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Minority Small-Business Grants: 16 Opportunities and Resources
Small-business grants can help your minority-owned business access funding you don't have to pay back.
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Minority small-business grants offer funding you don’t have to pay back. Though 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.
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.
These $5,000 grants are available each fall 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 when they’re finished. To qualify for a CBBB grant, you must be in an economically vulnerable community and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Fast Break for Small Business
Fast Break for Small Business is a partnership among LegalZoom, the NBA, the WNBA and the NBA G League. Businesses can receive $10,000 in grant money plus free LegalZoom services. Accion Opportunity Fund is the nonprofit administrator of the program.
3. Comcast RISE Investment Fund
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund is open to minority and women entrepreneurs in specific target cities. In each participating city, 100 business owners receive grants of $10,000 each. Applicants must have 25 or fewer employees and at least three years in business.
4. Rebuildtheblock Bridge the Gap Fund
The Bridge the Gap grant from Rebuildtheblock is available to Black entrepreneurs whose businesses were founded in 2019 or earlier and were affected by COVID-19 or looting destruction. Up to 15 applicants receive grants during each three-month application cycle.
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.
6. Kinetic Business by Windstream Black Business Support Fund Grant
If you live in a Windstream service area, you can apply to receive a year of free internet and a grant of up to $2,500. Applicant businesses must have Black owners and 25 or fewer employees.
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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Federal business grants and resources for minorities
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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
Note: The next two options aren’t grant programs, but they still offer resources that can help minority-owned businesses grow.
13. 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.
14. National Minority Supplier Development Council
State and regional small-business grants and resources for minorities
15. 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.
16. 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.
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.
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.