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32 Business Grants for Black Women, Plus Free Resources
Grant funding can help Black women entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Here are some options.
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
⏰ Estimated read time: 16 minutes
Business grants offer free money that can help Black women grow or even launch a business. Although that may sound appealing, small-business grant contests tend to have short application windows and lots of competition for relatively small amounts of funding, so it’s important to tap other resources, too.
In this list, we’ve rounded up lots of business grants open to Black women. Some are open to other entrepreneurs, too. If a program is currently closed to applications, take note of requirements and sign up to be notified when it reopens. You’ll also find organizations that help Black women business owners win government contracts, pitch investors or find other funding opportunities.
We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.
Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.
Business grants for Black women
1. HerRise Micro-Grant
The HerRise Micro-Grant program awards $1,000 per month to a small business owned by a woman of color. The grant is a program of the Yva Jourdan Foundation, the nonprofit arm of HerSuiteSpot. Applications close on the last day of each month. To qualify, your business must be at least 51% owned by a woman of color.
2. Wish Local Empowerment Program Grant
The Wish Local Empowerment Program offers grants between $500 and $2,000 to Black business owners. In order to be eligible, applicants must own a brick-and-mortar storefront in the U.S., must be over the age of 18, must have 20 or fewer employees and must have an average annual revenue of less than $1 million.
3. Fearless Strivers Grant Initiative
The Fearless Strivers Grant Initiative, administered in collaboration with Mastercard, awards $20,000 grants to four businesses nationwide. In addition to funding, winners get one-on-one mentorship and access to digital tools. Applicants must be Black women, U.S. citizens and over the age of 18. The 2023 cycle runs from August 1 to September 30.
Black or brown women business owners in select cities are eligible to apply for this pitch competition which will award a $10,000 grant to first-place winners, $6,000 to second-place winners and $2,000 to third-place winners. BVG Pitch is currently accepting applications in the following cities: Los Angeles (applications close on September 22), Austin (applications close on September 29) and New York City (applications close on November 10).
5. Corporate Counsel Women of Color Grants
The Corporate Counsel Women of Color awards five $5,000 grants to women of color business owners. To be eligible, your business must have been established as of January 1, 2020, it must be a U.S.-based, for-profit business and it must have generated at least $25,000 in revenue since its inception. Submissions close on September 30, 2023.
6. DigitalUndivided's Breakthrough Program
Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase's Advancing Black Pathways, DigitalUndivided's Breakthrough Program is open to Black and/or Latina women. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, your business must have been registered for at least one year and generate a minimum of $50,000 in annual revenue. Selected winners will receive a $5,000 grant, a business mentor and access to DigitalUndivided's community of Black and Latina women entrepreneurs.
7. Enthuse Foundation Women Founder's Pitch Competition
The Enthuse Foundation's annual pitch competition awards $10,000 to one grand-prize winner, while the runner-up will get a $5,000 grant. To be eligible for this year's competition, your business must be at least 51% woman-owned; in the food, beverage or consumer package goods industry and your company's lifetime revenue may not exceed $500,000. The 2023 program is accepting applications from August 21 - October 2.
8. The Amber Grant Foundation
The Amber Grant Foundation awards monthly grants of up to $10,000 to help female entrepreneurs launch their businesses. If you’re awarded one of the $10,000 monthly grants, you will also be in the running to win the Amber Grant’s yearly $25,000 grant.
To apply, you’ll fill out a short form on the Amber Grant website, where you’ll tell the organization about your business idea and how you would spend your grant funds. Note that you’ll have to pay a $15 application fee.
Run by the Mama Ladder, the High Five Grant for Moms is an international grant competition open to business owners who are mothers — including first-time expecting mothers, stepmothers and foster moms. Applications are accepted from September 1 - 30, 2023. One grand-prize winner will receive $10,000, second place will get a $5,000 grant and third place will receive $2,500. Five honorable mentions will receive $1,000 each. Winners are announced on October 28.
