How to get government grants for minority business is crucial information you must know if you need financial support from the US government. At this time, in the US minority communities, the number of the business is increasing.
This condition is beneficial for the US government to increase economic growth. For more than ten years, minority business owners created up to 50% of the 2.000.000 new businesses in the US and opened 4.7 million jobs. Even better, there are up to 4 million minority-owned businesses in the US that generated sales for almost $700 billion per year.
It is significant economic growth, but no one can ignore the disparity does exist when we talk about capital access, contracting opportunities, or other business development opportunities related to minority-owned companies. Minorities covered 32% of the US population, and minority business ownership is 18% of the population.
Besides, the Minority Business Development Agency, known as MBDA, reported recently that even though the growth of the minority-owned business has reached 35%, the average gross receipt for the companies decreased by about 16%.
We can say that the numbers of minority businesses are a sign of optimism and hope. Their presence is very promising for the future. However, they need something to encourage and strengthen their presence as a minority business community.
For this reason, it is important to make sure that all small businesses have the right to access federal contracts, access capital, and get technical assistance. Those priorities are still on the top of the list of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the US.
Grants for Minority-Owned Business
Gladly, the local, state, and federal government agencies provide grants for minority businesses. Alternatively, you can use grants from non-profit and private organizations. Here is the list of government grants for the minority business:
1. How to Get Government Grants for Minority Business from Grants.gov
One of the best sites on how to get government grants for minority businesses is by visiting Grants.gov. The federal operates this website to offer up to 1,000 grant opportunities, including small and minority business grants.
Not only the Department of Commerce provides the grant, but also the U.S. Small Business Administration. Each grant has different purposes and amounts. You can search for the available grants and then find the best option that matches your business. Because the government agencies provide these grants, you must meet the strict eligibility criteria.
How to get government grants for minority business from Grant.gov is easy. Before applying for grants from this site, you must have a nine-digit identification number from Dun & Bradstreet, known as a DUNS number. Once you obtained the number, you can register as a business owner through System Award Management, a government-operated site. Next, you can start the application for grants you can find at Grants.gov.
2. The USDA
Do you have a small business in a rural area? Well, you can try the USDA grant. Even though it is not limited to minority business owners, you can apply for the USDA Rural Business Development Program.
The term “rural area” in this grant means that you are running a small business in a region with minority communities as the highest contributor to economic growth.
There are two kinds of grants available from the USDA. Business can request their funding amount, but if you want to get high priority for the grant, apply for smaller amounts of funding.
You can use the grant for developing your business, funding things to improve the life of the community, offering feasibility studies, training leadership, or anything related to strategic planning. Furthermore, there are enterprise grants available to support pollution control, transportation, land acquisition, and also the cost of training.
If you want to know how to get government grants for minority businesses, specifically for this program, you must have 50 or fewer employees. Besides, your business must generate under $1 million of gross revenue. The last important requirement is you are operating your business in an eligible rural place.
During the application, the USDA Rural Development’s offices in your state may ask you to provide specific details of your business finances and operations. This is important as part of the application.
3. The Black Black Businesses
American Express, AIG Foundation, Altice USA, ADP, Dow, and the S&P Global Foundation worked together to create The Coalition to Black Black Businesses. These corporations have a big effort to provide money for the minority-operated business.
If your business can meet their criteria, you can get $5,000 grants including mentorship and training. Additionally, if your small business is promising, then you will get $25,000 for the enhancement grants.
The Coalition Black Black Businesses Grant is only for a specific business owner, the Black-owned small business in economically vulnerable sites. Your business must employ three to 20 people.
During the application process, you can provide your business name, industry information, business contact, and zip code. It is the way to express your interest. If you become the grant finalist, they will contact you and you must complete a full application, including sending a W-9 form, EIN (Employee Identification Number), and other information about your business. The application for 2022 has closed, so you must follow their updates back in 2023.
4. How to Get Government Grants for Minority Business – National Association Grants
The National Association for the Self-Employed provides grants for general small business owners. Therefore, you can use it as a great source to run your own organization and grow your business. This program is also available for the growing population of business owners, in terms of color.
From this program, NASE provides more than $4,000 for small business owners. This organization has provided almost $1 million only for grant programs since 2006. If you are eligible as a business owner, then you can use the grant for marketing, hiring employees, adding facilities to your business, advertising, and other needs.
Before applying for this NASE program, it is important to become a member of the organization. Make sure that you are in good standing. You will have to submit the details on the way you will spend the grant and the potential impact on your business and its growth. Also, submit the application immediately before the end of the application periods, which are offered throughout the year.
