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10 Grants for Black-owned and Minority-owned Businesses

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When it comes to starting a business, grants are an important consideration and there are many opportunities out there specifically for Black-owned and Minority-owned business. Unlike loans, minority small business grants are essentially cash awards that do not have to be repaid. Below is a great list of resources to review and apply for as you begin your business venture:

1) MERCHANT MAVERICK OPPORTUNITY GRANTS

Turns out you don’t have to even leave this site to find minority small business grants! Merchant Maverick offers Opportunity Grants annually to qualifying businesses. In 2022 Merchant Maverick awarded 10 $10,000 grants to restaurants owned by Asian American and Pacific Islander entrepreneurs.

Keep your eye on this space for our announcement of 2023 terms and conditions.

2) THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED GROWTH GRANTS

  • Submission Dates: Growth Grant applications can be submitted year-round. Applications received in January through March will be reviewed in April. Applications received in April through June will be reviewed in July. Applications received in July through September will be reviewed in October. Applications received in October through December will be reviewed in January of the following year.
  • Entry Requirements: Applications are open to members of the NASE that are in good standing. You must also demonstrate a specific need for the grant, provide a detailed explanation of how grant funds will be used, show how the grant will improve business growth and success, and offer up documentation to support your request.
  • Website: https://www.nase.org/become-a-member/member-benefits/business-resources/growth-grants

The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) is a nonprofit trade association that gives grants and provides educational resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Its Growth Grants Program lets small business owners apply for grant financing for a particular small business need.

These grants are worth up to $4,000 each. While you won’t hit the funding mother lode with the NASE, it’s a great resource for minority business owners with a specific, defined funding need. You’ll need to join the NASE to apply for a grant, and you’ll need to explain in detail how you’ll use the funds and how this funding will bolster your business operations. Annual membership costs $120/year, or you can opt for a monthly membership starting at $11.95/month.

3) FEDEX SMALL BUSINESS GRANT CONTEST

  • Submission Dates: The submission date for the 2023 contest has yet to be announced. However, the submission period typically opens in February and is open for one month. Interested applicants can sign up for FedEx emails to receive updates.
  • Entry Requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years old. All applicants must operate a US-based for-profit small business with 50 or fewer employees and less than $5 million in annual sales revenue. All applicants must also have shipped or plan to ship within the next 12 months as part of their business. Nonprofits, resellers, franchises, and independent consultants are ineligible to apply.
  • Website: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/small-business/grant-contest.html

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is a nationwide competition held annually to award grants in the form of cash and prizes (such as credits for FedEx services) to small business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s not specifically for minority business owners, but many past winners and finalists have indeed been minority business owners. The amount awarded to contest winners and the number of grant recipients varies year-to-year.

In 2022, the top prize–given to three businesses–was a $50,000 business grant. Seven businesses received $20,000 grants.

4) NATIONAL BLACK MBA ASSOCIATION SCALE-UP PITCH CHALLENGE

  • Submission Dates: Submission deadline for 2022 has not been posted. Finalists will compete August 25th.
  • Entry Requirements: Applicants must be US residents who are at least 18 years old. All ideas submitted must be the original work of the applicant. All applicants must disclose any funding previously received. The business founder must be Black or of African descent and have an equal stake in the business. The applicant or at least one team member must be a member of the National Black MBA Association.
  • Website: https://nbmbaa.org/scale-up-pitch-challenge/

Since 2017, the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) has recognized scalable startups and provided grants for black-owned businesses through its Scale-Up Pitch Challenge. This competition gives startups a chance to connect with investors and venture capitalists. Additionally, winners may be awarded prizes from $1,000 up to $50,000 for their pitches.

Interested applicants can submit their pitch and a Powerpoint presentation. The top ten finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a team of experts. The top three finalists will then compete at the annual NBMBAA Conference & Career Fair for a shot at winning a $50,000 cash prize, with additional prizes for 2nd place ($10,000) and 3rd place ($7,500), as well as a People’s Choice Award ($1,000).

