Best Small Business Loans for Women in 2022

Are you looking for the best small business loans for women?

We’ve reviewed the best lenders for female entrepreneurs in 2022, and we can help you decide which lender is the right choice for your company.

Are you a female entrepreneur? Check out our comprehensive guides and resources for women in business!

Top Small Business Loans for Women

We reviewed and ranked the top small business loans for women-owned businesses. We set out to find the best one by thoroughly researching five of the most popular lenders: Accion, Grameen America, Empire State Development, Union Bank, and Kabbage. Knowing about the top small business loan for women makes it possible to find the best financing options for your business.

Our Approach:

Choosing the best business loan for women-owned businesses comes down to three things:

  1. Needs of your business
  2. Can you afford the loan
  3. Whether or not your business meets the loan requirements

In this business loan review, we’ll look at some of the top small business loans for women-owned businesses and share what makes them the right choice. We’ll explore the financing details of each loan, along with pros, cons, and more. By the time you finish reading this review, you’ll know which business loan is best for your business.

Our Top 5 Business Lenders for Women:

  1. Accion offers the best overall business loans for women because they offer low rates and make it easy to qualify for financing.
  2. Grameen is the best microlender for women because they mainly serve women-owned businesses and work hard to help them build business credit.
  3. Empire State Development offers the best business loans for women-owned businesses in New York because they have programs that are funded by the state of New York, designed specifically for women entrepreneurs.
  4. Union Bank is the best business loan for women-owned businesses in underserved communities because they offer a special purpose credit program under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
  5. Kabbage is the best business loan for women-owned businesses needing multiple loans because Kabbage offers a range of different loan products for women.

Best Overall Business Loans for Women: Accion

Accion is a lender we think you should check out. They are a good fit for women-owned businesses that need less than $50,000 in capital and that need a great rate to afford the loan. Accion started over 50 years ago and has grown into a reputable nonprofit lender that lends money to many types of businesses, like women-owned businesses.

Here are some of the businesses Accion lends money to:

Here is a quick summary of Accion business loans:

  • Term Loans
    • Lowest rate: 8.99%
    • Loan sizes up to: $50,000

Accion Business Loan Qualifications:

  • 576+ FICO score
  • You will need to have an alternative source of income for repaying the loan
  • You will need to have all former personal debts paid off before you’ll qualify for a business loan with Accion
  • Accion typically lends smaller amounts of money than traditional lenders, but how much they lend to you will depend solely on your individual circumstances

Pros

  • Money can be used for any business expense
  • Free up your cash
  • Transparent fees
  • Easy approval in 5-10 days
  • Don’t need collateral.
  • Just 576+ FICO to qualify for a term loan

Cons

  • Need to be in business two years to qualify for $50,000
  • No bankruptcy for 24 months
  • No more than $3,000 in past due debts
  • Must demonstrate you can repay loan
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Small Business Loans for Women: Accion

Read our full review of Accion Small Business Loans.

Best Microlender for Women-Owned Businesses: Grameen America

Grameen offers a unique approach to lending catering to women-owned businesses in underserved communities where women tend to have few funding options. The way Grameen America works is by offering microloans. These loans are small loans, above $2,000 and not exceeding $15,000, which are designed to help women establish free business savings accounts. To achieve this, Grameen America reports to Experian and Equifax credit unions.

Here is a quick summary of Grameen America business loans:

  • Microloan
    • Lowest rate: undisclosed
    • Loan sizes up to: $15,000

Grameen America Business Loan Qualifications

To qualify for Grameen America’s microloans you’ll need to be accepted into their program. This will require you to undergo some training, set up a business savings account, and attend some counseling before you are eligible for a business loan.

Pros

  • Free training and support
  • Money can be used for any business expense
  • Affordable microloans
  • Build business credit
  • Learn about building business credit
  • Gain support from other women entrepreneurs
  • Free business savings account
  • Microloans reported to Experian and Equifax.