5. FedEx Small Business Grant
Back in 2012, FedEx released its annual program, “Small Business Grant Contest”. At that time, the company contributed a $1.5 million cash award for up to 100 small businesses. The available grants are more than $50,000 in funds.
The goal of this program is to provide funds for small businesses so they can grow and develop. Additionally, FedEx Office offers $4,000 in credit for business and print services. The top winners are very specific, including a minority-owned business to get an extra $10,000 grant.
This contest program is available to small businesses that have been available for at least 6 months, run their business for less than 99 employes, use shipping services, and use a FedEx account.
As the applicant, you must submit the details of your business and the way you will use the awarded money if you got it. For the details of your business information, tell the revenue and the industry information. If you want to apply for this grant, sign up to get a notification when the application is available.
6. Fast Break
LegalZoom launched this program, and it is supported by the NBA, NBA G League, and WNBA. This is only for small businesses by providing $4 million in grants for up to 5,000 small businesses.
This program concerns businesses operated by minority and disadvantaged communities, including people of color.
These $10,000 grants have an additional $500 in legal services from LegalZoom. The grants support businesses that have been running for at least 6 months. Meanwhile, the annual revenue of your small business can be under $1 million. You must also have a business bank account.
The grants support new businesses to complete tasks related to legal assistance. It can be registering for trademarks or filing as a corporation.
The application for Fast Break is under the review of the Accion Opportunity Fund. It is a non-profitable organization with a high commitment to financial inclusivity. Registration is open during the NBA season and the process to apply for the grant requires the submission of tax returns. Other than that, you must provide the identification as the business owner, and your bank statement, and complete the W9.
7. SBIR grant
The SBIR grant (Small Business Innovation Research) and Small Business Technology Transfer, known as the SBTT grant are available to support a small business with the opportunity to start research for the federal government.
This program is very competitive with the goal to push small businesses, especially for technological and research development.
If you have a small business and just start it by collaborating with a nonprofitable research group to develop a particular technology, you can use this grant to get money.
Both SBIR and SBTT grants are from the U.S. Small Administration. How to get government grants for minority businesses from those programs means you should check this website.
8. Kinetic Business Black Business
To stand for Black-owned small business, Windstream provided grants for more than $2500 from Kinetic Business Program. This grant is great only for a specific location. If you want to meet the qualification, make sure your business is in one of the areas:
- Charlotte, North California
- Lexington, Kentucky
Your business also must follow the requirement below:
- Your business is growing with less than 26 employees
- Not in bankruptcy proceedings
- Not a non-profitable organization, CBD store, gun store, adult entertainment business, liquor store, pawn shop, check-cashing agency
If you get a grant, your business must meet these qualifications for a one-year grant period. Besides, you can apply on behalf of one business. The previous recipients are not qualified to reapply.
9. NBMBAA Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
The National Black MBA Association provides this grant as a challenge to support members with a valuable sum of business financing. The funds are from successful investors. Here are the following prizes for the eligible applicant:
- First prize – $50,000
- Second prize – $10,000
- Third prize – $7,500
Besides, there is a People’s Choice award for $1,000 that is chosen by the general public. This grant is only available for NBMMA members. As the applicant, you must represent your business with at least the owner of the business is Black, and the business is still in the first stage of development.
Since it is Scale-Up Pitch Challenge, it means that you must follow a pitching process. It means that you as the entrant must explain your business to a panel of judges. Make sure that your pitch discusses the following points:
- Tell the target market of your business
- The value of the service or products
- What sets your products apart from rivals
- How it will get revenue
- How much revenue do you expect in the first year
You will have three minutes to explain your initial pitch, together with a PowerPoint presentation. Once completed the pitch segment, you must follow the three-minute Q&A segment with the judges.
10. Asian Women Giving Circle
From a group of Asian women entrepreneurs, Asian Women Giving Circle now becomes a source of support. This grant is for other Asian women with the commitment to start a small business.
This project provides grants for each year. The maximum grant is $15,000. The eligible small business is run by an Asian American woman. Your business must have the relevant goal with the program. It means that you must share arts and culture to increase the social and economic situation of Asian American women, including families.
11. Sephora Accelerate Grant
The concern of this grant is on women of color, who are doing great things in the field of beauty.
First, the applicant will get a six-month of all-expenses-paid travel for a business “boot camp”. During this trip, they will get mentorship from industry leaders and join in workshops in the following field:
- Product development
- Investment strategy
- Supply chain operations
- Inventory planning
Upon completion of this program, the winner of this grant will have their products on the shelves of Sephora stores all over the world.
