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18 Small Business Grants for Minorities

July 2, 2021 11:18

18 Small Business Grants for Minorities

18 Small Business Grants for Minorities

Minority Small Business Grants Explained:

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, including a few faqs about each of them:

 

1. NASE Growth Grants

What Is It?

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. 

Who’s Eligible?

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

Deadline:

Rolling deadlines are in effect for the application process, as follows: 

  • Applications completed and received between January and March will be up for review in April.
  • Applications completed and received between April and June will be up for review in July.
  • Applications completed and received between July and September will be up for review in October.
  • Applications completed and received between October and December will be up for review in January of the following year.

 

2. U.S. Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (Federal)

What Is It?

This federal government program provides grants equal to 45% of gross earned revenue for eligible businesses. The maximum for a single grant award is $10 million. Under this program, $2 billion has been reserved for eligible applicants with up to 50 full-time employees.

The money may be used for a wide variety of purposes, including:

  • Payroll
  • Rent or mortgage payments (not including repayment of principal), or operating leases in effect as of Feb. 15, 2020
  • Utility costs
  • Administrative costs
  • Insurance payments
  • State and local taxes and fees
  • Advertising
  • Transportation

Who’s Eligible?

  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Museum operators
  • Talent representatives
  • Motion picture theater owners and operators

Deadline:

  • To be determined. See the website for more details.  

 

3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health Grants

What Is It? 

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. 

Who’s Eligible?

Eligibility varies depending on the grant or program.

Deadline:

Deadlines vary, ranging from 2021 to 2023. Check the website for specifics on each program.

 

4. SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program (Federal)

What Is It?

The Small Business Association Community Navigator Pilot Program is a federal business development program. It offers grant money in amounts ranging from $1 million to $5 million.

These federal grants go for counseling, networking, and resource development. They benefit small businesses recovering from the economic effects of the novel coronavirus. The program runs for two years, from September 2021 to August 2023.

Who’s Eligible?

  • State and local governments
  • Small business development centers
  • Nonprofit colleges and universities
  • Community development financial institutions 

Deadline:

Applications are due at grants.gov by July 12, 2021. See this video for information on how to use grants.gov.

 

5. MBE Equity Multiplier Project 

What Is It?

The Minority Business Development Agency helps minority business enterprises access capital. With it, they can create a more diverse economy and promote economic prosperity for minority leaders.

Grants for minority business enterprises focus on the environment, natural resources, science and technology, and other research and development. It’s expected that one grant will be awarded, with the total amount of financing available set at $300,000. 

Who’s Eligible?

  • For-profit entities
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Higher education institutions
  • Commercial organizations
  • State and local government entities
  • Tribal governmental entities
  • Quasi-government entities

Deadline:

The application deadline was set as 11:59 p.m. EST on June 30, 2021.

 

Grants for African Americans & People of Color

 

6. Black Founder Startup Grant

What Is It?

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.”

Who’s Eligible?

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

Deadline: 

These grants have rolling deadlines.

 

7. Comcast RISE

What Is It?

Comcast RISE provides marketing, creative, media, and technology support. This multiyear commitment intends to benefit small businesses owned by people of color.

Who’s Eligible? 

To be eligible for these grants, businesses must be:

  • Small businesses at least 51% owned and operated by people of color
  • Independently owned and operated 
  • Registered in the United States
  • Operating a year or more
  • Located within the Comcast Business or Effectv service area footprint

Full rules are available at https://www.comcastrise.com/legal/.

Deadline: 

The deadline to apply is July 31, 2021, but additional recipients will be chosen every quarter.

 

8. The 2021 National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

What Is It?

This program is a pitch competition designed to encourage entrepreneurs to create scalable startup companies. You pitch an idea or concept to a judges’ panel. The panel consists of investors and business development and startup experts from local and surrounding areas. 

The panel will select three finalists. These will receive an invitation to attend the NBMBAA® 43rd Annual Conference & Career Expo, set for Sept. 14-18 in Chicago.

Who’s Eligible?

Eligible applicants must be:

  • U.S. residents
  • Over 18
  • A founder or business partner of a founder who is Black (of African descent). This person must own and maintain an equal stake in the startup.
  • An association member, or have at least one active association member on their Scale-Up Pitch Challenge team
  • The author and owner of the idea they’re pitching

Applicants must not pitch an idea that contains libelous, defamatory, or unlawful content, or infringes on anyone’s right of privacy.

Deadline:

The deadline to apply is July 26, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. EST.

 

9. Coalition to Back Black Businesses

What Is It? 

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.

Who’s Eligible?

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.

Deadline:

The application period is from September 2021 to October 2021. Grants will be awarded within two weeks after finalists are notified of the outcome.

 

10. Sephora Accelerate

What Is It?

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. 

Who’s Eligible?

