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Small Business Loans

Small Business Loans for Women

Women are statistically less likely to apply for business credit or be approved for it when they do attempt to secure loans. 

Perceived creditworthiness, lack of sufficient collateral, and lower revenues are all factors that may prevent women business owners from getting the funding they need. The hurdles are often higher for minority women in business. 

Small business loans for women help to level the financing playing field by speaking to their unique needs. Where can you find these loans? And what’s required to qualify? Read on to learn how some top lenders compare and what women entrepreneurs should consider when choosing a financing option. 

Best small business loans for women

We’ve found the five best small business loans to support women-owned businesses’ growth, sustainability, and profitability. 

Click a lender’s name in the table below to see more about its loan options for women entrepreneurs—or keep reading to find out about all five.

LenderLoan detailsMinimum credit score
BluevineUser-friendly and flexible financing625
OnDeckShort-term loans and streamlined application625
KapitusCompetitive rates and terms625
Funding CircleTailored loans, competitive rates, and a focus on long-term solutions660
New SilverQuick funding and competitive rates650

Bluevine: Best line of credit

  • Excellent customer service
  • Flexible payback options
  • Easy-to-use online platform

Bluevine provides a revolving line of credit that allows women entrepreneurs to meet their short-term financing needs. In addition to access to quick funds, it offers outstanding service and a flexible repayment plan.

OnDeck: Best for fast funding

  • Easy application process
  • Speedy approval times
  • Competitive interest rates

OnDeck’s streamlined application process and fast loan approvals make it the best option for businesses that need an immediate influx of cash.

Kapitus: Best for customization

  • Wide range of loan types
  • Customizable loan terms
  • Excellent customer reviews

Kapitus offers an easy-to-use platform with many financing options. Customizable loan terms make it a preferred option for businesswomen who value flexibility and want tailor-made solutions.

Funding Circle: Best government-backed small business loans for women

  • Variety of loan types, including SBA loans
  • Low-interest rates
  • Experienced lender

Funding Circle serves women entrepreneurs with government-backed loans. Its reputation for low interest rates and considerable experience make it an excellent choice for women seeking funding backed by the Small Business Administration.

New Silver: Best for fix-and-flip loans

  • Variety of borrower incentives
  • Fast application process
  • Transparent terms

New Silver offers a multitude of borrower perks, including rewards and exclusive benefits. Its seamless application process and transparent terms make it a solid option for women entrepreneurs who want to flip houses.

Ask the expert

Erin Kinkade


Various loans provide benefits for different types of businesses and personal preferences. Your business plan/purpose should be a starting point to identify which lender will be the best fit. Secondly, the rates, terms, and quality of customer service should be considered, along with the lender’s reputation.

What you need to know about small business loans for women-owned businesses

Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are one of the most popular financing options for businesses that need funding. The SBA loan program guarantees a variety of loans issued through its network of partner lenders:

  • 7(a) loans
  • 504 loans
  • Microloans
  • SBA Express loans

SBA loan programs

The 7(a) loan is the SBA’s primary lending tool, providing eligible businesses with up to $5 million in funding. The 504 loan program also offers up to $5 million in funding to acquire equipment. With the SBA Express loan program, businesses can get access to a $500,000 revolving line of credit. 

While these loan programs have generous borrowing limits, qualifying can be challenging. Businesses must meet certain requirements concerning their size and industry, and creditworthiness is also a factor. Women business owners might find it easier to get approved for microloans instead. 

Microloans offer up to $50,000 in funding to smaller businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers. These loans can be used for almost anything, excluding debt refinancing or the purchase of real estate. Requirements usually include creditworthiness and collateral, as well as a personal guarantee. 

How to get an SBA loan

To qualify for any SBA loan program, you’ll first need to find an approved lender to work with. The SBA doesn’t issue loans directly; instead, it guarantees loans made through its partner lenders. 

