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36 Small-Business Grants for Minority Entrepreneurs, Plus Resources

Small-business grants can help your minority-owned business access funding you don't have to pay back.
By Steve Nicastro, Sally Lauckner
Last updated on July 16, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner

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⏰ Estimated read time: 15 minutes

Minority small-business grants offer funding you don’t have to pay back. Below, we've included the best small-business grants for minority business owners. We’ve also rounded up other resources where entrepreneurs of color can get free coaching and additional support. 
Although business grants can give you a leg up, competition tends to be stiff and funding amounts are usually relatively small. You may want to consider alternative financing options as well. 
» Need more than grant funding? NerdWallet also has compiled a list of the best small-business loans for minorities.

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Private small-business grants for minorities

1. Wish Local Empowerment Grant

Black business owners can apply for $500 - $2,000 grants through the Wish Local Empowerment Grant program. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have 20 or fewer employees, generate an annual average revenue of less than $1 million and own a brick-and-mortar location in the United States. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

2. The Freed Fellowship Grant

The Freed Fellowship offers monthly $500 grants to people of color or women business owners. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and grant recipients may also win an additional $2,500 grant at the end of the year.

3. HerRise Microgrant

Now in its eighth year, the Yva Jourdan Foundation and HerSuite Spot offer monthly $1,000 HerRise micro-grants to women of color entrepreneurs. To be eligible, your business must be at least 51% woman of color owned and must be a for-profit business registered in the U.S. Applications are due on the last day of each month.

4. Galaxy Grants

Hidden Star, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports women, people of color and low-income entrepreneurs, offers Galaxy Grants. Grants of up to $2,750 are awarded to people of color and women business owners. Applications are open and will be accepted until Sept. 30, 2024.

5. National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

Three businesses win cash prizes from the National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge each year, with the overall winner taking home a $50,000 grant prize. Second place wins a $10,000 grant and third place receives $7,500. To apply, your business must have a Black founder and at least one member of your pitch team has to be a National Black MBA Association member. Applications are open from June 14-July 26, 2024.

6. CO-100

Formerly the America's Top Small Business Awards, the CO-100 is run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This grant is open to all small business owners who are U.S. residents and run a for-profit business that has been in operation for at least one year. One winner receives a $25,000 grant. Ten additional businesses will also receive $2,000 grants. Applications are open until July 22, 2024.

7. Fast Break for Small Business

Now in its fourth year, the Fast Break for Small Business program will award $10,000 to 150 small businesses across the U.S. The program is a partnership between LegalZoom, Accion Opportunity Fund, the NBA, WNBA and NBA G-League. To be eligible, your business must have been in operation for a minimum of three months and have annual revenue below $1 million. Additionally, 3,000 entrepreneurs who have not yet launched their ventures will receive a LegalZoom product valued up to $500. Applications are accepted from Feb. 15 - Sept. 13, 2024.

8. Transform Business Grant

Open to business owners from systemically oppressed backgrounds, including minority business owners, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with disabilities and formerly incarcerated individuals, the Transform Business Grant awards a $1,000 micro-grant. Applications for the next cycle will be accepted from Sept. 15-30, 2024.

9. Founders First CDC Grants

Founders First CDC offers a number of regional grant programs. Founders must identify as one of the following to apply for these local programs: Asian, Black or Latinx women; LGBTQ+; or military veterans. Texas-based businesses and Southern California businesses can pre-register now. Full grant applications for those businesses will open later 2024. The programs for Chicago-, Twin Cities- and Pennsylvania/NJ-based businesses will reopen in 2025.

10. National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants

This nonprofit trade association provides educational resources and grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs. To apply for a grant of up to $4,000, you’ll need to become an active member of the National Association for the Self-Employed, provide a detailed explanation of how you’ll use the funds, show how the grant will support your business growth and provide supporting documentation. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

11. Beyond Open Grant

Charlotte, N.C.-based small business owners who identify as minorities, women, veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals or individuals with disabilities are eligible to apply for Beyond Open grants. Grant amounts are between $10,000 and $150,000. Applications will be accepted from Aug. 5-30, 2024.

12. BGV Pitch Competition

Held by Black Girl Ventures, this pitch competition is open to underrepresented female business owners. The first-place winner will receive a $15,000 grant, second place is awarded $10,000 and third place wins $5,000. The 2024 cycles are open to businesses located in NYC (Oct. 9 application deadline) and Los Angeles (Nov. 6 deadline).

13. Feed the Soul's Restaurant Business Development Grant

This program is open to food businesses that are at least 51% owned by someone who belongs to one of the following categories: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ+, military veterans, persons with disabilities or formerly incarcerated individuals. In addition to a financial grant, Restaurant Business Development Program participants receive six months of consulting services and educational training. Applications will be open from Oct. 5 - Jan. 31, 2024.