Cons

  • Requires time
  • Smaller loans

Best NY Lender for Women: Empire State Development (ESD)

Empire State Development (ESD) is the best lender for women-owned businesses operating out of the State of New York. ESD offers programs designed specifically for women- and minority-owned businesses that need capital to finance a growth strategy. The best part about this program is that these loans are backed by the State of New York, making qualifying for these funds easier for women entrepreneurs.

ESD loans are useful because they are easy to qualify for, offer flexible terms, and are useful for taking care of women-owned business needs.

Here is a quick summary of Empire State Development business loans:

  • ESD Loan
    • Lowest rate: Undisclosed
    • Loan sizes up to: Undisclosed

Empire State Development Business Loan Qualifications:

  • Certified minority and or women-owned business enterprises

Pros

  • Guaranteed loans
  • Loans designed to help women succeed in business
  • Backed by the State of New York
  • Specifically designed to help empower women and minorities.
  • Easy to qualify for funding

Cons

  • Must operate a business in New York
  • Cannot be used for educational institutions
  • Cannot be used for hospitals
  • Cannot be used for residential care facilities

Best Loans for Underserved Women-Owned Businesses: Union Bank

Union Bank offers the best loans for women-owned businesses operating in underserved communities. Union Bank offers financing through a special purpose credit program under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This program is designed to help women-owned businesses operating in underserved areas get the financing they need to create a growth strategy for their business.

Here is a quick summary of Union Bank business loans:

  • Traditional Term Loan and Line of Credit
    • Lowest rate: undisclosed
    • Loan sizes up to: $1 million

Union Bank Business Loan Qualifications:

  • Must have a Union Bank business bank account
  • Must visit a branch to determine if you qualify
  • 51% of the business must be female owned

Pros

  • Work one-on-one with the lender to get approved
  • Free up your cash
  • Financing that grows with your business
  • Easier to qualify for if you’re a woman
  • Borrow large sums of money
  • Secured and unsecured options
  • 18-84 month repayment terms

Cons

  • Rates are determined on a case-by-case basis
  • Must deal directly with the lender before applying for financing
  • Longer process than online lenders for amounts over $250,000

Best for Women-Owned Businesses Needing Multiple Loans: Kabbage

Kabbage helps women-owned businesses get the funding they need by offering multiple loans that serve a variety of purposes. Kabbage sells term loans to women entrepreneurs with low credit scores needing financing for different reasons. Kabbage has been in business over 11 years, lending out over $6.5 billion.

Kabbage offers term loans customized for different business financing needs. They work with women-owned businesses to ensure they are able to fund their businesses, regardless of the need.

Here is a quick summary of Kabbage business loans:

  • Term Loan
    • Interest rates: 24%
    • Average loan size: $250,000

Kabbage Business Loan Qualifications:

  • Low credit score approval
  • Money can be used for most business expenses.
  • Free up your cash
  • Transparent fees
  • Easy approval
  • Don’t need collateral.
  • Quick application process

Pros

  • Low credit score approval
  • Money can be any business expense
  • Free up your cash
  • Transparent fees
  • Easy, fast approval
  • Don’t need collateral
  • Average loan is $96,000
  • Get better rates as lenders are competing for your business
  • Great customer support

Cons

  • Need to be in business 12 months
  • Poor fee structure (no benefit to paying the loan off early)
  • High interest rates compared to other lenders.
  • Short term financing only — you must repay in 18 months or less.
  • Poor customer service
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Small Business Loans for Women: Kabbage

Read our full review of Kabbage Small Business Loans.

Final Thoughts on Small Business Loans for Women

Women-owned businesses often discover financing to be a hardship given most lenders require a high credit rating and established business credit. These lenders we’ve presented are the best business loans for women entrepreneurs because they have a proven track record of helping underserved markets and specifically women-owned businesses.

The best on this list is Accion, given they don’t require collateral and can get you funded up to $50,000 with relatively low rates in just a few days. Their loans are also easy to qualify for because you only need a 575 credit score. Accion helps women-owned businesses get funded fast with far fewer hassles and more favorable terms than most other lenders.

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