25 Sources For Funding Minority EntrepreneursRamon Ray
Minority businesses make up a large part of the American economy. Here’s a list of top sources for funding minority entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, these businesses have had the hardest time scaling up, in part because of a lack of funding. Even worse, in most cases, they are not fairly considered when they apply for funding from different lenders.
Fortunately, there are some organizations that can help minority businesses with funding.
However, do note that even BEYOND FUNDING – what’s MOST important is that you build a business that has the right team, solves the right problem, for the right customer base. You do NOT have to have funding to start a business but you can definitely bootstrap it.
Also shoutout to our friends at Hello Alice – an awesome platform for funding and more.
If you have a suggestion to add to the list, just let me know.
25 funding sources for minority businesses:
1) The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE)
The NASE has been around since 1981, providing entrepreneurs and micro-businesses, including those by minority owners with access to grants and educational resources. These are needed for any business to grow. However, they were previously available only to large corporations and NASE was established to change that and give small businesses a bigger chance to grow.
It is a great resource for minority entrepreneurs with a more specific funding need. You would need to join the NASE first before you can apply for these grants. They are worth up to $4,000, an amount that could help take any small business a few steps ahead. Note, however, that you will have to give a very detailed explanation of how you intend to use these funds for your small business.
When you join, you will need to choose a membership payment plan. The annual membership fee is $120 per year while the monthly cost is $11.95 per month. Applications are received throughout the year. Today, it represents hundreds of small businesses across the United States.
2) National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
The National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge is another great source of funding for minority start-ups. It is also a competition that provides the opportunity for start-ups to grow and has been doing so since 2017. The National Black MBA Association recognizes the most scalable businesses through the challenge. This is after the participants have submitted an original idea.
To be eligible, one of the business founders has to be black or a person of African descent. One of the team members has to be a member of the association. In case your small business has received any funding before, you have to disclose this information.
Through this competition, you get the chance to network with possible investors, and also win between $1000 to $50,000 in funding for their business.
3) The FedEx Small Business Grant contest
The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest as the name suggests is another great source of funding for small businesses. This is a unique source of funding as it is a contest. Organizers announce the application dates for every year and if you’re interested, you just need to sign up for their emails to receive notifications.
For you to be eligible to join the contest, your business has to be a small one with below 50 employees. It also has to receive below $5 million in annual sales revenue. Most of all, it needs to be in the United States. The competition is held nationwide and small businesses receive different grants in form of money and other valuable prizes to help them get ahead. The amount varies every year.
4) Asian Women Giving Circle Grants
Asian Women Giving Circle Grants is a great funding resource specifically for Asian women in America that contribute to progressive political and social change. This could be through visual arts, documentaries, street festivals, and choreography. These funds are given to both community groups and individual artists in film, theatre, and dance.
In the previous year alone, 11 recipients got funding of between $2,500 to $10,000.To benefit from this, you have to follow up on the submission dates. However, they make it a point to provide information about applications at the start of the year.
5) Coalition to Back Black Businesses Fund
The Coalition To Back Black Businesses Fund is a great source of funding strictly for black-owned businesses. It’s a coalition of organizations that include American Express, the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and Stanley Black & Decker.
For you to be eligible you need to have at least 3 to 20 employees and your business has to be in an economically vulnerable community. They are particular about helping out businesses that have been significantly affected by the coronavirus. It’s an initiative that’s meant to run to 2023 set to help these small black-owned businesses with grants of up to $5000.
6) SoGoal Foundation Black Founder Startup Grant
The SoGoal funding source is a result of the collaboration between Winky Lux, Bluemercury, and the SoGoal Foundation. It is a funding source that is only applicable to startups owned by black women or black nonbinary entrepreneurs. It also accepts applications from people who are biracial. Your business needs to be already registered and you also need to have a very scalable business idea.
This program gives such minority businesses funding of up to $5000 and $10,000. Should you be one of the grant’s beneficiaries, you will also receive lifetime access to the foundation and the SoGoal Ventures teams. Applications for this funding are accepted continuously or in other words, on a rolling basis. The awards are given to select entrants at the end of every month.
