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Small Business Loans for Women and its Types

Small business loans for women include options such as the SBA 7(a) loan, SBA Express loan, Fora Financial online term loan, Fundbox line of credit, Accion business loans, Bluevine line of credit, OnDeck online term loan, and SBA Microloan.

by Tamilchandran

Updated Dec 02, 2023

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Small Business Loans for Women and its Types

Small Business Loans for Women

Securing a business loan can be a tough task, and women entrepreneurs often encounter even more significant hurdles in the funding process compared to their counterparts. To facilitate access to essential funds for business operation and growth, it's crucial to grasp the various categories of small business loans designed for women and navigate the application process effectively. Additionally, there are unconventional avenues like grants that cater specifically to women-owned enterprises.

Below are some of the top loan choices for women-owned businesses, catering to startups and individuals with bad credit. Additionally, there is information on grants and various programs specifically designed to assist female entrepreneurs in their ventures.


Max Loan Amount

Min. Credit Score

SBA 7(a) loan



Bluevine - Line of credit



SBA Express loan



SBA Microloan



Fundbox - Line of credit



Accion - Business Loans



OnDeck - Online term loan



Fora Financial - Online term loan



SBA 7(a) Loan

The SBA 7(a) loan is a government-backed loan program designed to support women-owned businesses. It offers competitive interest rates and long repayment terms, making it suitable for various business needs.

Bluevine - Line of Credit

Bluevine offers a line of credit tailored for women-owned businesses in need of fast working capital for short-term expenses. 

SBA Express Loan

The SBA Express loan is an option for women-owned businesses looking for low-interest financing. It offers a faster timeline for approval, with decisions often returned within 36 hours. 

SBA Microloan

SBA Microloans are aimed at providing micro-financing support to women-owned businesses. 

Fundbox - Line of Credit

Fundbox offers a business line of credit designed to help women-owned startups manage cash flow effectively. 

Accion - Business Loans

The Accion Opportunity Fund provides business loans for minority women and entrepreneurs facing challenges securing traditional financing due to poor credit, limited credit history, or smaller loan amounts. 

OnDeck - Online Term Loan

OnDeck specializes in fast-term loans for small-business owners, even those with less-than-perfect credit. 

Fora Financial - Online Term Loan

Fora Financial specializes in providing online term loans to businesses, including those with bad credit or young but established enterprises. 

MarketsHost offers a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to Loans, providing you with the insights necessary to embark on a successful financial journey.

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How to Compare Business Loans for Women Effectively?

When comparing business loans for women, a strategic approach is essential. Utilize prequalification processes, assess fund disbursement methods, consider repayment terms, watch for additional fees, and evaluate customer support options for a comprehensive comparison tailored to your business needs.

Prequalify When Possible

Utilize lenders offering a prequalification process, allowing you to determine potential loan amounts, rates, and terms based on your financing needs. This often involves a soft credit inquiry, avoiding any impact on your credit score.

Consider Fund Disbursement Methods

Decide whether you prefer a lump-sum payment or funds on an as-needed basis. Traditional working capital or term loans provide upfront funds, while a business line of credit allows you to access funds as required.

Examine Repayment Terms And Flexibility

Different lenders have varied repayment structures, ranging from monthly to daily or weekly payments. Factor in your preferred repayment schedule when selecting a lender and loan type.

Beware Of Additional Fees

Some lenders offer fee-free business loans, eliminating origination fees, late payment charges, and prepayment penalties. Confirm the fee structure of potential lenders to include these costs in your decision-making process.

Evaluate Customer Support Options

Prioritize lenders with reliable customer support, as it can be crucial if issues arise during the repayment process. Research the available customer service resources and read reviews to ensure a satisfactory experience.

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What are the Types of Small Business Loans for Women?

Small Business Loans come in various forms, and women entrepreneurs have access to a range of financing options to support their business ventures. Here are the most common types of small business loans for women and other business owners:

SBA Loans

SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) loans are available through SBA-backed banks, online lenders, and financial institutions. These loans cater to a wide range of businesses, including women- and minority-owned enterprises. Depending on the specific SBA program, loan amounts can range from $30,000 to $5 million. Interest rates vary based on the loan type and lender.

SBA Microloans

The SBA's Microloan program is designed to assist new businesses, making it an excellent choice for startups. Microloans are smaller than traditional SBA loans, typically capping at $50,000. They are often easier to qualify for, making them suitable for businesses with limited financial records or credit history. Loan terms vary by lender but generally extend up to six years, with interest rates typically ranging between 8% and 13%.

Term Loans

Term loans are traditional loans in which borrowers receive a lump sum of cash upfront. They must repay this amount over a fixed period, usually ranging from three to 24 months. Term loans are available from banks, credit unions, online lenders, and even peer-to-peer lending platforms. They offer flexibility and can be used for various business purposes, such as financing inventory or making large purchases. Loan amounts can go up to approximately $500,000, with APRs starting around 9%.

Lines of Credit

A business line of credit provides a specified amount of money that a business owner can access on an as-needed basis. The borrower can draw funds as required and repay them. Once the draw period ends (usually within up to five years), the repayment phase begins, and the borrower can no longer access the revolving funds.

Borrowing limits typically range from $2,000 to $250,000, with APRs between 10% and 99%. Importantly, interest is charged only on the amount used, not the entire available balance, making it suitable for businesses with fluctuating cash flow.

Asset-based Financing

Asset-based financing allows businesses to secure loans using valuable collateral, such as accounts receivable, machinery, equipment, inventory, or real estate. This type of financing is less risky for lenders because they can reclaim the collateral if the borrower defaults.

