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Small Business Grants for Minorities

by Jeremy Williamson

Grants are an important source of money to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Grants to minority-owned businesses are key, not just to the businesses themselves, but to the overall economy. A recent analysis of Census Bureau data from 2017 showed barely 4 in 10 (41%) business owners were white males. Of the 30.5 million total business owners, 6.5 million were owned by men of color.

About 4 million more were owned by women of color. This means minority small business owners together make up about one-third of business owners in America. These include members of Asian, Black, Hispanic and other minority groups and communities. The remainder are white women entrepreneurs.

So there are a lot of funding opportunities available to minority business owners. And thousands of them are tailored specifically to minority businesses. These may meet eligibility requirements for business funding from government agencies and private groups. That’s free money. Here are some of the funding opportunities and grant applications available.

The National Association for the Self-Employed offers grants of up to $4,000 for small business needs. The money can be used for advertising, expansion, hiring, marketing, or other specific business needs. 

This federal government program provides grants equal to 45% of gross earned revenue for eligible businesses. The maximum for a single grant award is $10 million. Under this program, $2 billion has been reserved for eligible applicants with up to 50 full-time employees.

The Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists grants and recipients in your state. The number of available grants varies from one state to the next. 

Grants vary from minority youth violence prevention to the National Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program. There are also health programs for hepatitis B, lupus, and sickle cell disease, along with a variety of other grant topics. Check the website for details. 

Grant opportunities are available to help black women founders develop their businesses. Cash grants of $5,000 and $10,000 for business financing are available to promote economic development for black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs. 

Those who receive grants also will “receive tactical help navigating the fundraising environment … and have a more equitable opportunity at scaling the next billion-dollar idea.”

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multiyear grantmaking and training initiative. It helps black-owned small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $5,000 in grants will be awarded each fall through 2023.

Sephora Accelerate offers a brand incubation program. It helps build communities of people of color who are founders of beauty-related companies. It consists of a six-month boot camp designed to provide support and skills for business owners. 

Backstage Capital provides support to startup founders through programs and grants. Applicants must identify as women, people of color and/or LGBTQ+ members and be affiliates with a for-profit stage company. 

The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), a non-profit community development financial institution, offers financial assistance through grants. Grants are specially targeted to small businesses in under-served communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans who own businesses.

In all, 900 grants worth a total of $18 million are available.

This program is available to minority small businesses around the country. Businesses are eligible to receive up to $15,000 in grant dollars and if awarded, they are able to join the Invoice2go community of businesses owners, along with access to exclusive workshops. Four awards are given out each month to businesses who apply with a name, email, and photo, along with a statement that is 200 words or less explaining your business and how winning would support your business and community.

Learn more about this program on their website


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