This is where women business owners may need to spend some time researching their options carefully. Individual lenders can determine qualification requirements for things like:

  • Minimum credit scores
  • Minimum time in business
  • Minimum annual revenues
  • Collateral 
  • Personal guarantee

Potential borrowers also need to be able to meet the SBA’s basic requirements for a loan. For example, to get a 7(a) loan you must:

  • Be an operating business and operate for profit
  • Be located in the U.S.
  • Meet the definition of a small business using SBA size requirements (suggest adding a link to the size requirements)
  • Not be a type of ineligible business (suggest adding a link to the ineligible businesses or listing them)
  • Be creditworthy and able to prove you can repay the loan

There’s one more key consideration: you must be able to show that you haven’t been able to get a loan that meets your needs from other lenders. 

Are SBA loans a good choice for women-owned businesses?

SBA loans can be attractive for women business owners who have been turned down for funding elsewhere

The 7(a) loan program offers generous lending limits for women who need it, while the microloan program can help to meet smaller financial needs. SBA loans can also offer lower fixed rates than other business loans. 

However, getting an SBA loan isn’t always guaranteed. Individual lenders may have stringent approval requirements. Women with bad credit may find it difficult to get a 7(a) loan, though a microloan could still be within reach, depending on the lender. 

However, a microloan may not be sufficient for women who need more than $50,000 in capital. 

Can you get small business loans for minority women?

Minority women can face even greater challenges in qualifying for small business loans. Limited access to collateral, lower levels of wealth, and fewer banking relationships can all play a part. 

These and other factors contribute to higher denial rates for loan applications submitted by minority business owners. 

Minority women who are looking for loan funding may find help through any of the following:

  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs provide funding to loan programs that aid small businesses in local communities, including minority-owned businesses. 
  • U.S. Bank Business Diversity Lending Program. U.S. Bank offers flexible business loans of up to $2.5 million to minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
  • Business Consortium Fund. The Business Consortium Fund offers loans to underserved minority-owned businesses. Businesses must be certified as minority-owned to qualify.
  • Accompany Capital. Accompany Capital extends a variety of loans to minority-owned businesses located within the NYC metro area. 

Ask the expert

Erin Kinkade


Cultivate an advisory board (ideally volunteers, with potential future income if the business succeeds) of friends, family members, and those in the community who have experience and a passion to help women who own their own business succeed. In my experience, it is critical to have a well-prepared business plan prepared and identification of a business attorney and CPA to engage with.

How to get a small business loan

Getting a small business loan isn’t always an easy process. If you’re planning to apply for a loan, here’s what you can expect. 

  1. Choose a lender. You’ll first need to decide on a lender. Comparing loan terms, interest rates, fees, and minimum qualification requirements can help you choose the right one.
  2. Organize your documents. There are certain documents you may need to apply for a small business loan, including copies of your tax forms, bank statements, articles of organization or incorporation, a copy of your business plan, a profit and loss statement, and cash flow statements. 
  3. Complete the application. You’ll need to fill out all the required information on the application, which can include questions about your business type and structure, your annual revenues and operating expenses, and your reasons for seeking a loan. 
  4. Wait for approval. If approved, the lender will tell you the next steps. That may include providing details about your collateral assets and/or signing a personal guarantee. You’ll also need to sign the final loan paperwork to receive funding. 

What if you’re denied a small business loan?

Why do small business loan applications get rejected? Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Not enough time in business
  • Insufficient annual review
  • Poor cash flow
  • Too much debt
  • Low credit scores
  • Lack of collateral
  • Lack of supporting documentation
  • Incomplete or inaccurate information on the loan application

Some of these issues, such as a shorter time in business, may be outside your control. 

However, you can take steps to improve your credit score or tighten up your cash flow to make your business more attractive on paper. Filling out the application completely and attaching all required paperwork can also help to avoid missteps. 

Alternatives to small business loans for women

Small business loans aren’t the only way to meet funding needs. Women business owners may also consider the following. 

Funding typeBest for …
Personal loansFunding small business needs up to $100,000
Personal line of creditBusiness owners who are unsure how much capital they’ll need
Peer-to-peer lendingWomen business owners with less-than-perfect credit
Business credit cardsBusinesses who are looking for a flexible way to cover expenses, while potentially earning rewards
Friends and familyBusiness owners who have a support network of people who are willing to help and are confident they’ll be able to repay what they borrow
Angel investors or venture capitalWomen who require larger amounts of capital and are comfortable exchanging an ownership share in their business for funding
Women-owned business grantsWomen who want to fund their businesses without creating debt