As a result, lending qualifications may be less stringent, and interest rates may be more competitive. Popular examples of asset-based financing include invoice factoring (selling outstanding invoices to a factoring company for cash) and financing inventory directly through a vendor.

Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs)

A merchant cash advance provides a lump sum cash payment to business owners in exchange for a portion of their future sales receipts. Unlike traditional loans with fixed monthly payments, MCAs are repaid based on a percentage of the business's daily or weekly sales or through automatic clearing house (ACH) payments.

The repayment amount is usually determined by a factor rate ranging from 1.2 to 1.5. MCAs are often offered by merchant service companies, simplifying the application, funding, and repayment process, making them suitable for businesses with high sales volumes.

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How to Pick a Business Loan for Women?

By considering these factors, you can choose a Business Loan that is right for you and your business. If you need more information, you can check out the resources provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). When picking a business loan for women, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Loan Amount

  • Determine how much money you need to borrow and what you will use it for. This will help you narrow down your options and choose a loan that fits your needs.

Interest Rates

  • Compare interest rates from different lenders to find the best deal. Lower interest rates can save you money in the long run.

Loan Term

  • Consider the length of the loan term and whether it aligns with your business goals. Longer loan terms may have lower monthly payments, but they can also result in higher interest charges.

Collateral Requirements

  • Some loans require collateral, such as property or equipment, to secure the loan. If you don’t have collateral, you may need to look for unsecured loans.

Credit Score

  • Your credit score can affect your ability to get a loan and the interest rate you are offered. Check your credit score before applying for a loan and take steps to improve it if necessary.

Lender Reputation

  • Research the lender’s reputation and read reviews from other borrowers to ensure That you are working with a reputable lender.

Loan Purpose

  • Some loans are designed for specific purposes, such as equipment financing or working capital. Make sure that the loan you choose aligns with your business needs.

Loan Application Process

  • Consider the loan application process and how long it will take to get approved. Some lenders offer fast approval times, while others may take several weeks.

What are the Challenges that Women Face in Business Financing?

Despite the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibiting discrimination based on sex, women still encounter several obstacles when seeking financing for their businesses. The borrowing experiences vary among business owners, but there are common hurdles that women must overcome in their pursuit of funding:


Women's Average Credit Score: While women's average credit score has caught up to men's at 705, they previously had a one-point lower average. However, factors like holding over 58% of student loan debt and earning $0.82 for every dollar earned by men can affect creditworthiness and income, making it harder for women to qualify for loans.


Impact of Industry: The industries where women-owned businesses are more prevalent, such as health, beauty and fitness services, food and restaurant, retail, and business services, can influence lenders' evaluations. Business loan applicants are assessed based on cash flow and other industry-specific factors, impacting financing opportunities, regardless of gender.

Investor Bias

Limited Support from Investors: Beyond traditional bank lending, venture capitalists and financial backers are less likely to support women-owned businesses compared to male-owned competitors. In 2020, only 2.3% of venture capitalist funding went to women-led startups. Unsubstantiated concerns about female founders' ability to manage business alongside traditional roles contribute to this bias, making it challenging for women to secure business financing.

What are the Alternatives to Business Loans for Women?

Exploring funding options beyond traditional loans is crucial for women entrepreneurs. This guide highlights alternative avenues, such as small business grants, angel investors, business credit cards, and crowdfunding, offering diverse opportunities to support and grow women-owned businesses. 

Small Business Grants for Women

Small business grants provide a non-repayable source of funding for women-owned businesses. These grants are offered by various entities, including government agencies and corporate organizations, to support specific types of businesses, including those owned by women.

Unlike traditional loans, grants do not require repayment, making them an attractive option for funding business operations. However, obtaining grants can be highly competitive, and the application process may involve more rigorous requirements.

Angel Investors for Female Entrepreneurs

Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who invest in businesses in exchange for an equity stake. For women entrepreneurs seeking to avoid debt, finding an angel investor can be a viable option. These investors provide funding and often offer valuable support to the business.

The funding received from angel investors can help propel the growth of the business. However, it is essential to carefully consider the terms of the investment and the equity stake being offered.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards offer a flexible source of small-dollar funds for women-owned businesses. They can be used for purchasing materials, equipment, and other business expenses. Business owners can set individual credit limits for employees with purchasing privileges, making it a convenient way to manage expenses. Paying off the credit card charges in full each month can help avoid interest charges, and some cards even offer valuable rewards like cash back or travel benefits.


Crowdfunding is a creative way to raise funds for your business from a wide range of people, including friends, family, and strangers. It involves requesting financial support for your business idea or project in exchange for a product or service you offer. Crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, enable entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and receive financial backing from interested individuals. If the crowdfunding goal is not met, some platforms allow for refunds to contributors.

Small Business Loans for Women-FAQs

1. Are there specific small business loans designed for women entrepreneurs?

 Yes, there are specialized small business loan programs aimed at supporting women-owned businesses. 

2.  What are the benefits of applying for small business loans designed for women?

Small business loans designed for women often come with more favorable terms and conditions, including lower interest rates and flexible repayment options. 

3.  Do I need a perfect credit score to qualify for a small business loan as a woman?

While a good credit score is beneficial, it may not be the only factor considered by lenders. 

4. Can I use a small business loan to start a new business?

 Yes, small business loans can be used to start a new business. 

5. Are there grants available for women-owned businesses, or are loans the only option?

Yes, besides small business loans, there are also small business grants available for women entrepreneurs. 

Disclaimer : The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.