Minority business owners are a critical role component of the American economy. They encourage diversity, community development, economic growth, and foster new opportunities in traditionally underserved areas. Minority business owners also face a unique set of challenges.

It’s not uncommon for minority business owners to struggle with capital shortages, limited business networks, and limited access to credit. In the face of these challenges, a number of government-sponsored and private-sector grants have been introduced – many of which are exclusive to minority-owned businesses.

We took it upon ourselves to research and identify the top 9 grants for minority-owned small businesses. Take a look!

Top Minority Grants for Business Owners (2023)

Grant Description
National Association for the Self-Employed The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is an organization that provides resources and tools to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Members consolidate their buying power to save on benefits like legal advice, healthcare plans, office supplies, and more.

NASE also offers business grants worth up to $4,000. In order to apply, you’ll have to be a NASE member and explain how the grant money will support your business’ growth. Funds can be used for marketing, advertising, hiring employees, expanding operations, and more.

Minority Business Development Agency The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is a federal program dedicated to supporting minority-owned small businesses. They host networking events and connect business owners with industry experts at MBDA Business Centers. Working alongside industry experts, you’ll be able to secure capital, win contracts, and even identify strategic partners.

You can browse over 1,000 grants according to your region and business type via Grants.gov.

United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture offers over $9 million in assistance to minority and veteran farmers, foresters, and ranchers. You can use this aid to purchase your farm and fund ongoing operations.
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses The Coalition to Back Black Businesses was formed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide grants and long-term support for Black-owned small businesses. You’ll have to apply for eligibility, and if you’re accepted, you’ll receive $5,000 – with the most promising businesses securing an additional $25,000.

You’ll also gain access to mentors, educational materials, and other resources. The program is available through 2023 – but you’re encouraged to apply sooner rather than later.

National Black MBA Association The National Black MBA Association is an organization focused on supporting black professionals and small business owners. They offer networking opportunities, training programs, educational resources, scholarships, and even grants. Its annual Scale-Up Pitch Challenge is a startup competition with prizes ranging from $1,000 to $50,000.
First Nations Development Institute The nonprofit First Nations Development Institute is an organization dedicated to Native American communities and small business owners. They provide financial grants, training programs, and advocate for improving economic conditions in Native American communities.

They’ve awarded more than $43 million in grants. You can stay updated on the latest grant opportunities here.

FedEx Small Business Grant FedEx delivery company hosts an annual competition for small business owners. The top 12 finalists receive financial grants – the largest worth $50,000. Any small business owned by U.S. residents with at least 6 months of history and a valid FedEx shipping account number can apply.
Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants Merchant Maverick, an online small business information resource, offers a $10,000 opportunity grant for minority business owners. The program runs twice per year, and business owners can apply on their site.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund is a program run by SIA Scotch Whisky, offering $10,000 grants to minority business owners in the food and beverage industry. Applications generally open in the summer months, and entrepreneurs can apply through their website.

Benefits of Minority Grants for Business Owners

Access to capital is a lingering challenge among minority entrepreneurs. Minority grants provide an avenue for these businesses to pursue growth opportunities and solidify their position in their industry without enduring traditional hurdles.

Every grant program is different, but there are a few benefits that apply to all of them. Here are a few of the most notable.

  • Simplified access to growth capital
  • Increased purchasing power
  • Ability to drive growth while preserving cash flow
  • Opportunity to immediately take advantage of opportunities or solve challenges
  • Often no repayment necessary
  • Visibility and networking from exposure

The most prominent benefit is the ability to access capital without meeting traditional eligibility requirements. You can invest in your growth, try out new revenue-driving opportunities, and keep yourself moving forward at all times.

Eligibility Requirements of Business Minority Grants

Outside of some unique requirements on industry-specific grants, you must be a minority business to qualify for this type of grant. This means that the business must be a U.S. citizen and be 51% owned by a member of a minority ethnic, religious, or linguistic group.

Proving this information can be difficult, so it’s recommended to become certified as a minority business in your state before applying for a grant. You can fill out an online application with the closest regional National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) office, which can be found on their website.

Minority Small Business Grants: Application Process

If you’ve found a grant that you’re eligible for, follow the steps below.

  • Become Certified as a Minority-Owned Business – First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure you’ve met the most important qualification. If you aren’t certified, follow the steps in the section above to become certified.
  • Double Check Your Eligibility – You don’t want to wait months only to find out you never qualified in the first place, so make sure to review the eligibility requirements one last time before submitting your application.
  • Fill Out & Submit Your Application – Complete your application and review it for any errors. Once it’s accurate, you can apply for the specific grant you’re looking for through the organization, which is often done through their website.
  • Wait for a Decision – Next, you’ll have to wait for winners to be announced. The organization behind the grant may post the winners on their website or reach out to you directly, so make sure you’re prepared.
  • Receive Your Funds – If you’ve won the grant, your funds should be deposited shortly. You may be able to use the funding freely or in specific ways, depending on the terms of the grant.

Other Funding Avenues

Financial grants and support programs are a valuable resource for minority business owners, but they’re only one part of the entire picture.

It can be difficult to qualify for and win grants, and even then, funds rarely exceed a couple of thousand dollars. If you plan on taking your business to the next level, you’re going to need a larger influx of capital.

A small business loan or a business line of credit can get you the funds you need to invest in inventory, buy equipment, hire new talent, launch marketing campaigns, and much more.

At National Business Capital, many of the factors that would normally hold you back from securing financing at a traditional bank won’t weigh as heavily. Our database includes over 75 different lenders, many of which maintain flexible requirements. We’ll work to find you the best financing options based on your unique credit score, business history, and other qualifications.

Ready to learn more? Fill out our digital application, and our Business Finance Advisors will get in touch about our personalized financing solutions.

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About the Author

Lauren Coppolone

Lauren has been with National Business Capital for 3 years, but her B2B experience extends as far back as 2015. She previously worked as a senior business analyst for B2B SaaS, Sky IT Group. Her current role as Marketing Manager for National has her coordinating between the financing side and small business needs. She’s also a regular contributor to National’s blog where she regularly shares her expertise and insight into small business financing. Lauren holds a B.A. from the Fashion Institute of Technology’s (FIT) School of Business.

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