The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States has grown 34% in the last 10 years, contributing more than $500 million to the economy. In fact, Hispanic-owned companies grew 8.2% from 2019 to 2020 — proving that, as the United States becomes more diverse, so does the landscape of business ownership.
Approximately 20% of businesses in the United States are owned by minorities, with Hispanic-owned businesses leading the way. Despite being the fastest-growing demographic among businesses, however, the funding to help support these entrepreneurs remains sparse.
In response to this lack of funding access, multiple organizations and government agencies have been set up to help Hispanic and minority business owners with loans, grants, and other financing options. Here are 10 that can help.
[Read more: Resources for Hispanic-Owned Businesses]
Accion Opportunity Fund
Though appearing to be a relatively new entity, the Accion Opportunity Fund has a history of financially supporting minority-owned businesses. With over 25 years of experience behind them, Accion Network and Opportunity Fund merged in 2020 to create the Accion Opportunity Fund, providing a unified resource for small business owners.
Over 90% of Accion Opportunity Fund’s clientele base consists of women, people of color, and low-to-moderate-income individuals. Available small business loans range from $5,000 to $150,000 with interest rates as low as 5.99%. Accion Opportunity Fund also offers mentorship programs and services in English and Spanish to better help its customers.
Business Consortium Fund
BCF provides a range of loan programs and consulting services, made possible through its strategic partnerships — including the NMSDC network, comprising 23 affiliated regional councils. As of 2022, BCF has added over $5.8 million in new funding options. These collaborations help BCF to effectively support small businesses and contribute to their growth and success.
In September 2022, the Business Consortium Fund (BCF) announced its launch of funding options specifically for minority business enterprises (MBEs). BCF’s set-aside capital focuses on helping MBEs that directly support corporate or government supply chains and that have been operating for at least three years.
[Read more: How (and Why) to Get Certified as a Minority-Owned Business]
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, part of the U.S. Treasury, has historically played an important role in ensuring minority-owned businesses receive financial and lending support. Since 1994, the CDFI has awarded money to businesses that aid in helping traditionally underserved people and communities.
Hispanic-owned businesses can choose between 10 CDFI funding programs that promote economic and community development. The CDFI Fund’s Capital Building Initiative also offers training and technical support for businesses tailored to meet each organization’s needs.
The nonprofit group digitalundivided aims to “[create] a world where women of color own their work and worth.” Since 2012, digitalundivided has been advocating and igniting economic growth for Latina and Black women entrepreneurs and innovators. The group’s ProjectDiane stands as a pioneering demographic study, aiming to shed light on the contributions and hardships of Latina and Black women business founders. The organization offers five programs for entrepreneurs in various stages of their careers, ranging from an online workshop for those just getting started in their business ventures to a one-year fellowship.
Over 90% of Accion Opportunity Fund’s clientele base consists of women, people of color, and low-to-moderate-income individuals.
The aptly named U.S. government website Grants.gov offers the largest and most diverse database of thousands of federal grant opportunities. While most grants aren’t specifically targeted at Hispanic-owned businesses, the award opportunities are wide-ranging and encourage businesses of all stripes to apply. More than $500 million in grants are awarded annually, with help requested from businesses that can aid with U.S. healthcare, defense, environmental protection, and more.
Camino Financial, a Los Angeles-based financial firm, has a mission to help small businesses obtain simple, low-cost loans. Co-founders Sean Salas and Kenny Salas said they founded Camino to support business owners like their mother, who lost her Mexican restaurant when the brothers were young. Camino offers all of its services in both English and Spanish languages to help business owners, no matter their background. The organization offers three different funding options — startup loans, micro-loans, and small business loans — for businesses that have struggled to acquire a loan from other entities.
Latino Economic Development Center
Helping businesses in Puerto Rico and the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan region, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) is a certified community development financial institution (CDFI), offering loans from $1,000 to $250,000 with interest rates as low as 6.5% and zero hidden fees. Since 1991, the LEDC is dedicated to supporting Latino populations with low-to-moderate incomes, along with other underserved demographics, by helping them to reach financial independence while becoming leaders in the community.
National Association for the Self-Employed
While not specifically targeting Hispanic-owned businesses, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) works to provide resources for all self-employed businesses, including many Hispanic-owned companies. One way the NASE helps its members is with Growth Grants worth $4,000 each. The NASE has given away more than $1 million in grants to date for a variety of business needs. With a NASE membership, small businesses can access a plethora of resources such as discounts, expert advice, and assistance in obtaining health insurance.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a host of services and programs that can help Hispanic- and other minority-owned businesses get funds. One of the biggest ways is the ability to obtain microloans and Community Advantage loans, which can be applied for through SBA Lender Match. Another notable SBA initiative is the 8(a) Business Development program, which can connect Hispanic business owners with set-aside and sole-source federal contracting opportunities. For over nine years, the SBA has aimed to grant at least 5% of its annual 8(a) funds to individuals from underserved communities.
USDA Rural Business Development Grants
For Hispanic-owned businesses located in rural parts of the United States, USDA Rural Business Development Grants may be a good option to explore. These grants, which vary in size, help small businesses that have fewer than 50 workers in eligible locations. Approved grants can be used for things such as training, technical assistance, acquisition or development of land, building construction or renovations, equipment purchases, pollution control, community economic development, and more.
[Read more: 6 Hispanic-Owned Business Directories]
This article was originally written by Sean Ludwig.
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