10. Kitty Fund Grant Program
Another opportunity for business owners who are mothers is the Kitty Fund Grant Program. The Kitty Fund has awarded grants for the past four years. To be eligible to apply, your business must employ between two and 50 people and must generate less than $5 million in revenue. The next cycle of the Kitty Fund opens in March 2024. Pre-registration is open now.
11. Female Founder Collective x FounderMade Innovation Giveaway
This $10,000 grant competition is open to businesses that are at least 51% women-owned and are in the food and beverage, wellness or beauty industries. Additionally, businesses must be direct-to-consumer and product-based. On top of the cash prize, the winner will receive a one-year membership to Female Founder Collective's 10th House Community and a free booth at the FounderMade Innovation Show West on October 19, 2023. Applications close on September 12.
12. StartHER Grant
Run by Texas Woman's University's Center for Women Entrepreneurs, the StartHER Grant program will award $5,000 grants to 25 Texas-based women business owners. The next cycle runs from September 22 - October 20, 2023.
13. Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant
Twenty-five Southern California-based businesses will be awarded grants through the Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant. This grant program is open to business owners who identify as one or more of the following: women, Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ+ or a veteran. You must employ at least two people and generate an annual revenue between $100,000 and $3 million. Pre-registration of the 2023 cycle is open now, and applications will be accepted starting on October 17.
Each month, a small business owner is awarded a $500 micro-grant and a free 30-minute business coaching session from the Freed Fellowship. Monthly winners will also be eligible for a year-end $2,500 grant.
15. NASE Growth Grants
Founded in 1981, the National Association for the Self-Employed, (NASE) is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and microbusinesses. Its grant program awards NASE members up to $4,000 to finance a particular need, whether that’s buying equipment, hiring staff, launching a marketing plan or making another approved purchase.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year, and the organization awards one grant per month. To apply for an NASE Growth Grant, you’ll need to join NASE and remain in good standing with the organization for at least three months.
16. Coalition to Back Black Businesses
The Coalition to Back Black Business offers $5,000 grants to Black-owned businesses. After a period of mentorship and coaching, select grantees receive an additional $25,000. To qualify, businesses must have three to 20 employees and be in an “economically vulnerable community,” as determined by the Distressed Communities Index. Applications for the 2023-2024 cycle open in the fall.
17. REI Navigate Program
The REI Navigate Program is a four-month entrepreneurial program open to outdoor-related businesses with at least one founder who identifies as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American or Pacific Islander. In addition to mentorship and programming, participants receive a $25,000 grant. The 2023 cohort was announced on June 1. Applications for the 2024 program are expected to open early next year.
18. NAACP & Leslie's Inc. Certification Boost Grant
Food businesses that are at least 51% owned by a person of color and/or a woman and/or a person with a disability may be eligible to apply for this grant program, which is a partnership between NAACP and Leslie's Inc. Applications for this $5,000 grant were accepted until September 8, 2023. Your business must be headquartered in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia or Texas.
19. Black Women in Food Grant
Presented by the Black Women in Food Initiative and funded by UberEats and EatOkra, the Black Women in Food Grant awards $10,000 to 10 food businesses. To be eligible, your business must be at least 51% Black woman owned and must be on UberEats. Applications closed on September 8, 2023.
20. Publish Her Business Impact Grant
Currently in its sixth year, the Business Impact Grant from Publish Her awards a $5,000 grant to a woman of color business owner. To qualify, you must be over 21 and a U.S. resident. Your business must have been in operation for at least one year, be 100% woman owned and generate at least $50,000 in revenue. Applications closed on August 31, 2023. The public will vote on a winner from a pool of 10 finalists and the grand-prize winner will be announced in October.
21. She's Connected by AT&T
Now in its third year, the She's Connected by AT&T grant awards $20,000 to one grand prize winner. To be eligible, your business must be woman-owned, have no more than 50 employees and be registered in the U.S. Applications closed on August 31, 2023.