14. National Black Business Pitch

The National Black Business Pitch is an annual competition for Black business owners. Finalists are selected to pitch their businesses in front of a virtual audience, and three winners receive prizes of up to $10,000. Registration closed on June 3, 2024. This year's pitch competition takes place on Aug. 21, 2024.

15. AAPIStrong Restaurant Fund

Now in its fourth year, the AAPIStrong Restaurant Fund is presented by the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (ACE) and funded by GrubHub Community Fund. Grants between $5,000 and $25,000 will be available for AAPI-owned restaurants. Applications were open from May 1-June 22, 2024. Winners will be announced in August.

16. Jobber Grant

If your businesses in the home services industry, you may be eligible for a $10,000 grant from Jobber. Applications closed on June 12, 2024, and winners will be selected in August.

17. EBay Up and Running Grant

Minority business owners who sell on eBay may be interested in this grant program. Fifty small-business owners will be awarded $10,000 grants from eBay. To be eligible, you must have had an active eBay seller account prior to Dec. 2, 2023. Applications closed in June 2024. Winners will be announced in September.

18. The Black Ambition Prize

To be eligible for the Black Ambition Prize, your business must have at least one founding team member who identifies as Black or Hispanic/Latinx. The grand prize winner is awarded $1 million, and 15 additional teams receive between $15,000 and $250,000. Winners also receive coaching and marketing opportunities, and workshops on pitching and leadership, among others. Applications closed in May 2024, and the semi-finalists have been announced.

19. Hawaii FoundHer Program

Native Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Islander women business owners are eligible for the Hawaii FoundHer accelerator program. In addition to a $20,000 grant, participants will receive a $4,000 stipend to put toward care costs.

20. Greenhouse Accelerator Juntos Crecemos Program

Backed by PepsiCo, Greenhouse Accelerator Juntos Crecemos is a grant for Hispanic-owned business. Up to eight food and beverage businesses will be selected to participate in a five-month accelerator program and receive a $20,000 grant. One company will be awarded an additional $100,000 at the end of the program. Applications are closed for 2024.

21. Comcast RISE Investment Fund

The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is open to entrepreneurs in specific target cities each funding cycle. In each participating city, 100 business owners receive grants of $5,000 each. Applicants must have 25 or fewer employees and at least three years in business. Although this grant program was originally intended for people of color and women, it has since been expanded to all small business owners. In 2024, small businesses in Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Richmond, Virginia and Southern Colorado are eligible to apply. Applications are closed for 2024.

22. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

This annual competition is not limited to minority small business owners. Any for-profit small business with a shipping need is eligible to enter, provided it has been operating for at least six months and has fewer than 99 employees when the annual contest starts. One grand-prize winner will receive $50,000, and nine additional winners will each receive $20,000 grants. The 2024 application window has closed, and winners have been announced.

23. Breakthrough Program by DigitalUndivided

Sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase and run by DigitalUndivided, the Breakthrough Program offers regional grants to female small business owners who are Black or Latina. Recipients will receive a $5,000 grant, a business mentor and sessions focused on startup funding, marketing strategies and customer analytics.

24. #SupportSmallBiz Grant

Presented by Small Business Majority and Support Latino Business, the #SupportSmallBiz grant is an annual grant open to businesses that are at least 50% Latino-owned. Details for the 2024 cycle have not been shared yet.

25. REI Navigate Program

Open to businesses with at least one founder who identifies as Black, Indigenous, Latinx or Asian American and Pacific Islander, the REI Navigate Program is a four-month program that offers group programming, mentorship and access to an outdoor-focused community of entrepreneurs.
In order to be eligible to apply, your business must be in the activity or outdoor categories and have generated between $75,000 and $2 million in revenue in the last 12 months. Recipients are awarded $25,000 grants. Information for the 2024 cycle has not yet been announced.

26. NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant

Now in its fourth year, the NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant is open to Black-owned small businesses. Selected winners will receive a $25,000 grant, along with mentorship and free resources. Applications are currently closed.

27. Creciendo con TikTok

Powered by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and TikTok, and launched in 2021, the Creciendo con TikTok grant program awards $5,000 grants to 40 Latinx small-business owners in the U.S. Applications are currently closed.

28. Siete Juntos Fund

The Siete Juntos Fund awards grants to Latino-owned bakeries, eateries and food trucks. The grand-prize winner will receive $50,000, the second-place winner will get $30,000 and the third-place winner will be awarded $20,000. Up to 10 additional businesses will receive grants of at least $10,000. Applications are currently closed.

