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34 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 January 10, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner

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⏰ Estimated read time: 14 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. 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 to be a part of the next cohort are open from October 5, 2023 to January 31, 2024.

5. CCWC Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant

The Corporate Counsel Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant awards five $2,500 grants to businesses owned by women of color. To be eligible, your business must have been established since at least Jan. 1, 2020 and must have generated more than $25,000 in lifetime revenue. Applications for 2024 grants are now open and will accepted on a rolling basis.

6. 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. Applications for Chicago-based businesses are open now and will be accepted until February 6, 2024. Texas businesses, Pennsylvania/NJ businesses and Minneapolis/St. Paul businesses can all pre-register now. Full grant applications for those businesses will open later 2024.

7. 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.

8. 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 March 31, 2024.

9. The American Dream Awards

Small businesses can apply to win $1,000 in funding from the American Dream Awards. Grants are offered in several categories including job creation, family-owned businesses and startups. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2024.

10. 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. Details for 2024 deadlines will be announced in February.

11. 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. Pre-registration for the 2024 cycle is expected to open soon.

12. BGV Pitch Competition

Held by Black Girl Ventures, this pitch competition is open to Black or brown female business owners. The first-place winner will receive a $10,000 grant, second place is awarded $6,000 and third place wins $2,000. Applications for the 2024 cycles have not yet opened.

13. 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. Details for the 2024 award have not yet been announced.

14. 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. Applications are currently closed and the next program launches in March 2024.

15. 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.

16. 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. Applications for the 2024 cycle will open later this year.

17. Coalition to Back Black Businesses

These $5,000 grants are available each year to Black-owned businesses with between three and 20 employees. Grantees also get to participate in a mentorship experience, and some receive an additional $25,000 grant when they have completed the program. To qualify for a Coalition to Back Black Businesses grant, you must be in an economically vulnerable community and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Application dates for the 2024 cohort have not yet been announced.

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 $1,000,000, and 15 additional teams receive between $15,000 and $250,000. Application deadlines for the 2024 cycle have not yet been announced.

19. 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. Applications are currently closed.

20. 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 for round 3 of this grant are expected to open in 2024. You can sign up for updates on the website.

21. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

This competition, which is not limited to minority small business owners, awards grants of up to $50,000 each year. 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. The next cycle will open in early 2024.

22. 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.

23. #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. Applications are currently closed.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. Breakthrough Program by DigitalUndivided

Sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase and run by DigitalUndivided, the Breakthrough Program offers 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.

28. 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.

29. America's Top Small Business Awards

Formerly the Dream Big Awards, America's Top Small Business Awards 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. Details for the 2024 competition have not yet been released.

30. 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.

31. 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.
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Federal business grants for minorities

32. 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.

33. 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.

34. 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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