Who is Eligible for Minority Business Grants?
Eligibility requirements for minority business owners can vary based on the grant application. The great thing about applying for grants is that they serve a variety of business sectors including nonprofit organizations, for profit, startup businesses, early-stage and beyond. It’s important to always read the terms and conditions to be sure that you qualify for the grant money. Additionally, private grants versus federal grants may differ based on the nature of the minority small business grants being offered.
However, here are a few requirements that are often consistent in terms of eligibility for a small business grant:
- Must be 51% minority-owned
- Be at least 25% operated by an individual of Asian American, Pacific Islander, African American, Native American, Latinx or Hispanic descent
- Have a business that’s located in an economically vulnerable community
You can also obtain a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification for your business which can immediately qualify you for minority-based funding as long as you also meet the additional eligibility requirements. This certification accepts legal residents, for-profit businesses in the U.S., and details the ethnicity requirements here.
The Best Grants for Minority-Owned Small Businesses
Securing grants for your minority-owned business can help in providing your business with a much-needed boost for growth and profitability. These grants serve the purpose of increasing economic development across different minority communities and serve as a no-debt, dilutive option for businesses that do not want to give up percentages of ownership or go into debt to grow their business.
Here are some of the best grants for minority small business entrepreneurs:
First Nations Development Institute Grants
The First Nations Development Institute was created to improve the economic condition of indigenous communities through financial grant opportunities, advocacy and policy, as well as technical assistance and training. According to their site, they have managed 2,611 grants totaling $51.6 million to Native American projects and organizations in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territory American Samoa. You can learn more about grant opportunities here.
Fast Break for Small Business
LegalZoom has partnered with the NBA, WBNA, and NBA G League to give over $6 million in grants to small business owners through Fast Break for Small Business. It is through the Accion Opportunity Fund which is the nonprofit administrator of the program that this program will help businesses receive $10,000 in grant money and up to $500 in LegalZoom services.
Your business must:
- Be 6 months or older
- Be based in the United States
- Have an annual revenue of less than $1 million
- Has a business checking account (learn how to get on here)
UPS Small Business Grant for Latinx Businesses
UPS has partnered with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to offer Latinx-Owned small businesses impacted by Covid-19, small business grants of $5,000.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Being Hispanic-owned
- Must have less than 20 full-time employees
- Have an EIN or ITIN number
- Been in operation for at least 9 months.
The deadline to apply is Friday, June 11, 2021 at 11:59 PM ET.
Grants for Black-Owned Businesses
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses
This initiative was created in the Fall of 2020 to help Black-owned small businesses to recover from the pandemic through 2023. Every Fall, $5,000 grants are distributed that must be applied to business expenses. In addition to the $5,000 grant, awardees have the option to compete for an additional $25,000.
Eligibility requirements can be found here and include:
- Having a business with 3 to 20 people
- Be physically or digitally (online) located in the United States
- 51% company ownership that is African American
Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator
The Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator invests in up to ten companies per year that are led by Black founders. Participants receive $100,000 investment and their startup will receive a 12-week accelerator program. Through gener8tor and Northwestern Mutual, founders will receive growth support through experienced mentors, technologists, industry experts, angel investors and venture capitalists.
Power Forward Small Business Grant
Vistaprint and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation have partnered with the NAACP to award grants of $25,000–up to $1 million. Grant recipients will also have opportunities to be featured on national co-branded platforms and receive marketing and design resources that fit their business’s needs.
- Must have 1 to 25 employees
- Must be operating in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, or select areas of Connecticut.
- Showcase the impact your business has on your surrounding community
Additional Grant Options
There’s so much money out there for small businesses who need working capital, and whether from the federal government or private entities, knowing who provides grants can positively impact the trajectory of your business. Here are some additional grant resource options to fit your business needs.
Nav’s Small Business Grant
Nav awards $10,000 to the winner of our small business grant contest every quarter, and $5,000 to the runner-up. All you have to do is make a social post about your business and how you plan to use the grant funds, and get people to vote for your business. Apply now, or mark your calendar for when the next round opens.
Hello Alice is a fantastic resource for small business owners. Their site offers a plethora of information including funding opportunities, how-to guides, while also segmenting resources specifically for veterans, Hispanic entrepreneurs, Black entrepreneurs, and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA is a no-brainer when it comes to looking for resources for your business. It’s one of the biggest online business centers, providing minority entrepreneurs with information on business training and counseling, funding programs, and business development programs.
This site helps small business owners by providing a ton of resources. Through Grants.gov small business owners have access to federal funding as well as necessary tools like grant writing tips. The automated system allows you to register, search for grants, apply for grants, track your application, and understand grand terminology.
Other Resources for Minority Small Business Owners
Minority groups have a much harder time with receiving the much-need capital to build their businesses. So, it’s important to have a variety of resources for grant opportunities and other financial assistance programs. Whether it’s a grant program for grant funding or other funding opportunities such as small business loans, obtaining business credit cards, pitch competitions, mentorship and training or other business financing, Nav has you covered.
Here are a few:
At Nav, we pride ourselves on being a resource for small business owners. Check out our lists of small business grants for women entrepreneurs, grants and loans for veterans, general small business grants, and other funding resources including small business loans and business credit cards.
Boot to Business
Boot to Business (B2B) is an offshoot of SBA, created specifically for veterans. It is an entrepreneurial education and training program given by SBA as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). B2B offers the participants an overview of business ownership and helps with transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) in addition to their spouses.
Operation HOPE Program
Operation HOPE is a nonprofit organization created by multi-millionaire John Hope, which focuses on financial literacy and economic empowerment for low and moderate-income youth and adults. They partner with financial institutions, corporations, municipal agencies, and community organizations to offer “HOPE Inside”, which is their core strategy to allow them to provide economic resources and tools, nationwide, at no cost to the client.
Hello Skip prides itself on being a marketplace for government-related services that is given to individuals and small businesses. They also offer an array of minority business grant opportunities. Skip has a pricing model for members that want to have access to exclusive information on funding, marketing, business growth, website assistance, and more.
|Plus (starter pack)$29/per month||Premium$89/per month||VIP (limited spots)$199/per month|
|Curated grants & funding informationExclusive small business resourcesIndividual government-related reminders||Everything on Skip Plus and:Personalized 1-1 funding supportHands-on business growth supportBusiness website & marketing supportExclusive access to our team of experts||Everything on Skip Premium and:In-depth grant & funding assistanceStep-by-step document supportBusiness domain & website assistanceVIP chat, phone, and video support|
National Black MBA Association
This organization offers small businesses a Scale-Up Pitch Challenge which is currently running a collegiate edition. The current pitch competition is for college students who are aspiring in their entrepreneur journey. It grants them an opportunity to develop and refine their business ideas while receiving feedback from successful business owners. The National Black MBA Association launched the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge in 2017 to help create and support wealth-building opportunities and through the competition, has allowed businesses to get exposure which turns to much-needed investments from other entities.
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
The NASE offers entrepreneurs and small business owners a variety of resources and tools to help run their businesses. Members are provided with a monthly newsletter and unlimited access to tax, finance, retirement and/or operations consultants. NASE offers a NASE Succeed Scholarship for members who need assistance paying for college or university, business certification or training programs, or other business-related courses/seminars.
In addition, NASE provides members with discounts on:
- Legal help
- Healthcare insurance plans, including major medical, prescription drug, plus dental and vision plans
- Home office insurance
- Office supplies
- Website design
- Travel services, including rental car fees and hotels
This article was originally written on March 25, 2022 and updated on June 2, 2022.