Minority-owned businesses face difficulties when starting or expanding their small business, including access to affordable small-business loans. Business grants and financial aid can bridge the financing gap.
Here are a few of the most effective small-business grants and other helpful financing sources for minority-owned companies. NerdWallet also has created an extensive list of the top small-business loans available to minorities.
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Grants.gov grants grantees the ability to search for and apply to grants from federal sources. It offers details about more than 1,000 grant programs from national grant-making organizations, including that of Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In order to apply for federal grant funding, you must get a DUNS number at Dun & Bradstreet (a unique nine-digit identification code) for your company; make an application to do trade with the U.S. government through its System Award Management website; and then create an account on Grants.gov.
- The USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program
This is an USDA grant for the creation or expansion of small companies in rural areas, owned by minority groups or not. In order to be eligible, you’ll have to have 50 or less new employees, and less than $1 million of gross income and be in a rural area that is eligible.
Grants are available to fulfill a range of needs such as training and technical assistance, development or acquisition of land and long-term planning. Applications are processed through USDA’s Rural Development state offices at least once every year.
- National Association for the Self-Employed
The trade association is a non-profit organization that provides grants and educational materials for entrepreneurs and small-scale businesses. In order to apply for a grant of up to $4,000 you’ll have to be an active part of the organization and provide a thorough explanation of the ways you’ll be using the funds, demonstrate that the grants will help your business’s growth and submit supporting documents.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
The FedEx Small Business annual grant contest provides 12 small companies with grants ranging from $50,000. Any small for-profit business that needs to ship can participate provided it has been in operation for at minimum six months and has less than 99 employees at the time the contest begins.
- Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs
These two small-business programs offer grants and contracts for small-scale businesses in the early stages who are seeking to commercialize their innovative technology and research.
- Minority Business Development Agency
This development agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce encourages the development of minority-owned small-scale businesses by linking owners with financial sources, federal contracts, and market-related opportunities. Contact your the local MBDA business center to get more details.
- National Minority Supplier Development Council
It is a member group that is focused on enhancing chances for accredited minority-owned companies. It manages it’s Business Consortium Fund, a non-profit business development program which provides financing and business advisory services to its members.
- SBA 8(a) Business Development Program
Small-businesses that are economically or socially challenged owners can receive aid through the SBA 8(a) programme that provides support for business development, training and management, and technical support.
To be considered eligible, a company must be at least 51% owned, controlled and operated by a person subject to prejudice or bias based on culture and placed at a financial disadvantage due to races or other ethnicities. Here’s the list of requirements for eligibility.
- Operation Hope Small-Business Empowerment Program
Operation Hope is an Operation Hope program is designed specifically for entrepreneurs with a desire to start their own business in low-income communities, which typically include minorities. It combines business-related training and financial counseling with access to financing options for small businesses. Participants go through a comprehensive training program and attend workshops on financing for business and credit and money management.
- Fast Break for Small Business
The grant program of $6 million is a joint venture between LegalZoom and The NBA, WBNA, and NBA G League. Businesses can benefit from grant funds and LegalZoom’s services. Accion Opportunity Fund is the non-profit administrator of the program.