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Small Business Grants for Women in Illinois

Finding business grants for women in Illinois can be easier than you think.

Yes, there are folks out there willing to help you fund your business dreams. You just need to know where to look.

Fortunately, you’ve landed on a site that has been helping women just like you since 1998. Yes, you’re still the one who has to put in the time and effort to get the money for your business. But if you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing, we’d love to help you kick off your search from grant money and loans.

For starters, yes, WomensNet offers grants to women in Illinois (as well as all across the United States). It’s our Amber Grant for Women. Our judges award this $10,000 grant once a month, so now is a great time to apply. Even better — if you win this month’s $10,000 Amber Grant for Women, you’re automatically eligible for our year-end $25,000 Amber Grant for Women.  So by the end of the year, you could have $35,000 in total grant money for your business.

Also, take just a couple minutes to check out more resources below. There are some wonderful and helpful people in Illinois who are willing mentor and partner with women business owners like you!

Resources for businesswomen in Illinois:

Central Illinois SCORE
121 N Main St, Bloomington, IL 61701-7620
Ph: (309) 664-0549

Chicago SCORE
500 W. Madison Street Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60661
Ph: (312) 353-7724

Decatur SCORE
1184 W. Main Street Milliken University, Decatur, IL 62522
Ph: (217) 424-6297

Fox Valley SCORE
1444 N. Farnsworth, Aurora, IL 60505
Ph: (630) 375-6026

Peoria SCORE
100 SW Water St., Peoria, IL 61602
Ph: (309) 676-0755

Quad Cities SCORE
622 19th Street, Moline, IL 61265
Ph: (309) 797-0082

Quincy Tri-State SCORE
300 Civic Center Plaza Chamber of Commerce, Quincy, IL 62301
Ph: (217) 222-8093

SCORE Springfield Illinois Chapter
3330 Ginger Creek Drive Suite B South, Springfield, IL 62711
Ph: (217) 793-5020 (111)

Southwest Illinois SCORE
5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, IL 62035
Ph: (618) 467-2280

Illinois Federation of Business Women’s Clubs
3309 Robbins Road # 366, Springfield, IL, 62704

Illinois National Association of Women Business Owners

P.O. Box 9404, Peoria, IL 61612-9404
PHONE: (309) 692-2225

Small Business Development Center of Illinois
500 E. Monroe, Springfield, IL 62701
PHONE: (217) 524-5700

What is an Amber Grant?

WomensNet launched the Amber Grant in 1998 to honor the memory of an ambitious young woman who died at the age of 19, before she could realize her entrepreneurial aspirations. Today, these grants help women like you fulfill the dreams that Amber could not.

How Does It Work?

Every month, WomensNet judges award one or more Amber Grants of $10,000 each. Then, at the end of the year, one of those grant recipients is selected to receive the $25,000 Amber Grant.

How Do I Apply?

By telling us your story. There are no lengthy, complicated documents to complete; just answer a few questions about your business. But hurry—applications are due by the end of the month for the next $10,000 Amber Grant.

Apply Now

Watch videos from our Past Grant Winners

Not Sure Where to Start?

You’re in luck. We’ve done hours of research and compiled a list of the 16 best small business grants available for women today—and we’d love to share it with you!

Enter your email to receive a FREE copy of our special report,
“16 Terrific Grants for Women Business Owners.”

Six steps you should take when looking for a business grant:

1. Analyze your organization's needs. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the:
  • Problem or need you want to address
  • Audience that will benefit from your product or service
  • Kind and amount of support you need
  • Resources and commitment your group brings to the project
  • Potential and prospective partners in the community
2. Research various types of foundations. Learn the operational differences between:
  • Corporate foundations
  • Civic foundations
  • Private foundations
3. Look for funding matches. Identify funders who:
  • Are able and likely to fund projects in your geographic area
  • Share a similar core mission or goals
  • Have already supported similar ventures or projects
4. Compile a list of prospects. Group them in two ways:
  • By Geographic Location (city, state, region)
  • By field of interest or program subject
5. Review and refine your list. Eliminate prospects that DON’T FUND:
  • In your state
  • Your type of organization
  • Your subject
  • The type of support you need
  • Your size project
6. Select the most appropriate funding prospects. Research them in detail:
  • Contact them directly to request annual reports and other publications
  • Search print and online media to identify projects that received grants in the past
  • Ask former grant recipients for advice and why they felt they were successful over other applicants
WNN Blog Get application & business ideas on the WomensNet blog »

What people are saying about WomensNet


“You have to be in it to win it...seize the opportunity and apply.”

Nerd Wallet

“The Foundation awards $10,000 to a different women-owned business every month. At the end of each year, one of the 12 grant winners is awarded an additional $25,000.”


“Launched 20 years ago this grant honors the memory of a young woman who wanted to be an entrepreneur but died at age 19 before she could achieve her goal.”


“The Amber Grant Foundation was launched in 1998 to honor the memory of a young woman. The grant was formed to help women entrepreneurs reach their goals when Amber could not.”

Essence Magazine

“This organization offers monthly grants of up to $10,000 to support female entrepreneurs starting businesses. Those who qualify for these grants are also in the running for a yearly $25,000 grant.”