22. Pepper Startup Grant
This grant program is open to Black women or nonbinary business owners. Other eligibility requirements for this $5,000 grant include that you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. resident, plus your business must not have raised more than $500,000 in equity financing. Applications for the 2023 cycle of the Pepper Startup Grant closed on August 23.
23. The Startup Collective by Aveeno Pitch Competition
This competition, which is open to Black female entrepreneurs in the Black haircare or skincare space, awards a grant of up to $100,000. To apply, you must submit a short video about yourself and your business, as well as a brief essay outlining your business strategy. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed on August 13, 2023.
24. The Transform Business Grant
The Transform Business Grant is open to business owners from systemically oppressed backgrounds. BIPOC individuals, individuals with disabilities, queer, trans and nonbinary individuals, as well as formerly incarcerated individuals are all eligible to apply. Applications for the most recent cycles ran from February 20-March 20, 2023 and July 20 - August 20, 2023. Each grantee receives a $1,000 microgrant.
25. National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
Founded in 2017, the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge, presented by the National Black MBA Association, invites 10 finalists to compete in a pitch challenge each year. One grand-prize winner will be awarded $50,000 in non-dilutive funding, the second-place winner will receive $10,000 and the third-place winner will get $7,500. One business owner will receive the People's Choice $1,000 award. To be eligible, businesses must have at least one Black founder who has "equal stake" in the company and one member of the pitch challenge team must belong to the National Black MBA Association. Annual membership fees range from $15 to $200, depending on eligibility. Applications for the 2023 competition were accepted from June 19 - August 4, 2023. The competition takes place from September 14-15.
26. National Black Business Pitch
The National Black Business Pitch competition awards grants up to $10,000 to three businesses. To be eligible, your business must be Black-owned and U.S. based. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed on June 1.
27. Power Forward Small Business Grant
A collaboration between VistaPrint, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and the NAACP, the Power Forward Small Business Grant awards $500,000 in grants to Black-owned small businesses in the New England area. To be eligible, your business must employ between two and 25 people (including the owner), and be located in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont or select parts of Connecticut. Each winner will receive a $25,000 grant. Applications for the latest cycle closed on June 30, 2023.
28. Tory Burch Foundation's Women of Color Grant Program
A partnership between the Fearless Foundation and the Tory Burch Foundation, the Women of Color Grant Program awards $10,000 - $20,000 grants to up to 75 businesses that are owned by women of color. To be eligible, businesses must be 51% woman of color-owned. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed on April 28. Winners were selected in July 2023.
29. Cartier Women's Initiative's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award from Cartier Women's Initiative is open to entrepreneurs whose business focuses on closing access and opportunity gaps for underserved communities. To be eligible, your business must be a for-profit operation that was incorporated at least six years ago and has not raised more than $2 million in dilutive funding. The next Awards ceremony will be held in May 2024. The first-place winners receive $100,000 grants, second-place winners get $60,000 grants and third-place winners get $30,000 grants.
30. Comcast RISE Investment Fund
The Comcast RISE grant targets different cities with each funding cycle. In each new city, the program awards $5,000 grants. To apply, you must have been in business for at least three years and have 100 or fewer employees. This grant program was originally open exclusively to people of color and women, but has since expanded to all small business owners. The latest grant cycle ran from June 1 - 30, 2023.
31. The Black Ambition Prize
The Black Ambition Prize is open to Black and Hispanic individuals in the process of creating early-stage ventures in one of the following categories: consumer products and services; healthcare; media and entertainment; technology; and web 3.0. One grand prize winner is awarded $1,000,000, and 15 additional teams win between $15,000 and $250,000. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed on May 8.