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

Deadline:

The application period has closed for 2021. Check back in the fall of 2022.

 

Grants for Indigenous People

 

11. Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

What Is It?

This organization offers 10 two-year fellowships of $75,000 each to outstanding native knowledge holders and makers. These applicants must be engaged in meaningful work to benefit indigenous people.

Fellows will receive $50,000 to support their work during the first year and $25,000 in their second year. They also will attend three “fellow convenings,” and will get $5,000 in additional support activities and materials.

Who’s Eligible?

Applicants must have tribal affiliation with one of the following communities. They also must be able to show how their work will contribute to that community: 

  • Native Americans
  • Alaskan natives 
  • Native Hawaiian communities 

In addition, applicants must be in one of the following categories:

  • Cultural activists and leaders
  • Linguists and language preservationists
  • Artists 
  • Craftspeople
  • Designers
  • Writers
  • Storytellers
  • Media-makers
  • Curators
  • Conservators
  • Educators
  • Small business owners
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Researchers 
  • Food system workers 

Deadline:

The application deadline is July 13, 2021.

 

12. Native American Business Development Institute Grant

What Is It?

This grant helps tribes understand their economic risks in pursuing business, technology, or economic projects. Investors provide financial assistance to tribes to help them turn their ideas into reality.

Who’s Eligible?

Federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribes:

  • Bands
  • Villages
  • Nations
  • Communities 

Deadline:

Apply by July 2, 2021 (5 p.m. Alaska Time).

 

13. 2021 Fiscal Year Broad Agency Announcement American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Project 

What Is It?

These government grants are available through the U.S. Department of Commerce to minority business enterprises. They focus on the environment, natural resources, science and technology, and other forms of research development.

The estimated total amount of funding available through this program is $3.9 million. Approximately 13 entities will be awarded.

Who’s Eligible?

  • Native American tribal governments
  • Tribal entities
  • Alaska Native corporations 
  • Higher-education institutions
  • For-profit entities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • State and local government entities
  • Commercial organizations
  • Quasi-governmental entities 

Deadline:

The deadline to apply was set for June 30, 2021.

 

Grants for Women

 

14. The Amber Grant

What Is It?

The Amber Grant Foundation awards a $10,000 grant each month to help women who own businesses realize their dreams. The foundation announces winners on the 22nd of each month, to total 12 per year. At the close of the year, one of the 12 grant winners will receive an additional $25,000. 

Who’s Eligible?

Recipients must:

  • Lead women-owned businesses
  • Provide background on their businesses, including its opportunities and challenges
  • Be specific about plans for how the grant money would be used

Deadline:

The deadline to apply for the June award is June 30, 2021. Further grant opportunities will be available monthly after that.  

 

15. Backstage Capital

What Is It?

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. 

Who’s Eligible?

People who identify as women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+.

Deadline:

Applications are currently closed. The next application begins in September 2021. 

 

16. Chicago Foundation for Women

What Is It?

The foundation awards grants that range from $15,000 to $150,000 to support organizations in the Chicago metro area.

Who’s Eligible?

  • Women within the following counties in the Chicago metropolitan area…
    • Cook
    • DuPage
    • Kane
    • Lake
    • McHenry
    • Will
  • Applicants must explain how their organization or program reflects the core values of the Chicago Foundation for Women.

Deadline:

Applications are currently closed; new application cycles begin in the spring and fall.

Grants for Rural Businesses

 

17. Rural Relief Small Business Grants

What Is It?

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.

Who’s Eligible?

Small businesses that:

  • Are located in rural areas having a population of 50,000 or less
  • Have been impacted by COVID-19 

Deadline:

Applications are accepted in rounds. 

 

18. Rural Business Development Grants

What Is It?

This program is designed to provide technical assistance/training and development to small rural businesses with fewer than 50 new workers. These businesses make less than $1 million in gross revenue annually. There isn’t a maximum grant amount, but small grant requests take priority over higher grant amount requests.

Who’s Eligible?

  • Towns
  • Communities 
  • State agencies
  • Authorities
  • Nonprofit corporations
  • Higher education institutions
  • Federally recognized tribes
  • Rural cooperatives

Deadline:

  • Transportation systems: June 30, 2021
  • Coastal areas impacted by wildfires: July 6, 2021

Sources

 

  1. National Association for the Self-Employed 
  2. SoGal Foundation 
  3. LISC 
  4. Grants.gov YouTube
  5. Office of Minority Health 
  6. Comcast Rise 
  7. National Black MBA Association Inc. 
  8. First Nations Development Institute
  9. California State Controller's Office 
  10. U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs 
  11. USDA 
  12. Coalition to Back Black Businesses 
  13. Sephora Accelerate 
  14. Grants.gov 
  15. California State Controller's Office  
  16. Chicago Foundation for Women 
  17. Backstage Capital 
  18. WomensNet 

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