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.
To be eligible for this grant program, you must be:
- A member of the National Association for the Self-Employed, in good standing. Dues must be current both when you apply and when the grant is funded
- Demonstrate the need for the business growth grant
- Explain, in detail, how you would use the grant
- Show how it would provide assistance
- Provide supporting documents, such as a business plan and résumé
- Live venue operators or promoters
- Theatrical producers
- Live performing arts organization operators
- Museum operators
- Talent representatives
- Motion picture theater owners and operators
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.
Eligibility varies depending on the grant or program.
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.”
To be eligible for a Black Founder Startup Grant, you must:
- Self-identify as a black woman or black nonbinary entrepreneur (multiracial black women are eligible)
- Have a legally registered business
- Plan to seek investor financing to scale business (now or in the future)
- Have a scalable solution or idea to be the next billion-dollar business
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.
An eligible business must:
- Be 51% or more black-owned
- Have between 3-20 employees
- Not be part of a franchise with more than 25 corporate-owned stores or more than 250 total stores
Those not eligible include gas stations; government, public or nonprofit agencies; direct sellers and travel agencies. Also prohibited are groups engaged in religious education and shopping property management companies. For a full list, see the website.
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.
Eligible applicants must be U.S.-incorporated companies with:
- A passion for beauty
- A founder or co-founder who’s at least 18 years of age
- An early-stage brand that’s not yet widely distributed
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.
People who identify as women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+.
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.
Small businesses that:
- Are located in rural areas having a population of 50,000 or less
- Have been impacted by COVID-19
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.
Small businesses that:
- Owwner of a business that identifies with one or more of the following:
- Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Latino, Native American or Alaska Native, Arab or Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, LGTBQ+, or as a person with a disability
- The business must be less than 5 years old, have no more than 10 employees, and have annual revenue equal to or less than $1M.