According to a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research study conducted earlier this year, the number of Black business owners (and their businesses) plummeted in record numbers as COVID-19 ravaged the world. More importantly, it exposed the lack of resources and unfair playing field that has always existed for minority business owners. Though it shouldn’t have taken a worldwide health crisis to draw support for entrepreneurs who don’t have the budget of a global corporation, an almost immediate reaction from big-wig companies followed. And soon enough, a renewed interest in already existing funds and Black business grant opportunities followed.
Besides the timely pandemic-related funds launched by Facebook, SheaMoisture, TikTok and more, there is an impressive number of grants, incubation programs, and alternative forms of monetary support, that you don’t have to pay back BTW, made specifically for Black women and other minority groups. Your needs will depend on your circumstances. Some businesses may be looking for a temporary boost to their bank account and long-term mentorship. Others just quit their day job and are as novice as it gets. The following list is just a sampling of resources for small business owners. Nonetheless, I suggest bookmarking this page so one, you don’t forget to advocate for yourself, and two, so you can more easily access any of them if you happen to miss a deadline or plan to apply in the future.
SoGal teamed up with a group of successful beauty brands and retailers (Winky Lux, bluemercury, and more) to provide several $5K and $10K grants to Black and/or nonbinary entrepreneurs.
Beyonce’s BeyGood Foundation teamed up with the NAACP to create this program that provides grants to Black-owned businesses around the U.S. A second round was recently announced and applications open soon.
DigitalUndivided’s Do You Fund provides micro-grants to Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs.
In addition to two all-expenses-paid trips to program events (including one for demoing your product), a “business boot camp” and mentorship opportunities, the Sephora Accelerate program also rewards beauty brand founders with a grant and possible additional funding.
Register for an account with this federal database to search and apply for federal business grants in your state.
The National Association for the Self-Employed Organization offers grants for up to $4,000 to monthly and annual members. Note: members must be in good standing for three consecutive months. Annual members can apply immediately and monthly members can apply after 90 days.
The virtual BGC community includes webinars, virtual pitch practice, business referrals and funding opportunities.
For those who live in rural communities, this program provides funding of varying amounts to small business owners with fewer than 50 workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue.
FedEx’s annual small business contest awards money to a number of U.S.-based small businesses to help scale their profits.
The Minority Business Development Agency runs a series of grant competitions exclusively for minority business owners.
In addition to its renowned coaching services and workshops, IFundWomen also provides several grant opportunities for women-owned businesses. IFundWomen of Color was created specifically for assisting early-stage entrepreneurs.
The National Black MBA Association hosts a pitch competition for its members annually with the goal of connecting winners to potential investors. Oh, and there are also cash prizes.
Hello Alice is a free database for entrepreneurs at every stage who are looking for grants and other money opps.
If you’re a military veteran who owns a small business, this website is a notable resource for training programs and funding opportunities.
The Amber Grant has been in existence since 1998 and every month, awards $10,000 to a small business owner who is automatically eligible for a year-end grant of $25K.
The U.S. Small Business Association’s PRIME Program provides several loans and grants in varying amounts to small business owners.
If your business has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, Operation HOPE is currently offering mini emergency grants in any amount up to $500.
By the way, don’t forget to register for BlogHer Biz, a monthlong series of virtual (and free!) workshops that will prepare you for the big leagues, whether you’re a newbie small business owner, a blogger hoping to get more website traffic, or an influencer who wants to master their elevator pitch. In other words, we’re celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month all month long. Learn more here.