Relative to white-owned businesses, minority-owned firms face higher interest rates, higher rates of denial, and receive smaller loans when granted credit. But if you identify as a minority, there are small business financial relief resources out there.
Here are the top eight financial programs—grants, low-interest loans, and more—for minority-owned small businesses in the United States.
SBA 8(a) Development Program
While not a grant, the 8(a) Development Program is a fantastic resource for minority-owned businesses by offering a wide array of services from mentorship to contracts exclusive to members of the program. There are also exclusive opportunities for management and technical assistance which includes business training, counseling, and marketing assistance.
MBDA Business Centers
Minority Business Development Associations are headed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and have locations set up in neighborhoods with a predominantly minority population. At these centers, you can receive a one-on-one financial counseling session where they will help you identify sources of capital from loans to grants and help you prepare applications. This is a perfect starting point for someone trying to navigate the grant landscape for the first time.
Suggested first steps: Find a business center in your area and schedule a consultation to find grant and loan opportunities that you may be eligible for.
Lowe’s LISC Small Business Relief Grants
Lowe’s has partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corportation (LISC) to provide emergency grant assistance to small businesses who have been affected by the pandemic and other natural disasters. The first phase of the $55 million dollar grant program was aimed at supporting businesses located in urban centers, with 91% of the funds going to woman- and minority-owned businesses. The second phase of the program is aimed at small businesses located in rural communities of 50,000 or less.
Suggested first steps: Applications for the grant are accepted in rounds. Instructions for how to apply can be found in multiple languages here. Be sure to sign up to receive updates on when the next round of applications opens again.
Accion Opportunity Fund
Accion Opportunity Fund—formerly known as The Opportunity Fund—is doing something about inclusive access to financing by focusing on people of color, women, veterans, and LGBTQ+ business owners. By seeking out funding partners who are willing to subsidize loans based on the demographics it’s serving, they can offer competitive interest rates and fees to ensure you’re given fair access to capital.
Suggested first steps: Fill out their loan inquiry form to get a quote on what funding options are available to you.
TruFund Financial Services
Available in New York, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia, TruFund has put a focus on supporting minority owned businesses. In light of COVID-19, TruFund offered a relief fund which included grants up to $10k and loans up to $75k with favourable terms which targeted minority owned businesses. Beyond that, their focus is on fostering economic development in underserved areas and among disadvantaged populations. This is achieved through affordable loans that are remarkably cheaper than traditional lending platforms.
Suggested first step: Look into the application that applies to your state and review the requirements on their inquiry form to confirm you are eligible.
Launch with GS
Launch with GS is an initiative from Goldman Sachs, which has introduced a $500 million investment strategy focusing on diverse teams to facilitate connections between women, Black, Latinx, and other entrepreneurs with investors. Addressing the market imbalance of lenders and businesses with ethnically diverse backgrounds, the program is still growing to offer more services beyond funding. If you have less than $5 million in annual run rate revenue and less than 10% top-line growth with at least one diverse founder, co-founder, CEO or President, you are eligible to apply for this program.
The Do You Fellowship by digitalundivided
Founded by the CEO of digitalundivided, Kathryn Finney, the Do You Fund invested in 1500 black female entrepreneurs in 2020 with an immediate economic investment of $100 each. It was such a success that in 2021 they are evolving their efforts and launching the Do You Fellowship Program. This fellowship will award 10 promising Black and Latinx women innovators with a $5,000 investment in their business and access to unparalleled resources and mentorship necessary to develop their businesses.
Suggested first steps: Fellowship applications will be opening soon, so fill out the form to get notified when they open.
Social Justice Fund Northwest
The Social Justice Fund Northwest prioritizes making grant money available to community based organizations led by people of color in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. To be eligible for one of their grants, you must be an organization with a 501©3 or 501©4 status, be a federally recognized American Indian tribal government or agency, or be fiscally sponsored by a 501©3 or 510©4 organization.