Women and minority entrepreneurs face particular challenges. These specialized grants can help bridge the gap | Company
Various studies have shown that women and minority entrepreneurs are less likely to receive conventional bank business loans than their counterparts. Similar headwinds are cited for government-backed loans, such as those from the Small Business Administration. On average, women and minorities who can get a loan are offered lower amounts. Unsurprisingly, women and minority-owned business owners are more likely to express fears about permanent closure.
Some organizations recognize these drawbacks and provide grants. Obtaining grants, especially donations aimed at minorities, is one solution to help close this equity gap. Below is a partial list of offerings available specifically to women and minority entrepreneurs.
Grants available to all small business owners
The Grants.gov website can help you find grants for various for-profit small businesses. You may be wondering if your business is small enough to receive a grant. Federal programs define “small” as millions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of employees, depending on the industry.
The FedEx Small Business Grant competition helps for-profit businesses with fewer than 100 employees. You can view past winners on the FedEx website. Its grant guidelines aren’t well-defined, but FedEx is looking for an inspirational story. Ten winners are selected each year, with prizes ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. A bonus is that submitting your application forces you to tell your story, which you can share with your customers and community.
The National Association of the Self-Employed’s Growth Grant Program allows members to receive a $4,000 development grant. Recipients are determined by reviewing business needs, anticipated expenses, and whether the gift will be useful to the business. Grants can be used for marketing, advertising, hiring and facility expansion.
Grants for women-owned businesses
GrantsForWomen.org is a grant database for women. Not all grants require a woman to be a business owner.
Click on the “Get Funded” link in the iFundWomen grant application database to browse multiple grant opportunities with varying eligibility requirements. I heard about iFundWomen through Visa’s She’s Next grants, which are available to black women-owned businesses. The business must have operated for two years with a minimum income of $24,000. It is also possible to promote crowdsourcing efforts.
The Ladies Who Launch Launch Program is offering a cash grant of $10,000. The Launch Program was founded in response to COVID-19 to support women and non-binary entrepreneurs. In addition to the gift, the program provides six months of educational resources and mentoring. It will also help women obtain certification from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Certified employees are connected to their network and can benefit from targeted business opportunities.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative award is open to businesses led and owned by women. Candidates can come from any industry as long as the company aims to have a social or environmental impact. Grants range from $30,000 to $100,000. Recipients also receive mentorship and resources that coincide with reaching their goals.
The Tory Burch Fellowship Program supports female founders with a $5,000 grant and a one-year scholarship designed for the recipients’ business needs.
Amber Grants are for female entrepreneurs who plan to start a small business. Each month, a woman-owned business is selected for a $10,000 grant. Of these monthly recipients, one per year receives a $25,000 grant. Recipients are chosen by evaluating the passionate story, vision and intent of use of the entrepreneurs.
The Ms. Foundation for Women helps women-owned businesses that promote the advancement of women and girls. The foundation organizes fundraisers and contributes to the overall financial health.
Grants for BIPOC entrepreneurs
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses supports Black-owned businesses. It hands out $5,000 grants to applicants, and a select few receive $25,000 enhancement gifts. Beneficiaries receive mentoring and training.
Comcast RISE is a multi-year commitment to provide marketing, creative, media and technology services to small businesses. You are eligible to apply if the organization is 51% owned and operated by a person who identifies as a person of color, including Black, Native American, Hispanic, and Asian American owners or a woman.
The Minority Business Development Agency is part of the US Department of Commerce. Minority-owned businesses can access business experts and help raise capital. The agency will host its annual National Minority Business Development Week conference from September 18-24, 2022. It will be a hybrid conference, so you will have easy access to online information sessions.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council manages the Business Consortium Fund. The fund provides advisory services to minority-owned businesses, including U.S. citizens of Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, and Native American descent. If a business owner qualifies, they will receive assistance to receive loans from the Small Business Administration’s 8(A) Business Development Program.
Asian American and Pacific Islander business owners can subscribe to National Ace Grants alerts. The annual AAPI Strong Conference will take place September 19-21, 2022 in Washington, DC
Grants for Berkshire-based businesses
The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire’s Small Business Relief Program is open to all small businesses. Particular emphasis is placed on underserved businesses, including but not limited to businesses owned by low-income people, women, and members of minority groups. Among other benefits, the CDCSB helps entrepreneurs obtain financing.
Mindy, owner of the Berkshire Camino touring company based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, worked with the CDCSB. Mindy shared, “My consultant’s insightful insights helped me identify the financial resources available to small business owners to help me grow and develop. She also helped me finalize a business plan, which will allow Berkshire Camino to obtain financing for a marketing budget. Working with the CDCSB and the Small Business Program feels like a giant leap in my entrepreneurial growth. With the help of the CDCSB, I am creating something that did not exist outside of my mind and I am determined to make it a success.
Many of the grants are paired with consulting opportunities. Having money is one thing; spending it in a way that gives you the best possible return on investment is quite another. The CDCSB helps small businesses create business plans, develop expansion initiatives, fine-tune marketing, advertising, accounting and technology support. At no cost to the company, the CDCSB can be a proactive and objective partner that some women and minority owners can benefit from.