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Top Small Business Grants for Minorities

Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated December 21, 2021
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Small-business grants for minority-owned businesses can make a difference.Here we will share how small business grants for minorities work, seven places you can find these grants, whether there are federal small business grants for minorities, and how to apply for a small business grant. We'll also provide several other resources for minority business owners.

How Small Business Grants for Minorities Work

Minority business grants are for people who identify as Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Latinx, Native American, Black, multiracial, and other non-white races or ethnicities. They are designed to provide financial resources to individuals who may otherwise find it difficult to get ahead in the business world. The funds granted do not have to be paid back the way a loan would. Depending on the source, this money can be used for a variety of purposes, including:
  • Startup costs
  • Equipment
  • Marketing
  • Payroll
  • Office space
  • New product line
Applying for small business grants for minorities (and any other type of grant) will likely require some legwork. But those willing to put in the effort could be rewarded with free small business grants intended to help their businesses thrive.Recommended: How to Get a Small Business Grant

Where to Find Small Business Grants for Minorities

Our list of small business grants for minorities is meant to give you a jumping-off point. However, new grants for minority business owners are created all the time, and we recommend doing additional searches of your own.

1. NAACP Black-Owned Business Grants

The NAACP partners with other companies and organizations to offer several grants. Since the group is continually looking for new partners, small business grants for Black entrepreneurs change from time to time — so keep an eye out for new ones.A good place to start is the Hello Alice and NAACP partnership site, where you can find a running list of Black minority business grants.Qualifications vary by grant, though all require that businesses be Black-owned.

2. GrantWatch

GrantWatch provides a database of small business grants that allows you to search by grant topics. When using the group’s search function, you can select “small business” as the recipient and “BIPOC” as the category to home in on grants designed specifically for minority business owners.As GrantWatch rounds up thousands of grants, including those for nonprofits, individuals, and small businesses, there isn't one standard set of qualifications.

3. Galaxy Grants

Galaxy of Stars is a community of minority and women business owners offering support to entrepreneurs. Additionally, they provide a grant opportunity for minority business owners worth $3,750 to start or grow a company. Unlike many other grant options, you only need to fill out a brief form with the absolute basics to enter.They offer additional grants or financial awards on occasion, so bookmark this site and check back from time to time.Qualifications:
  • You must be a minority and/or woman who owns or is about to start a business
  • You need to be at least 18 years old
  • You need to be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • You need to be a Galaxy of Stars member
Recommended: Small Business Grants for Women

4. First Nations Development Institute

The First Nations Development Institute offers grant opportunities to Native Americans in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and American Samoa. Their grants change throughout the year, and not all grants are specifically for small business owners, but some can support small business ventures or business-minded students.Two such grants are:
  • Native Youth Business Plan Competition: High school, college, and university students present a business plan. They could win up to $2,500, travel to the final competition, and network with adult Native American business owners. Applicants don't need to be actively starting a business.
  • Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants to Support Native Farmers & Ranchers: Native American farmers and ranchers can apply for grants that will support them in various business areas, such as training, finding capital, and engaging with opportunities. No matter the use, the money must improve conditions for Native American farms and ranches.
While each grant has unique qualifications, all of them require the following (unless otherwise expressly stated):
  • Applicant needs to serve rural or reservation communities
  • Be part of a Federal- and State-Recognized Tribal Government
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Native 7871 organization, or fiscally sponsored organization for Native communities
  • Individuals, schools, and organizations must be Native- or tribal-run

5. SheaMoisture x Fearless Fund

The SheaMoisture x Fearless Fund provides money to businesses led by women of color. They have a list of grants aimed at helping WOC-led businesses recover from the pandemic. The Shea Moisture Fund and Fearless Fund also offer Black minority business grants independent of each other, including the SheaMoisture Salon Innovation Grant.

