Business Grants for Black Business Owners and So Much More
Are you one of the millions of black business owners in the US? Or are you starting a business? Money is always going to be an issue. What if you could get what is essentially free money? That’s what grants are (for the most part).
Looking for Grants for Black Business Owners – and Other Options
How do you find the best options for you? How do you know if you need to be looking for grants or business loans? We recommend that you explore every option. This is because it will probably take a combination of funding options to fully fund your business.
Funding and Grants for Black Business Owners
There are grants for black business owners, but not necessarily for them exclusively. Still, there are other funding choices out there. Loans, crowdfunding, and even angel investors are all viable options. More on those later.
Business Grants for Black Business Owners
The government and private organizations want to GIVE you money! They are highly competitive and rarely enough to fund a business on their own. Still, grants are a great way to supplement other business funding. Also, they are still worth the effort to apply. There really isn’t anything to lose except time – it’s free money. So here are a few you can start with.
The Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is operated by the US Department of Commerce. It is dedicated to helping minority-owned businesses access the resources they need to grow and succeed. The MBDA is for both men and women. Grant competitions are regularly changing.
Visit the MBDA’s website for information on all current opportunities. Currently, the MBDA helps its members apply for grants via Grants.gov. This involves help with how to apply for government grants. See also mbda.gov/grants.
The MBDA oversees the Enterprising Women of Color (EWOC) Initiative. The initiative focuses on the fast-expanding minority women entrepreneur population as a revenue generators for families, communities, and the nation. Minority women are the fastest growing population of entrepreneurs. While many women are making tremendous strides in the business world, they still face obstacles as entrepreneurs.
MBDA serves as an advocate for women’s economic empowerment. They do so by supporting efforts to advance women’s equality and promote women economic advancement programming. The vision of EWOC is to ensure women worldwide to reach their economic potential. See also mbda.gov.
The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund
The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund is new. It was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund offers $10,000 to successful applicants. The fund is specifically focused on providing grants to business owners of color, women-owned businesses, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. See also lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/small-business-relief-grants/verizon-small-business-recovery-fund
National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
Also known as NBMBAA, the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge has cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. The association states its purpose is to help newer businesses that have an African American ownership. This is a pitch competition for startup businesses. See also nbmbaa.org/scale-up-pitch-challenge.
Black businesswomen have even more options open to them. The Amber Grant awards one prize of $10,000 per month to a woman-owned business. One of the recipients also receives an extra $25,000 grant at the end of the year. Applicants only need to tell their story and turn it in with a $15 application fee. See also ambergrantsforwomen.com/get-an-amber-grant/apply-now
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
Black businesswomen can also try for a Cartier award. This award is for women and there’s no specification that a woman be a member of a minority group. The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award has a regional category award and a science and technology award. The regional award is $100,000 for first place, with $30,000 for second and third place.
The award goes to three women from each of seven international regions. So this award is a grant to 21 female business owners from around the world each year. Women business owners who are just getting started may qualify. Look over the complete application for more information. See also cartierwomensinitiative.com/about-us
Cartier Science and Technology Pioneer Award and Fellowship
The Cartier Science and Technology Pioneer award is new as of 2021. With this award, three more women impact entrepreneurs at the forefront of scientific and technological innovation will be recognized for a new thematic award. Open to women entrepreneurs from any country and sector, this award will highlight disruptive solutions built around unique, protected, or hard-to-reproduce technological or scientific advances.
The laureate will be awarded a $100,000 grant. Each of the two remaining finalists will receive a $30,000 grant.
Cartier also offers a fellowship program. The fellowship is an educational program geared towards the 24 fellows selected each year. This program aims to equip the fellows with the necessary skills to grow their business. Also, it helps them to build their leadership capacity by drawing upon the experience and expertise of an array of academics, practitioners, industry experts, and entrepreneurs.
The fellowship isn’t exactly a grant. But while it’s not a monetary award, the mentoring and networking opportunities could be worthwhile to apply for. See also cartierwomensinitiative.com/fellowship-programme.
The Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Grant
Are you also part Native American? Then check out this grant.
The NABDI Grant is funded by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. It provides funding to business owners of Native American or Alaskan Native descent. In 2019, it gave over $727,000 to 21 indigenous tribes. So this was to support economic feasibility studies for specific economic development projects or startups.
For 2020, NABDI planned to award 20-25 grants. There is no minimum or maximum amount of funding you can request. But most awards range from $25,000-$75,000. They only fund projects for one year at a time. So this is when they expect projects to be completed. To apply for a NABDI grant for your proposed economic development feasibility study, go to bia.gov/service/grants/tedc/apply-nabdi-grant.
For black business owners also with Native American heritage, it doesn’t stop there. There is more available via the Bureau of Indian Affairs. You can get financing from the federal government through the Indian Affairs branch. A person can fill out an application for up to $500,000. But business entities and tribal enterprises may apply for more.
Potential borrowers can apply with any lending institution. They just have to use the application for Indian Affairs. There are more requirements if you use the funds for construction, renovation, or refinancing. In general, you must supply a list of collateral, a credit report, and an analysis of business operations. See also bia.gov/as-ia/ieed/loan-guaranty-insurance-and-interest-subsidy-program.
The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund
If your business is in the arts, and you’re also of South Asian descent, then check out this fund. The fund is run by the India Center Foundation. It supports US-based South Asian arts workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund will disburse grants up to $2,000, depending on financial need to US-based arts workers of South Asian descent. This includes those in the performing arts, film, visual arts, and literature. Also, you must have heritage from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Initial funding for the program is $20,000, but the India Center Foundation is soliciting donations to expand the grant program.
Eligibility for The South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund
To be eligible, applicants must be of South Asian descent. Also, they must work in the arts and demonstrate loss of income due to COVID-19. Also, applicants must be:
- at least 21 years old
- not enrolled in a degree program, and
- can receive taxable income in the US
You can put grant funding toward any artistic project you can develop, create, and present within 4-6 weeks of funding. See also theindiacenter.us/artsfund.
Grants from the Federal Government
Grants.gov is a running list of over 1,000 available federal government grants. The website compiles grants from over two dozen government agencies. These include the SBA, USDA, and the US Department of Commerce. To find a grant right for your business, use the Search Grants tool on the website. You can sort through the list by keyword or opportunity number.
First, locate the grant you wish to apply for. Then click the opportunity number for more detail. There, you will find more information about the specific grant plus any documentation you need. To apply for a grant through Grants.gov, first register. Then, download an application package for the grant you want. Be ready for a lengthy process. See also grants.gov.
An Alternative to Grants for Black Business Owners: Crowdfunding
If you would rather not rely on grants so much to fund your business, crowdfunding is a viable option. Keep in mind, not everyone with a campaign on a crowdfunding site succeeds. More unique products and services tend to do better. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular crowdfunding platforms to use. Some platforms may have higher success rates.
An Alternative to Grants for Black Business Owners: Angel Investors
Angel investors are informal investors. Essentially, you sell a part of your business to them. But they tend to not want too much of your business. Also, they won’t pass by more conventional businesses, like crowdfunding and venture capital. Hence they can also supplement or replace grants.
An Alternative to Grants for Black Business Owners: Loans
If grants aren’t an option, loans might also work.
Business Center for New Americans
Also an immigrant? Then try the Business Center for New Americans. They offer a pilot program for microloans up to $75,000. They work with immigrants, refugees, women, and other minority entrepreneurs. The goal is to help minority business owners who have not been able to get traditional financing. Terms are 3% interest. Loan repayment term goes up to a year. See also accompanycapital.org.
Grants for Black Business Owners: Takeaways
There are several options for grants for minority business owners. Black entrepreneurs should apply for whichever grants they feel they are most likely to get. Other options for funding include crowdfunding, angel investors, and loans. Credit Suite can help you get the funding you need.