Best business grants for minorities
When it comes to starting a business, its no surprise that minorities face challenges as far as accumulating for start-up or expansion, that also includes access to affordable small business loans. So, we’ve put together a list of small business grants as well as other valuable resources for minorities.
- The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program: This is a grant for the development or expansion of small businesses in rural areas — minority-owned or not. To qualify, you’ll need to have 50 or fewer employees, less than $1 million in revenue and be located in an eligible rural area.Grants typically range from $10,000 to $500,000, and can be used for a variety of purposes, including training and technical assistance, acquisition or development of land and long-term business planning. Applications are accepted through the USDA’s Rural Development’s state offices once per year.
- Grants.gov: This government website allows grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. It contains information on more than 1,000 grant programs across all 26 federal grant-making agencies, including the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration.To apply for federal grants, you must obtain a DUNS number from Dun & Bradstreet (a unique nine-digit identification number) for your business; register to do business with the U.S. government through its System Award Management website; and create an account at Grants.gov.
- National Association for the Self-Employed: This nonprofit trade association provides educational resources and grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs. To apply for a grant of up to $4,000, you’ll need to become an active member of the association, provide a detailed explanation of how you’ll use the funds, show how the grant will support your business growth, and provide supporting documentation.
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: This annual grant contest by FedEx awards 10 small businesses with grants of up to $25,000. Since 2013, FedEx has awarded more than $375,000 in grants to entrepreneurs. Any for-profit small business that has been operating for at least six months is eligible to enter. Here are the grant contest winners for 2017.
- Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs: These two programs provide contracts and grants for early-stage small businesses that are looking to commercialize innovative biomedical technologies.
- Minority Business Development Agency: This agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce promotes the growth of minority-run small businesses by connecting owners to financing resources, federal contracts and market opportunities. You can contact a local MBDA business center for more information.
- National Minority Supplier Development Council: The council is a corporate member organization focused on increasing business opportunities for certified minority-owned businesses. It operates the Business Consortium Fund, a nonprofit business development program, which offers financing programs and business advisory services for its members.
- SBA 8(a) Business Development Program: Socially or economically disadvantaged small-business owners are eligible to receive help through this SBA program, which provides business development assistance, training, and management and technical guidance.To qualify, a small business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a citizen who has been subjected to cultural bias or prejudice and placed at an economic disadvantage because of race or ethnicity. Here is a list of eligibility requirements.
- Operation Hope Small-Business Empowerment Program: This program is designed for aspiring entrepreneurs in low-wealth neighborhoods, which often include minority communities. The program combines business training and financial counseling along with access to small-business financing options. Participants complete a 12-week training program, plus workshops on business financing and credit and money management.
- The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant ProgramThis well-known women’s business grant awards up to 10 recipients each year with a minimum grant of $10,000 each. The grant funding total is $100,000. There are several eligibility criteria, including that businesses be at least 51 percent women-owned, at least three years since founding and annual revenue of less than $1 million.
- SBA InnovateHER ChallengeEach year, the U.S. Small Business Administration awards three female small business owners a total of $70,000 in prize money. Read more about the challenge and previous years’ winners here.The SBA also provides an excellent online database for female business owners, including helping you find organizations that award grants to women on a local level.
- Zions Bank Smart Women GrantsThis grant awards $3,000 each to a female recipient in each of these six categories: arts and culture, business, community development, continuing education and teacher support, child and elder care, and human and health services. This grant is open to anyone whose proposal “promotes the empowerment of women or directly benefits women or low-income or underserved populations in Utah and Idaho,” where Zions Bank is based.
- The Amber Grant for WomenWomensNet awards one winner with $500 each month of the year, and one of those monthly winners will receive an additional $1,000 by the end of the year. The grant has been awarding women with entrepreneurial dreams since first launching in 1998.
- The Halstead GrantThis is a much more specific grant, as it is open only to women involved in making and selling jewelry. The award includes $7,500 in cash, $1,000 to spend on supplies and an all expenses paid trip to Arizona. The 10 runners-up are awarded prizes as well.
- Minority Business Development AgencyIf you are a minority business owner, be sure to regularly check out the MBDA for grant opportunities. They also provide a number of other educational resources for minority entrepreneurs.
- MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs SeriesWhile not explicitly for minority business owners, this grant program awards big payouts ($150,000 total spread out to five winners) and focuses specifically on diversity in entrepreneurship.
Starting a business is a lot of hard work; however if you’re passionate about it, just got for it. And at least apply for one of the grants provided on this list. You never know, you may just be chosen. 🙂
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