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Top Small Business Grants For Minorities

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Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Updated August 14, 2020
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When it comes to small business grants, the more niche you can go, the better your odds may be of being awarded one. One niche to explore? Minority small business grants. If you are a minority or a woman (or both), you can find a wealth of grants you may qualify for.

How Small Business Grants for Minorities Work

Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and Black minority business grants are designed to provide financial resources to groups of individuals who may otherwise find it difficult to get ahead in the business world. In addition to race, other minority groups, such as women,  members of the LGBTQ+ community, or individuals with a physical disability, may also qualify for grants for minority business owners. 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 to start or grow a business, including:
  • Startup costs
  • Equipment
  • Marketing
  • Payroll
  • Office space
  • New product line
Be aware that applying for small business grants for minorities will require some legwork, and some business owners simply don’t want to bother. But those willing to put in the effort, could be rewarded with free small business grants that help their business thrive.

Where to Find Federal Grants if You’re a Minority

Consider starting your search for grants with federal agencies, who offer a variety of grants each year, many of which target minorities specifically.

Grants.gov

Grants.gov is the grandaddy of government grants for minorities and others. You can search by department or eligibility. Keep in mind, deadlines come and go, so the database frequently has new grants to explore.In addition to its database of grants, you can also find resources to help you in applying for grants and track applications you have applied for. There is also a mobile application you can use to search and apply for grants.

USGrants.org

The USGrants.org grants database includes federal grants minorities may qualify for. You can browse grants by funding agencies or categories. There are hundreds of categories for grants here, from agriculture to arts to community development. You can also sign up for weekly grant updates.

USA Grant Applications

This is another resource for grants, including small business grants for minorities. To view grants, you must register with the website. 

GrantWatch

GrantWatch provides a database of grants from federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations and corporations.

Grants from Private Corporations and Nonprofits

In addition to federal, state, and local governments, corporations and nonprofits also offer small business grants to minorities.

Galaxy of Stars Grant

Galaxy of Stars is a directory of minority and women-owned businesses and offers a grant of $2,500 to start or grow a business.Qualifications:
  • Be a minority or woman in business or starting a business

First Nations Grantmaking

First Nations’ grantmaking program provides financial support as well as other resources to tribes and Native nonprofit organizations to support asset-based development efforts. Grants range from $2,500 to $30,000.Qualifications:
  • Vary, based on specific grant

American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (AIANNH) Projects

The Minority Business Development Agency provides up to $300,000 to projects that support job creation and retention, as well as economic impact for Tribal communities and businesses.Qualifications:
  • Indian Tribal governments, Tribal entities, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian entities, for-profit entities, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, commercial organizations, state and local government entities, and quasi-government entities

Grants for Minority Women

If you are a female entrepreneur on top of being a minority, you may qualify for specific business grants for minority women.

Enterprising Women of Color Grant Competition

This grant, open to women of color, aims to help these women build a business, secure contracts and capital, and increase employment opportunities through $1,500,000 in annual funding.Qualifications:
  • For-profit entities, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, commercial organizations, state and local entities, and quasi-government entities run by women of color

Asian Women Giving Circle

The Asian Women Giving Circle provides small business grants for women up to $15,000 to female Asian artists and groups in New York City. In 2020, the program awarded $67,500 to 11 recipients.Qualifications:
  • 501(c)(3) organizations or individual artists
  • Artists and collectives must apply under fiscal sponsorship by a 501(c)(3) organization
  • Projects must:
    • incorporate the arts in an integral way
    • highlight women’s leadership and/or central role
    • demonstrate a deep commitment to a specific community in NYC
  • Applicants can be at any stage in their careers but must have a track record of developed work 

Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards

The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards provide $7,500 to a Native artist.Qualifications:
  • Practicing Native artists who have demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to their art, engaging in their work for at least 10 years.
  • Enrolled member, or with proof of lineal descendancy of, a U.S. federally recognized tribe, a state recognized tribe, or be an Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian.
  • Open to artists of any medium, from visual to performing to literary, in both traditional and contemporary forms.
In addition to the grant options for minority women above, some business owners may also consider small business loans for women.

Applying for a Small Business Grant for Minorities

First, decide whether you want to do the work yourself or hire a grant writer. Grant writers are professionals with the necessary skills to put together an appealing application that can increase your odds of success. If you are awarded the grant, you can easily cover the cost.If you want to apply for grants yourself, start by reading through each that you’re interested in, paying careful 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 may also be asked what you plan to do with the funds, so be prepared to answer that question.Review your application carefully; you might consider having a colleague or friend review it as well to ensure it’s error-free and ready to go.Many grants may take months to come to a decision, so if you need money in the meantime, consider applying for small business loans.

Other Resources for Minority Business Owners

In addition to the above grants for minority business owners, there are other resources and training programs that 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

If you are open to a loan but don’t need a large amount, the SBA’s Microloan Program provides up to $50,000 to women, low income, veteran, and minority entrepreneurs, as well as other small businesses.

Operation Hope’s Small Business Development Program

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

SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program

While there are no specific SBA grants for minorities, you may want to look at the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program. Aimed at socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities (which can include minorities), the program provides assistance in applying for federal contracting opportunities as well as mentoring and business training.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

If you’d like local assistance understanding what your financing options are, or help winning new business or learning how to export, you may have an MBDA office near you.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

While not a grant specifically for minorities, this grant from FedEx is worth a mention. It awards small businesses looking to grow and scale their companies between $15,000 and $50,000 (plus FedEx print and business services) each year.

Veteran-Specific Resources

If you are also a veteran, realize that there are loans and small business grants for veterans you can explore in addition to the small business grants for minorities. There are also small business loan programs, like what StreetShares offers, that can help you find small business loans and lines of credit at low rates. You may also want to look at angel investments or venture capital for veterans like Hivers and Strivers.Learn about the financing options from Lantern's network of lenders that available to you.
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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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