- Small business grants typically come with no strings attached, meaning it’s not a loan and you don’t have to pay it back.
- Comcast RISE will award $5,000 to 500 business leaders who stand for diversity inclusion and community involvement.
- Coalition to Back Black Businesses awards $5,000 to Black small business owners, and the First Nations Development Institute awards grants to Indigenous American organizations each year.
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A small business grant is a form of seed money that helps business owners lift their enterprises off the ground. Because grants come with no strings attached, grant programs see a high volume of applicants each year, which can make getting one of these highly sought after prizes difficult to win.
Competition is fierce but numerous programs have started narrowing the playing field by offering grant money to business leaders in minority groups, who have been traditionally underrepresented as grant winners. To be sure, the competition for these grants can still be neck-in-neck, but if you’re a minority business owner, here are five programs to consider.
1. Comcast RISE
What it is: A small business grant that supports diversity inclusion and community involvement.
How much grant money it gives: $5,000 to 500 recipients.
What you need to qualify:
- An independently owned business with 100 or fewer full-time employees.
- A business that has been established for three or more years.
- Residence in one of the following cities: Baltimore, Detroit, Memphis, Philadelphia, or Portland.
Deadline to apply: June 30, 2023.
Where to apply: Online
2. Coalition to Back Black Businesses
What it is: A multi-year initiative to help Black small business owners recover from COVID-19 and establish a vibrant presence in economically distressed communities.
How much grant money it gives: $5,000, with an opportunity to receive $25,000 the following summer.
What you need to qualify: A Black-owned business with 3-20 employees located in economically at-risk communities.
Deadline to apply: The deadline for the 2023-24 cycle has not been announced. Last year, applications opened in late August and closed in early September.
Where to apply: Check the Back Black Businesses homepage for more details.
3. First Nations Development Institute Grants
What it is: Grant-making program that has awarded over 2,700 grants totaling more than $54.7 million to Native American projects and organizations.
How much grant money it gives: Each grant offers a different sum. For perspective, a recent program gave out $40,000 to roughly a dozen California-based tribal organizations and tribal-controlled nonprofits.
What you need to qualify: Check the requirements under each grant. Typically, your organization or nonprofit has to be majority Native owned (51% or more), but other qualifications may apply.
Where to apply: Since the institute offers numerous grants throughout the year, the best way to apply is to sign up to its mailing list and wait for an applicable grant period to start.
4. National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
What it is: A pitch competition for members of the National Black MBA Association.
How much grant money it gives: $50,000 for 1st place, $10,000 grant for 2nd, $7,500 for 3rd, and $1,000 for People’s Choice.
What you need to qualify: A startup that has a minimum 33% Black-ownership with at least one founder being an active member of the National Black MBA association.
Deadline to apply: The deadline for 2023 has not been announced.
Where to apply: When the 2023 application process begins, you can apply on the NBMBAA homepage.
5. Fast Break for Small Businesses
What it is: A partnership among LegalZoom, NBA, the WNBA, and the NBA G League to support Black-owned businesses and Black-identifying entrepreneurs.
How much grant money it gives: $10,000 to 50 recipients.
What you need to qualify: A Black-owned business (at least 51%) that’s been in operation for six months and has annual business revenue under $1 million.
Deadline to apply: The deadline for 2023 has already passed.
Where to apply: Check Legal Zoom’s Fast Break page in early 2024 for next year’s application.
Where else can you find grant money?
You can apply for grants from federal institutions, like Grants.gov and the USDA grant. You can also join the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) and apply for its grants. But even if the deadline has passed for the grants mentioned above, check again next year. Many of these are ongoing, and you could apply for them in 2024.
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