Minority-owned businesses face difficulties in establishing or expanding a small-sized business, such as access to affordable small-business loans. Financial assistance and business grants can help to bridge the funding gap.
Here are the top small-business grants as well as other helpful financing sources for minority-owned companies. NerdWallet also has put together the best small-business loans specifically for minorities.
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Grants.gov lets grant applicants discover and apply for grants from federal sources. It provides details on more than 1000 grants across federal grant-making organizations, including those of the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In order to apply for federal grants, you need to get a DUNS number at Dun & Bradstreet (a unique nine-digit identification code) for your company; sign up to conduct trade with the U.S. government through its System Award Management website; and sign up for an account at Grants.gov.
- The USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program
This is an USDA grant to help develop or expand small companies in rural areas, owned by minority groups or not. To be eligible, you’ll need to have 50 or fewer new employees, less than $1 million in total revenues, and be located in a eligible rural zone.
Grants are available for various purposes such as training and technical assistance, as well as acquisition or development of land, and long-term business planning. Applications are accepted by the USDA’s Rural Development state offices at least once every year.
- National Association for the Self-Employed
The non-profit trade association offers grants and educational materials for entrepreneurs and small-scale companies. 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 description of the way you’ll utilize the funds, demonstrate that the grants will help your business’s growth and submit supporting documents.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
It is the FedEx Small Business annual grant contest grants 12 small businesses with grants up to $50,000. Any small for-profit business that needs to ship can participate in the contest, as long as 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
The two small business programs provide grants and contracts for small-scale businesses in the early stages who want to commercialize cutting-edge technology and research.
- Minority Business Development Agency
This development agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce helps to grow minority-owned small enterprises by connecting their entrepreneurs with financing opportunities, federal contracts, as well as market-related opportunities. Contact a nearby MBDA business center to get more details.
- National Minority Supplier Development Council
It is a member group that is focused on enhancing possibilities for minority owned companies. It manages its own 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 are eligible for aid through the SBA 8(a) programme that offers support for business development, training, management, and technical support.
To be eligible, a small company must be at least 51% owned, controlled and operated by a person who is subjected to prejudice or cultural bias and is at a disadvantage due to races or other ethnicities. Here’s the eligibility criteria.
- Operation Hope Small-Business Empowerment Program
Operation Hope is an Operation Hope program designed specifically for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business in low-income areas, which usually include minorities. It combines business-related training, financial counselling, and access to financing options for small businesses. Participants take part in a program of training as well as seminars on financing for businesses, and credit and money management.
- Fast Break for Small Business
The grant program of $6 million is a collaboration 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.