Additionally, the winner of this grant will get a small financial award. Even more, the grantee will get the opportunity to secure more financial support, depending on how their product’s quality and achievement in the store.
12. Google for Startups Black Founders
To help the new black small business grow, Google provides you with an opportunity to get $100,000 in cash and get more help in the way of Google Cloud and Google ads. Google offers Black Founders Fund for the Startup business or programs.
13. First Nations Development Insitute
With the dedication to improving the living situations of Native American communities, the First Nations Development Institute offers this program periodically. There are several grants available from this program every year.
As an organization, they have awarded up to $43 million only in grants to support the development of areas where Native American peoples and tribes live.
14. Native American Business Development Institute
The institute award provides a grant per year, with the range from $25,000 to $75,000. Per year, the institute shared 20-35 grant opportunities.
It is important to check their official website. By following the updates from the website, you can get the latest grant opportunities.
Other Grants for Small Business
Sometimes, small business grants are not the best answer for everyone. The grants are available with a specific goal. Eventually, the eligibility restrictions are very specific. Therefore, the application process is usually very competitive.
If you need more flexible solutions, then you can take the alternatives to the grants. Usually, the alternative options have general requirements, easier application, and fewer restrictions. However, most of the alternative options require you to repay it since they are available as loans, not grants.
- SBA microloans – This program is from the Small Business Association in form of microloans for more than $50,000. Outside non-profits or organizations typically offer microloans.
- Business credit cards – Creating a business credit card provides your business with a line of credit that can be useful. You can use it to pay for your business expenses.
- Business line of credit – This alternative is quite similar to a credit card. It means that you as a small business owner can try for a line of credit from a bank or other financial agency. They can provide flexibility to access funds.
- Family and Friends – Well, sometimes it is not easy to ask, but it is helpful to try for financial support from your friends or family. You can formalize it by having a written agreement including a plan to repay the loans.
- Crowdfunding – There are many crowdfunding platforms to help you so you can connect with potential customers for your business.
How to Get Government Grants for Minority Business
When you start or expand your business, you need a lot of money and hard work. Finding ways to finance your business means that you must get investors, apply for loans, or use your money savings. For minority communities, another valuable option is to apply for minority business grants.
Grants are funds you can use for specific goals and you don’t have to repay them. It is different from loans. In general cases, minority small businesses get funding from a corporation or particular interest groups with the purpose to support business growth from the minority communities.
Minority communities can be based on personal status, race, gender, or location. To meet the eligibility as a minority business, 51% of a business must be run or controlled by a minority.
Follow the following steps to make sure that you have everything to start applying for the grants:
1. Get Certified
One of the initial steps to take on how to get government grants for minority business is to get certified. as a minority-owned business. MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) provides different kinds of certifications for minority-owned businesses. Eventually, you can use other certification programs, but the MBE is the biggest.
2. Collect Documentation
Once you researched the different kinds and found the right certification for your business, it only takes a straightforward step to become certified. You must complete an application and then submit it together with the supporting documents.
There are few documents and make sure that you prepare this requirement completely when you start the application process. Typically, here are the documents you must submit:
- Commercial tax returns – past three years
- Financial statements related to the tax returns
- List of debts (loans, leases, lines of credit, and others)
- Resumes for all key personnel (owners and directors)
- Proof of citizenship or legal residency
- Partnership documents
3. Have Business Plan
It is very crucial to have a business plan since the agencies that award the grants often want to check your business plan. Make sure that you provide information in your business plan and state that yours are a minority-operated business.
The next step is to start some homework and find the grants with the eligibility you can meet.
4. Apply for the Grants Before the Offer Ends
After identifying the list of available grants for minority businesses, choose which grant suits your business. You have to gather all the required documentation for that grant. Therefore, make sure that you have enough time to meet the deadline.
It is great if you can complete the grant application as early as possible. It shows your interest to participate in the program, but also it tells the entities about how well-organized your plan is to get the grant. Remember that the review committee needs to spend more time with your application.
Before submitting the grant application, double-check it first. This is important to make sure that you have completed the guidelines and included everything for the application process. If possible, you can hire a grant writer to help you review the application. A grant writer is also useful to help you draft answers related to the registration questions.
While you are finding the right grant to start the application, can take some effort and time. But it is worth it for minority businesses. By following the complete guideline on how to get government grants for minority businesses, hopefully, you can grow your business.
Reading how to get government grants for minority businesses can be a valuable source for minorities to get support in developing or growing businesses. The grants can help businesses in disadvantaged communities and support business owners with less access to other resources.
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