how well they complied with each requirement.

Guidelines for Women's Business Loan Comparison

When considering women's business loans, keep the following in mind:

* Prequalify if at all possible. Prequalification is a service provided by some business financing providers. This entails that potential borrowers can disclose specifics regarding their financial requirements, source of income, and other pertinent information to learn what loan amounts, interest rates, and repayment periods they may be eligible for. Usually, all that is needed for this process is a soft credit inquiry, which does not affect your credit score.

* Choose how you wish to get your money. You can obtain and access your business cash in two of the most frequent ways: as a one-time payment or on an as-needed basis. Choose a conventional working capital or term loan if you want to get your money right away. Consider a company line of credit, though, if you wish to use money only when you need it.

* Think about the flexibility and conditions of repayment. Each provider of business financing has a unique repayment plan. While some financing options call for monthly payments, others could ask for daily or weekly payments. While deciding on your preferred lender and business loan, keep this in mind.

* Watch out for extra costs. Several financial institutions provide fee-free business loans, which exempt borrowers from paying origination fees, late payment penalties, prepayment fees, and other typical loan costs. This isn't always the case, though. When looking for the best terms, make sure to verify the lender's cost schedule. Consider additional costs before making your choice.

* Analyze the available customer support choices from the lender. Before you sign the loan agreement with a lender who is willing to lend you the money you need in favorable conditions, take into account the lender's support choices. If you have problems with repayment in the future, customer service can make a big difference. Make sure it's a good fit by researching the lender's customer service options and reading reviews.

Varieties of Women's Small Business Loans

Women's businesses can grow into successful operations with the aid of small business loans. The most typical kinds of small business loans for female business owners and other entrepreneurs are as follows:

SBA Loans 

Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available from several banks, internet lenders, and other financial institutions that are supported by the SBA. The possible loan amounts range from $30,000 to $5 million depending on the type, and interest rates differ depending on the lender and loan type. SBA loans frequently go to minority- and women-owned businesses as well as startups in underprivileged areas.

SBA Microloans 

The Microloan program from the SBA aids startup companies. While being smaller than other SBA loans (with a maximum of just $50,000), they are frequently simpler to qualify for by firms with spotty financial histories or credit histories. Interest rates normally range between 8% and 13%, and terms might vary depending on the lender but often last up to six years. 

Term Loans 

A traditional loan known as a term loan requires repayment over a certain length of time after the borrower gets a lump sum of money (usually three to 24 months). Peer-to-peer lenders, which let individual investors interact with companies in need of financing, are another source of these loans in addition to banks, credit unions, and online lenders.

Term loans may only be used for specific things, like financing inventory or other substantial expenditures, but they are typically a flexible alternative for business owners that require quick access to a lot of money. Term loans are often offered up to $500,000 with annual percentage rates (APRs) beginning at about 9%. 

Lines of Credit 

A line of credit is a set sum of money that a business owner can use as needed. The borrower may use those funds once again if a portion of the line of credit is paid off early. The borrower can no longer access the revolving funds when the draw time expires (which can take up to five years on average).

The typical range of loan amounts is $2,000 to $250,000. Borrowers have assessed an APR ranging from 10% to 99%. However, it should be noted that interest is only assessed on the amount of the credit line that is utilized—not the whole available sum. For business owners who prefer to access cash as needed rather than all at once, lines of credit are the ideal solution.

Asset-based Financing 

Asset-based finance, a substitute for unsecured loans, enables companies to obtain loans that are backed by valuable assets such as accounts receivable, machinery and equipment, inventories, and real estate.

Because the lenders have the power to seize the underlying collateral if the borrower doesn't make payments on time, this sort of financing entails less risk for them. Due to less severe lending requirements and more affordable interest rates, this is a viable alternative for business owners with bad credit or short credit history.

The process of selling a company's unpaid bills to a factoring company in exchange for a lump sum of cash—typically between 80% and 90% of the total invoice amount—is known as asset-based finance or invoice factoring. Other well-known examples of asset-based finance include financing equipment purchases through the manufacturer and financing inventory directly from a vendor.

Merchant Cash Advances

With a merchant cash advance, also known as an MCA, business owners can get a one-time cash payment in exchange for a percentage of future sales revenue. MCAs are repaid by the business' individual sales or through daily or weekly automatic clearing house (ACH) payments, typically at a factor rate between 1.2 and 1.5, as opposed to making monthly payments like with regular loans.

The application, funding, and repayment processes are further streamlined by the availability of MCAs through merchant service providers. This makes this kind of investment a viable choice for companies with big sales volumes.

How Women Can Select & Get Business Loans

Depending on the lender and the type of funding, different steps are involved in applying for and receiving a business loan. In general, though, check both your personal and corporate credit scores to get ready for the application process. Prequalification is a process provided by some lenders that can assist you to determine how much you might be eligible for; it is also a useful tool for comparing lenders and comparing rates.


While selecting a business loan, women and other borrowers should take into account the following factors: 

* Reputation and products of the lender. Read the online reviews of each lender before applying for a business loan to see any warning signs or potential problems. Consult with other company owners and prior grant recipients to assess each choice if you're considering applying for a grant or working with a local bank or credit union.

* qualifications needed. The minimum requirements for traditional loans vary according to the lender, but the majority call for a personal credit score of at least 680. If the company has been in operation for at least six months, lenders may also evaluate the borrower's business credit score, however, it typically takes longer to establish a business credit score. Early in the borrowing process, check your credit score, and then compare lenders depending on their credit score requirements.

