Check Out These Six Grants for Fashion Startups!
You’re finally launching your fashion line! (All you need now is the money to finance it!) There are several ways to fund your fashion business—crowdfunding, factoring, loans; but grants are a method that designers often overlook. People see grants as free money but they’re not “free” by any means necessary! The application requirements vary by grant, but it’s usually a long, arduous process. Grants vary by geography, age of business, revenue amount, and whether your business is for-profit or non-profit. While there aren’t many specific grants for fashion startups, here is a list of grants that embrace innovative women-led, minority-owned, or early-stage businesses!
For Women-Run Businesses
Tory Birch Foundation Fellows Program
The Tory Birch Foundation, launched by designer and philanthropist Tory Burch, was created with women and mothers in mind. Tory often remembers the obstacles she faced launching her business back in 2004. In an aim to provide women with the network, business acumen, and financing that she lacked--the foundation’s Fellows Program provides access to capital, entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and networking opportunities. Winners receive a $5000 grant, a 4-day trip to the Tory Burch office, and an opportunity to pitch industry influencers.
The program is catered towards women entrepreneurs with a sustainable business of at least two years. The business owner should also have a satisfactory credit rating and a passion for growth.
For Women-Run Businesses in a Creative Field
The Girlboss Foundation’s Small Business Grant for Women
Created by Nastygal founder, Sophia Amoruso, the Girlboss Foundation awards biannual $15,000 grants to two female-identifying applicants per year. Along with the $15,000 prize, winners receive press opportunities and exposure through the Girlboss platform.
Female entrepreneurs who own a business with design, fashion, music, or the arts!
FAW Pro-Tip- Network, network, network. Any expert fundraiser will tell you to NEVER apply for a grant before you’ve made at least one contact at the foundation. When you call the funder, you can ask specific questions and assess whether your application is competitive or not.
For Women-Run (Jewelry) Businesses
The Halstead Grant
Any jewelry designers out there?
The Halstead Grant is just for you! Each year one female recipient is awarded a $7,500 cash prize along with $1,000 towards jewelry supplies and exposure within the jewelry industry!
Female, silver jewelry designers who are ready to take their business to the next level!
For (Socio-Environmental) Women-Run Businesses
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
Is your line socially or environmentally conscious? Then you may have a shot at winning this high-paying award! In this globally represented contest, three finalists are selected from seven different global regions. Grants are awarded to all 21 finalists-- seven finalists win $100,000 while the other finalists each win $30,000. Finalists also receive one-on-one business/financial mentoring, networking opportunities, and media coverage leading up to the award show. The grants are open to any industry and any country!
To qualify, your business must be between 1-5 years old and generating revenue, but it doesn’t have to be profitable yet. The business should also meet at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals listed here.
For Socio-Environmental Businesses (Men and Women)
Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory and Grant Program
Are you passionate about changing the fashion industry? If you have an inventive, industry-shifting idea up your sleeve then, the Levi Straus & Co. Collaboratory and Grant Program may be right for you! This a fellowship program where 10-12 recipients collaborate in a three-day workshop weekend at Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab. There they'll brainstorm solutions within a given socio-environmental topic-- this year’s class is focusing on climate impact. After completing the lab participants can apply for the $50,000 prize!
The Collaboratory seeks out “curious, driven, and value-based” leaders who are open to new ideas and collaboration. Leaders must have inventive, tangible solutions in one of the four areas: raw materials, product design, manufacturing, or consumer use.
For Aspiring Business Owners (Men and Women)
Idea Café Grant
This is an awesome micro-loan opportunity open to current aspiring business owners with bright ideas! The application is free and awards $1000 to one winner each year.
Many past winners have been women, even though men are encouraged to apply as well. Since the qualification process is so simple, expect a lot of competition!
Which of these six grants for fashion startups resonates most with you? Comment below! And if you're looking for additional funding options, check out how to run a successful Crowdfunding campaign!
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