32. Invest in Progress Grant
A partnership between the BOSS Network and Sage, the Invest in Progress Grant program awards $10,000 grants to up 25 Black female entrepreneurs. To be eligible, businesses must be owned by a Black woman, have a demonstrated need for funds and be a U.S.-based, for-profit business. The 2023 cycle closed to applications on February 24.
Free resources for Black women entrepreneurs
IFundWomen, or IFW, helps female and female-identifying founders of any race or ethnicity find capital through crowdfunding and assists with coaching, networking and grant opportunities. The organization's grants hub aggregates grant opportunities for women with up-to-date application deadlines. Learn more.
Amazon Black Business Accelerator
Black business owners with an Amazon Professional Seller account can sign up for the Black Business Accelerator program. Businesses will receive a $500 credit toward startup and operational costs for their Amazon Seller account; up to $3,000 in advertising credits; and a $1,000 Buy with Prime credit to offer shoppers fast, free shipping. Free business education, coaching and onboarding support are also offered. Learn more.
Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency, or MBDA, is a federal agency that supports the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in the U.S. Much like the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, the MBDA has locations across the country where minority entrepreneurs can seek financial assistance and business consulting. Learn more.
Grants.gov is a portal where federal agencies offering grant programs — specifically for minority-owned businesses and otherwise — post information about their offerings, including eligibility requirements, funding amounts and application deadlines. You can look for a grant according to several search criteria, including your industry and the sponsoring federal agency. Learn more.
SBA 8(a) Business Development Program
The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program is an assistance program that aids “economically and socially disadvantaged business owners” in securing government contracts.
Each year, the federal government aims to dedicate 5% of its annual contracting budget to small businesses that are owned and operated by underrepresented entrepreneurs via the SBA 8(a) federal contracting program. The Business Development Program provides entrepreneurs the support they need to win those contracts, including receiving one-on-one advising.
Female Founders Fund
If you’re a tech entrepreneur seeking early-stage funding opportunities, consider pitching the Female Founders Fund. The FFF invests in business-to-business, consumer, fintech and health care businesses that have at least one female founding member, and it primarily focuses on investing in seed-stage businesses. The fund averages six to eight investments per year, with investments ranging from $500,000 to $750,000. Learn more.
This annual incubator program is for beauty industry founders who are people of color. The next six-month program runs from January to June 2024 and applications are open from September 6 - 25, 2023. Selected participants will gain skills to help them build and run a successful beauty business.
Women’s Business Centers
Nationwide, there are more than 100 SBA Women’s Business Centers. Though most don’t make grants, they can help women business owners with coaching, classes and finding capital. Learn more.
Alternatives to small-business grants for Black women
Business grants aren’t the right fit for every company. With their short application windows, relatively small funding amounts and competitive judging processes, grants can be limiting.
Fund your dreams with a small-business loan
If grants aren't available for your business right now, check out NerdWallet's picks for the best small-business loans and compare your options.
SBA microloans: These loans of up to $50,000 are backed by the U.S. government and issued by nonprofit community financial institutions. Many microlenders offer training and other resources, which can be valuable to business owners. They also may be easier to qualify for than other types of financing if you’re a new or very small business.
Crowdfunding: Some businesses are able to raise money from customers and supporters — whether they know them or not. There are a variety of crowdfunding campaigns, from donation-based support to investments that you promise to pay back as your business grows, so you can choose one that’s right for you.
Business credit cards: Credit cards can be useful for most businesses that are up and running because they let you keep up with everyday expenses even when your cash flow is uneven. You may be able to find a card that rewards your spending, too.
Peer-to-peer business loans:Funding for P2P loans can come from crowdfunding platforms like Kiva as well as well-established institutional investors. In general, though, they can be easier to qualify for than bank loans for new or small businesses.
Business lines of credit:A line of credit may be a good choice if you need six figures in financing or more. These loans operate similar to credit cards: You borrow what you need to spend, pay your debt down over time, then borrow again up to your limit. Lines of credit may require at least a year in business to apply for, though.
A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.