* Various loan amounts and interest rates. Before searching for and selecting a small business lender, consider your company's demands as business finance quantities vary depending on the lender and loan type. Similarly, depending on the lender, APRs range from 5% to 99%, with the most competitive rates going to the applicants with the best credit. 

* Extra expenses To offset the costs of processing and underwriting, many lenders often add origination fees to the interest they charge. Moreover, some lenders impose draw fees and prepayment penalties; however, this is less typical among reputable lenders. But, keep in mind that any charges made upfront, such as application fees, are a warning sign.

* speed of underwriting and funding. After filing a loan application, it often takes one day (for certain traditional lenders) to several months (for SBA-backed loans) for cash to release. Because of this, business owners that require quick access to capital should pick a lender and loan product that fits their schedule.

Prepare the required paperwork before applying, including your company plan, two years' worth of tax returns, at least one year's worth of personal and business bank records, and information about any current or previous business loans. This may speed up the funding process overall and help to simplify the application procedure. Additionally, it can assist nonbank lenders such as venture capitalists in overcoming any gender-based prejudices they may have against your company.

Financial Obstacles for Women in Business

Although it is against the law for lenders to discriminate against applicants based on their sex under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, women nonetheless encounter a variety of difficulties when trying to finance their enterprises. Although every business owner's borrowing experiences are unique, these are some of the typical obstacles that women face when trying to raise capital for their ventures:

* Creditworthiness. Formerly, women's average credit scores were one point lower than men's, but now the two sexes are equal at 705. Nonetheless, women are responsible for more than 58% of all student loan debt, and they take two more years on average to pay off their debt than men do. In addition, women still earn only $0.82 for every dollar that males make. When all of these elements are considered, women have a harder time qualifying for loans based on income and trustworthiness.

* Industry. The top four business sectors for women-owned companies are retail, business services, food and restaurant, and health, beauty, and fitness services. Cash flow and several other factors specific to the applicant's industry are considered by lenders when making loan decisions. Regardless of their gender, successful entrepreneurs in less lucrative businesses have a lower likelihood of obtaining the finance they require.

* Investor prejudice Venture capitalists (VCs) and other financial supporters are less likely than male-owned rivals to support women-owned enterprises outside of typical bank lending. In actuality, venture capitalists only funded female-led firms by 2.3% in 2020. This is caused, in part, by unfounded worries about female founders' capacity to manage a business while performing more traditional responsibilities. Women have more difficulty obtaining business financing as a result.

 Alternatives to Women's Business Financing

While some female business owners might employ business loans to develop and grow their companies, others might not think they're the ideal choice. Fortunately, you have a lot of additional options for raising money for your company.

Women's Small Business Grants

Small business grants are offered to companies that need assistance starting up or expanding their operations. These awards are often targeted at specific business categories, especially those run by women. Small company grants for women do not have to be repaid, and there are typically no fees or interest payments necessary, unlike standard business loans.

In general, grants can be obtained from a variety of sources, including local, state, and federal governments, as well as businesses. However, keep in mind that getting a grant can be more difficult and time-consuming than getting financing from a more conventional source because grants are so fiercely competitive.

Take into account monies provided by organizations like the American Association of University Women, Girlboss Foundation, or Open Meadows Foundation, as well as well-known small business grants for women like the Amber Grant. To find out about available grants in your city or area, get in touch with your neighborhood chamber of commerce.

Angel investors for women business owners

Finding an angel investor may be an option if you have a great concept and would prefer to avoid debt as much as possible.

This is a wealthy individual who collaborates with a business owner, providing funding and support. They demand something in exchange, like 5% of the company's income as equity.

According to the Center for Venture Research, angel investors made $421,675 in average investments in businesses in 2021. About 25% of business entrepreneurs who sought investment from angel investors were successful. Also, you had a better likelihood of success if you worked in a particular sector, particularly in the fintech, healthcare, and software industries.

Commercial Credit Cards

A business credit card is used by more than two-thirds of business owners. Credit cards perform better as a flexible source of small-dollar funding than other types of business loans. For instance, you wouldn't want to use one to purchase real estate, but it might be useful to purchase supplies and more compact equipment for your company. If your employees have access to your company's purchasing power, you can even issue them credit cards so they have a convenient way to pay for items.

Corporate credit cards operate similarly to personal credit cards in that you can make purchases up to your credit limit and then gradually pay them back. You won't pay interest if you pay off all of your charges in full each month, just like with personal credit cards. Some cards even provide worthwhile benefits like cash back or cost-free vacations.


Crowdfunding is a low-risk approach to receiving funds for your business, maybe even before you formally launch it, if you have an idea for a sensational or Pinterest-worthy product.

Crowdfunding is a broad word that refers to getting financial support for your company from a variety of regular individuals, including family, friends, and even strangers. Usually, you don't give a financial return on people's investments when you crowdfund. Instead, you either make a direct request for a gift or provide something your company produces as payment.

You can approach people one by one, but a lot of websites can assist you with crowdsourcing your business (for a cut of the funds, of course). A well-known example is Kickstarter, where you can set up a profile, promote it, raise money, and give "backers" the opportunity to purchase something your company produces. You can offer to return people's donations if you don't meet your crowdfunding target.

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