7) Rebuild The Blocks Grants
The Rebuild The Block Grants is another great source of funding for black-owned businesses. It mostly targets those that have particularly been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or destruction from looting. You must show proof that your small business was started either before or on 1st January 2020 to stand a chance. As is expected, you will have to show proof of the losses you have incurred as a business and to prove that your small business is legitimate.
For the Small Business Relief Fund, there are up to 15 winners chosen every month. The Rebuild The Blocks Organization does not say exactly how much money it gives in grants to individual businesses. However, it has a goal of giving funding of up to $1 million to these black-owned businesses. You can also apply if you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur in the creative industry.
8) Oakland Black Business Fund
The Oakland Black Business Fund is an investment platform that provides services to Black-owned businesses found in the Oakland, California area. It provides funding to such businesses to address any existing gaps when it comes to real estate and how possible it is for these businesses to access capital. The Oakland Black Business Fund also has a special relief fund with up to $10 million. This is specifically to help out those businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The OBBF operates with a unique approach to building and strengthening peer-to-peer relationships between different Black-owned businesses and their owners. It also builds a good relationship with Black technical support providers and different technology companies. Subsequently, it provides an opportunity for sustainable growth of minority small businesses that are underfunded.
9) NAACP X Barcardi Backing The B.A.R. Acceleration Grants
For this, the NAACP collaborated with Bacardi to provide small black-owned businesses with the Backing the B.A.R Acceleration Grants. Aside from just being a Black-owned business, you also have to work in the sales, hospitality industry or have your business in the beverage service sector.
In case your specific business deals with liquor, you should have obtained a liquor license or at least be in the process of obtaining one. From this collaboration, businesses can get funds of up to $10,000. You also get education, support, and other entrepreneurial resources to help you get ahead.
10) Backstage Capital
Backstage Capital is one of the most famous funding sources, particularly in the tech industry. This is thanks to its continuous commitment when it comes to supporting small businesses led by women, people of color, and generally, the underrepresented.
To date, this venture capital firm has invested over $7 million in more than 130 businesses led by these underrepresented founders. In addition to this, the firm launched the Backstage Crowd recently. For this, accredited investors are able to individually contribute up to $5000 to various small companies that have diverse founders.
11) Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund is part of the American treasury department. It helps many minority businesses by increasing or improving their access to much-needed capital.
Through the CDFI, these businesses get loans, financial services, investment from other companies, and also technical assistance whenever needed. The CDFI also provides tax credits to help encourage even more investment.
12) Small Business Administration
Another great funding source particularly for black-owned businesses is the Small Business Administration (SBA). It has several programs that these small businesses can benefit from. The SBA has a Lender Match Tool that is very helpful in connecting small businesses with CDFIs that have been approved by the SBA.
This organization also has the Business Development program as well as the HUBZone program. Both of these are federal programs that are quite relevant in helping Black-owned businesses.
13) National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council is another great source of funding for Black-owned businesses. They offer a Business Consortium Fund whereby you can get a loan and consulting services tailored for your business. After all, the council’s mission is to help advance different business opportunities for as many minority businesses as possible.
The council is certified by the United States Department of the treasury and exclusively serves those businesses that are NMSDC certified.
14) Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program
These are two competitive programs that give grants to small minority businesses, including those run by women. The grants are specifically for businesses that make a great contribution to federal development and research. The grant opportunities on their websites are posted by twelve different federal agencies. They include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Health, and Humanitarian services.
As a business seeking funding, all you have to do is go to their website and search for the available opportunities for grants. For you to be eligible, you have to be running a for-profit business with a maximum of 500 employees.
15) The Girlboss Foundation
The Girlboss Foundation was launched back in 2014 by an entrepreneur called Sophia Amoruso. This foundation gives grants two times a year to a number of female-run businesses. It also awards the same to female-identifying business people. All recipients of this grant get up to $15000 in funding.
As the name probably tells you already, this funding is exclusive to female entrepreneurs. Furthermore, you need to be in the fashion and design industry, music, and any part of the arts. The decision as to who gets the grant is based on the participant’s creativity and innovation. The panelists also pay close attention to your business planning and acumen and how you demonstrated your financial needs.
16) The Amber Grant Foundation
The Amber Grant Foundation provides funding of up to $10,000 to women-owned small businesses every month. The best part of this grant is that at the end of every year one of the twelve recipients of the grant gets an extra $25,000 to grow their business further. The application process is simple. All you have to do is explain what your business is all about and what you would do should you get the money.
