As a minority small business owner, it can be challenging to find footing in a crowded marketplace. Finding funding through conventional means may not always be possible.
However, one of the easiest ways to get funding is through grants for minority small business owners. Not only are general-purpose grants available for business owners, but there is a wide selection of grant opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to help with success.
Prepare Before You Apply
Before getting started on minority grant applications, you will likely have to meet a set of eligibility criteria. The most obvious is minority status, company size, and potentially revenue, but also, some small business grants may require having a small business insurance plan.
The best way you can guarantee your business’ future is to ensure you’re properly insured in the event of a disaster. A small business insurance plan can be the difference between a single day of bad luck putting you out of business or rebounding smoothly and operating successfully for years to come.
You’ll need several types of insurance. Property insurance is key in the event of damage to your place of operation. If a customer is injured on the property and sues, liability insurance will cover any damages or court costs. Workers’ compensation is arguably the most critical insurance, as it protects you and your employees in the case of an on-the-job injury and is mandated in most states.
This massive government-run site is one of the largest opportunities for small business owners. With over 1,000 grant offerings, including a category for minority small business owners, there is likely a grant that fits your needs ideally. The website offers a search engine for grants, and many are highly specific.
This should be your first stop when searching for a grant, as there are relatively few restrictions. The publicly-funded site is open to both businesses and individuals who meet the qualifications. That means it’s perfect for someone looking to open a new business.
USDA Community Connects Grant
Starting a small business is always challenging, but doing it in a rural area without the infrastructure needed for support can be an uphill battle. Having high-speed internet can make or break a business today, as it’s necessary to run an online presence and communicate with customers. The Community Connect grant will provide businesses with funding to set up their internet infrastructure and is open to all incorporated businesses and legal entities and any run by federally recognized tribes.
SBA 8(a) Program
This program is run directly by the Small Business Administration and is explicitly aimed at business owners who are socially and economically disadvantaged (Native Americans, African Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Hispanic Americans, etc.). It must be majority-owned by people who fit under this qualification and have a personal net worth of $750,000 or less.
The first step to receiving benefits from this program is to get certified on the SBA website. This certification lasts nine years and allows you to participate in a mentorship program run by successful small-business owners.
FedEx Small Business Grant
This is one of the most competitive grants, privately run by the powerful shipping company responsible for transporting goods for some of America’s biggest companies—FedEx. It holds an entry period every February and March before narrowing it down to the top 100 by the end of March. Twelve finalists receive a grant, including one receiving a $100,000 grand prize. The website currently features the candidates’ profiles, and the contest is open to anyone with 50 or fewer employees and less than $5 million in annual revenue.
National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
Only open to entrepreneurs of Black or African descent, this contest is run by a business association and urges entrepreneurs to pitch their idea to a panel of experts in hopes of getting an early investment. The winner will receive $50,000, with three smaller prizes available, and the website offers a look at past pitch rounds and winners. This opportunity runs in cycles, so keep an eye out for the next call for submissions.
Asian Women Giving Circle
This is an all-volunteer group run by Asian-American women offering small grants to products founded by Asian women focusing on arts and culture. They believe funding can be a form of activism, and so their investment choices lean progressive. While this group doesn’t offer the grand prize of some higher-stakes grants, it’s easy to apply on the website, and they’ve funded over a hundred projects.
Get Funded Today
If you’ve run up against a brick wall trying to get funded, don’t give up. These grants offer funding opportunities for minority business owners, both inclusively and exclusively. Many are open now, so why not set yourself up for greater financial stability today?