5) SEPHORA ACCELERATE

  • Submission Dates: Applications typically open in August.
  • Entry Requirements: All applicants must be at least 18 years old and be a BIPOC founder of an early-stage beauty brand that’s not yet widely distributed. Applicants should at least have a sample or prototype before applying and must have a merchandise product brand, such as makeup, skincare, fragrance, hair care, and wellness.
  • Website: https://sephoraaccelerate.com/

The beauty retailer Sephora is giving back to minorities. The company already signed the Fifteen Percent Pledge by committing at least 15% of shelf space to black-owned businesses. Sephora goes a step further to help aspiring entrepreneurs with grants for minorities through the Sephora Accelerate program.

If selected for the program, winners will complete a six-month program that includes two all-expense-paid trips for program events, mentoring, and a hands-on boot camp. Winners will also receive a monetary grant and be eligible for additional funding. Sephora’s goal is to ensure that all products created by winners are launched in Sephora stores at the end of the program.

6) ASIAN WOMEN GIVING CIRCLE GRANTS

  • Submission Dates: The Request for Proposals is typically released each January and applications are due in March.
  • Entry Requirements: This grant is available to Asian American women-owned businesses in New York City. Per the organization, grants are awarded to “individual artists and community groups that contribute to progressive social and political change.”
  • Website: http://asianwomengivingcircle.org/apply/

Over the last 17 years, the Asian Women Giving Circle has raised and distributed over $1 million in funding to Asian American women-owned businesses in New York City. This also includes artists in theater, dancing, and film. Recipients of these grants have contributed to progressive social and political change through documentaries, choreography, visual arts, street festivals, and workshops.

For the 2022 grant contest, the AWGC awarded 10 grants of $8,000 each. The number of recipients, awards, and submission dates vary each year; information about the 2023 grant application should be released in January 2023.

7) COALITION TO BACK BLACK BUSINESSES FUND

  • Submission Dates: Applications typically open in late Summer.
  • Entry Requirements: Black business owners in eligible industries may apply. Eligible businesses must employ between three and 20 people. Businesses must also be located in an economically vulnerable community according to the Distressed Communities Index. Businesses must also show that they have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Website: https://webackblackbusinesses.com/

The coronavirus hit small businesses hard in 2020, and the effects are expected to be felt for years to come — especially in economically vulnerable areas. This is why a number of organizations, including American Express, Shopify, Stanley Black & Decker, and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, came together to form the Coalition to Back Black Businesses.

This initiative is set to run through 2023 and provides Black business owners impacted by the coronavirus with free minority business grants. Grants are valued at $5,000 and are distributed on a rolling basis to hundreds of eligible small businesses each fall, and a select few business owners will receive $25,000 enhancement grants the following summer. In the previous round of funding, a total of 25 $25,000 grantees were selected, but the number of grants may fluctuate slightly each year based on available funding.

8) SOGAL FOUNDATION BLACK FOUNDER STARTUP GRANT

  • Submission Dates: This is a continuous rolling grant program with grants awarded at the end of each month.
  • Entry Requirements: Black women and Black nonbinary entrepreneurs qualify for the program. Multiracial Black women and nonbinary applicants may also apply. All entrants must have a registered business, plan to seek investor financing in the future, and have a scalable business or idea.
  • Website: https://www.iamsogal.com/black-founder-startup-grant/

The SoGal Foundation has teamed up with businesses such as Winky Lux and Bluemercury to launch the Black Founder Startup Grant. This program is designed to provide Black women and Black nonbinary entrepreneurs with grants to start or further their businesses.

This program provides grants of $5,000 and $10,000 to select entrants. Additionally, winners also receive lifetime access to the SoGal Foundation and SoGal Ventures teams. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and awards are given at the end of each month.

9) COMCAST RISE GRANTS

  • Submission Dates: Applications are due by October 14, 2022
  • Entry Requirements: Applicants must be at least 51% owned and operated by someone who identifies as Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian, or as a woman. Applicants must have been in business for at least 1 year and be located within Comcast Business or Effectv service area. Franchises are ineligible.
  • Website: https://www.comcastrise.com/

Comcast Rise is a program offered by the telecom giant to minority- and women-owned businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prizes include grants, as well as complementary marketing and technology services.

10) FIRST NATIONS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE GRANTS

First Nations was founded in 1980 and started its national grant program in 1993. If you’re a business owner of First Nations descent be sure to check the website often, as this organization releases new grant opportunities frequently throughout the year.

Scholarships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities are also available.

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