You also have to pay an application fee of just $15, which is worth it considering the amount you could end up getting to grow your business. The foundation chooses women based on how good their business story is and also how passionate they are about their business. While this is majorly for the benefit of American female entrepreneurs, the foundation extends the grants to women in Canada.
17) Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
Eileen Fisher is a clothing retail business that focuses on women’s wear. It awards up to $100,000 to ten women-owned businesses every year. For your business to be eligible for the grant, it should be made of up to 51% women in terms of ownership and also business leadership.
Your business should be at least three years old. It should also register not more than $1 million in annual sales and revenue. They also pay close attention to businesses that focus mostly on social and environmental change.
18) iFundWomen of Color
iFundWomen is one of the crowd-funding platforms that specifically fund women. They have exclusive programs that cater to women of color. They provide these women with grants, business coaching, guides to crowdfunding, and any other needed support for them to grow.
They also expose members to different connections needed for them to launch and subsequently grow successfully in business. iFundWomen of Color was developed in collaboration with Caress. Its main goal is to help entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to make their different dreams a reality.
19) Harlem Capital Partners
Harlem Capital Partners is a New York-based organization that helps businesses with diverse founders. In 2019, they debuted their $40 million venture capital fund. Their focus is on helping the minority and women in business around the United States by investing in them.
This firm is focused on companies that already generate revenue. They go for companies with technology-enabled services and products. Harlem Capital Partners has a goal of investing in up to 1000 minority businesses in the next 20 years.
20) USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program
The USDA Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program is a funding source for minority businesses that are unable to obtain more traditional funding for their businesses. With this program, you can get either a business loan or a grant just as the name suggests.
For your business to qualify for the grant, it must operate in the water or waste disposal industry. It should also be within an eligible area that is in a town that has a population of fewer than 10,000 people or tribal lands in the rural areas. It’s worth noting that a lot of local and state government entities, private non-profit businesses, and the different federally recognized tribes qualify for this grant.
21) Tribal Energy Development Capacity Grant Program
This is a program that is provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The grants from the program are available for minority businesses or tribal organizations that have been federally recognized.
The goal of this grant is to provide funding that maximizes the economic impact of the Native American area’s energy development. With this grant, you will be able to develop and enhance your small business further. You will also enhance the environment for energy resource development.
22) First Nations Development Institute
The First Nations Development Institute is a nonprofit organization that is focused on improving the economic conditions of people in Native communities. The organization does so by providing training, grants, and technical assistance to them.
So far, the organization has awarded up to $43 million to different minority businesses to help them move forward and succeed in their work. They operate with the goal of strengthening the economies of American Indians. Aside from giving them funding, they provide technical assistance and training, they offer advocacy and also policy.
23) Operation Hope Small-Business Empowerment Program
The Operation Hope program is one that was created to help minority entrepreneurs that are particularly in low wealth or low-income neighborhoods. Through this program, the minority businesses not only get funding, but also financial counseling and business training.
Everyone who participates in this training goes through a 12-week training program. They attend workshops on business financing and money management. These equip them better so that they are able to use the funding they get well to grow further.
24) Shea Moisture Women of Color E-Lab
The Shea Moisture Women of Color E-Lab is an e-learning platform specifically for entrepreneurs who are also women of color. It provides them with education, mentorship, access to resources and so much more. It also emphasizes helping women move forward in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought about a crisis in the business world.
After they have completed the program, the participants are given a chance to come up with a business recovery plan following the pandemic. They can pitch this plan for a chance of getting up to $100,000 to fund it.
25) Business For All
This is a grant provided by Hello Alice in collaboration with Verizon. Together, they provide 18 grants in total that amount to $285,000 to businesses.
13 of these 18 are given to women-owned businesses, people of color, and businesses by the LGBTQ community. They are also given to businesses with some kind of military connection and to those entrepreneurs who are in a way disabled physically.
In case you belong to minority groups in the United States and have a vision for the growth of your business, you can look these funding sources up. They provide a great opportunity for your growth especially in the wake of the crisis that the business world has been thrust in for over a year now. They are also fair in selection and everyone has an equal opportunity to benefit.