29. The Pepper Startup Grant

The Pepper Startup Grant is an annual competition that awards $5,000 to a Black woman or nonbinary business owner. To be eligible, you must run an early-stage business that has raised less than $500,000 in equity financing. Details for the 2024 round have not yet been announced.

30. Black Kitchen Initiative

Launched in 2021, this program run by the Southern Restaurant for Racial Justice, LEE Initiative and Heinz offers grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. To be eligible, you must run a food business that is at least 50% Black owned. Applications are currently closed.

31. Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative

The Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative awards $50,000 grants to three Black-owned businesses. The program is a collaboration between Famous Amos and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. To qualify, your business must be at least 90% Black-owned, headquartered in the U.S. and have been in operation for five years or fewer. Applications are currently closed.

32. Power Forward Small Business Grant

Funded by VistaPrint and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and in partnership with the NAACP, the Power Forward Small Business Grant offers $25,000 grants to Black-owned businesses in New England. Applications are currently closed.

33. Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants Program

The Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants Program offers funding opportunities to small business owners. The most recent round awarded $10,000 grants to two Native American business owners. Details for the 2024 cycle have not yet been released.
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Federal business grants for minorities

34. Grants.gov

This database helps grant seekers find and apply for federal funding opportunities. It contains information on more than 1,000 grant programs across federal grant-making agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA.
To apply, you’ll need a unique entity ID, which lets you bid on government contracts and apply for federal grants. You'll also need an account at Grants.gov.

35. The USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program

This is a USDA grant for the development or expansion of small businesses in rural areas — minority-owned or not. To qualify, you’ll need to have 50 or fewer new employees and less than $1 million in gross revenue as well as be in an eligible rural area.
Grants can be used for a variety of purposes, including training and technical assistance, acquisition or development of land and long-term business planning. Applications are accepted through the USDA Rural Development’s state offices once per year.

36. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs

These two small-business programs provide contracts and grants for early-stage small businesses that are looking to commercialize innovative research and development.

Resources for minority-owned businesses

National Minority Supplier Development Council

The National Minority Supplier Development Council is a corporate member organization focused on increasing business opportunities for certified minority-owned businesses. It operates the Business Consortium Fund, a nonprofit business development program that offers financing programs and business advisory services for its members.

Minority Business Development Agency business centers

This development agency of the Department of Commerce promotes the growth of minority-run small businesses by connecting owners with financing resources, federal contracts and market opportunities. Connect with a local MBDA business center in your region for more information. 

SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

Socially or economically disadvantaged small-business owners are eligible to receive help through the SBA 8(a) program. It doesn’t offer grant funding but does provide business development assistance, training, and management and technical guidance.
To qualify, a small business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a citizen who has been subjected to cultural bias or prejudice and placed at an economic disadvantage because of race or ethnicity. Here is a list of eligibility requirements.

Small Business Development Centers

These SBA-sponsored resource centers offer free one-on-one coaching and consulting on topics like market research and financing your business. They may be able to help you apply for the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program and Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certifications. 

Operation HOPE 1 Million Black Businesses

The Operation Hope program combines business training and financial counseling along with access to small-business financing options. Through a partnership with Shopify, 1 Million Black Businesses offers business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs free access to Intuit and Shopify products, plus coaching.

Gold House Ventures

Gold House Ventures is an investment fund that provides capital to Asian and Pacific Islander founders. In addition to seed funding, Gold House Ventures offers accelerator programs, classes, mentorship and more.

Amazon Black Business Accelerator

Certified Black-owned businesses with Amazon Professional Seller accounts can apply to join the Amazon Black Business Accelerator. Participants receive a $500 credit to apply toward Amazon Professional Seller startup or operational costs, access to an educational library and monthly webinars and free credits and services for marketing and advertising support.

Alternatives to minority small-business grants

Business grants can be difficult to apply for and even harder to win. For other ways to help fund your minority-owned business, consider the following options.
SBA microloans: These government-backed loans of up to $50,000 can be a good choice for new or very small businesses. They’re typically issued by nonprofit community financial institutions, many of which offer additional training and resources. 
Crowdfunding: If you can tell your business’s story online in a way that persuades your customers and supporters to invest in you, you may be able to raise significant capital to launch or expand your business. 
Small-business credit cards: Credit cards can help your business keep up with everyday expenses even when your cash flow is uneven. 
Business lines of credit: These business loans work like credit cards but usually have higher credit limits. They can be a good choice for companies that need to borrow money but aren’t quite sure how much — you’ll pay interest on only what you borrow, and you can pay funds back and borrow them again as often as you need.
Peer-to-peer business loans: Because they’re issued by private investors instead of financial institutions, P2P business loans may be easier for new or small businesses to qualify for. Some are similar to crowdfunding platforms.

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