SheaMoisture Salon Innovation Grant

The SheaMoisture Salon Innovation Grant for Black business owners in the beauty industry strives to help recipients scale up. Five winners will receive $10,000 each.Qualifications:
  • Must be a licensed stylist
  • Business must be at least one year old (even if not full time)
  • Must have revenue and a business plan
  • Must be in the U.S. or Washington, D.C.
  • Business owner must be at least 18 years old
  • Company must be at least 51% Black-owned
  • Company can't currently use mass retail distribution

6. Comcast RISE

Comcast RISE grants offer all sorts of assistance to Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indigenous, and other business owners of color. A $10,000 grant is available to qualifying applicants. Qualifications:
  • Business owner must be a person of color
  • Company must be in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or Washington, D.C. (as of 2021)
  • Business must be "G-rated" (e.g., no adult services or marijuana dispensaries, even where legal), non-religious, and apolitical, among other restrictions

7. Visa She's Next Black Women-Owned Business Grant Program

The Visa She's Next Black Women-Owned Business Grant Program offers the chance for 60 Black women business owners in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Miami, Chicago, and Atlanta to obtain a year-long mentorship and $10,000. This program is part of the IFundWomen organization, which has a universal application that automatically submits to nearly all their funding opportunities.

Are There Federal Grants for Minority Small Business Owners?

Contrary to popular belief, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) states the federal government does not offer personal grants, including business grants.This could be confusing, as many searches for "small business grants for minorities" lead to MBDA. There are MBDA grants, but they're typically for free professional development opportunities or educational grants.Some states offer government grants for minorities, even though the federal government doesn't. Your local MBDA center may also be able to help find these.Recommended: Small Business Grant vs Loan: 7 Differences

How Do I Apply for a Small Business Grant for Minorities?

Small business grant applications vary widely. Some grant-giving groups require full grant proposals, while others only ask for a small amount of information.Applying for grants isn't always fast or easy. In fact, the University of Texas at Dallas recommends giving yourself at least six weeks to create a single grant proposal. Many grant proposals are in-depth and run for pages upon pages, so you need a detail-oriented team member to create the application.First, decide if you want to hire a grant writer. Grant writers are professionals with the necessary skills to put together an appealing application. If you want to apply for grants yourself, pay attention to qualifications and deadlines. You may be asked to include your business plan or financial documents, so allow time to gather and polish those. You'll likely also need to explain what you plan to do with the funds.Review your application carefully. You might consider having a colleague or friend review it as well.Many grants may take months to come to a decision, so if you need money in the meantime, consider applying for small business loans.Recommended: 10 Tips for Grant Writing for Small Businesses

Other Resources for Minority Business Owners

In addition to the above grants for minority business owners, other resources and training programs could help.

National Minority Supplier Development Council

The National Minority Supplier Development Council strives to provide business opportunities for certified minority businesses through training, networking, and funding opportunities.

SBA Microloan Program

The SBA's microloan program provides up to $50,000 to women, low-income, veteran, and minority entrepreneurs, as well as other small business owners. These can be used to start or expand your small business but not to purchase real estate or pay off current debts. The average interest rate is 8% to 13%, and all loans must be repaid within six years.Head to the SBA’s Lender Match portal to get started.Recommended: Tips for Starting a Small Business

Operation Hope’s Small Business Development Program

Operation Hope’s Small Business Development Program is a 12-week intensive course providing training in business basics like financial counseling, personal development, and access to professional services.

SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program

The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program aims to help socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities by assisting in applying for federal contracting opportunities. They also offer mentoring and business training.

Small Business Loans

If you need funding fast, you may want to look into different types of small business loans. While banks typically have strict qualification requirements, such as at least two years in business and a minimum amount of revenue per year, online lenders tend to be more flexible, as well as faster to fund (though rates are typically higher).With Lantern by SoFi's online lending tool, you can access multiple loan offers from small business lenders with just one application and no commitment. Compare rates from top small business lenders who match your qualifications and needs as a borrower.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. She enjoys writing about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
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