Find where and how to apply for small business financial assistance in Alabama. There are free grants or low cost loans available as we as free coaching, technical support, and other resources for minority as well as women owned companies. The government, non-profits, banks, and other lenders provide funds, whether grants or loans, to help people start a company or grow their small to mid size business. Find details below.
Each agency or program will allocate some of their funding for minority owned businesses or the disadvantaged in Alabama, including Black, Latino, Veteran, Asian, immigrants and others. There are low cost loans as well as free grants being allocated to women who either (1) want to start a business or (2) who may be in business today.
Small businesses or start up companies in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery or Mobile can get help as well as residents in more rural Alabama. The free grants, counseling, and financial aid gives priority to MWBE, veteran, as well as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) owned small businesses. Each financial aid program or coaching service has their own terms, criteria, and application process in place.
List of business loans or free grants in Alabama
The list below is updated daily as the state (or lenders) issue more loans or grants. There are also year round programs, including community lenders, business development organizations and other free small business resources.
Year round resources
Find details below by city, category or region. There are a number of financial assistance programs for MWBE owned businesses or start ups in Alabama. Or locate free coaching, consultation, and other business development services. Or scroll down the page for more programs that are offered month by month.
Statewide resources for minority and women owned businesses in Alabama
The Black Belt Incubator Network covers all of Alabama. The goal is to help business owned by people of color have the resources they need, including access to capital such as grants or loans. They also have partnerships with universities, Development Centers, minority business groups, Alabama Power and others. A wide array of services are offered. Find details here. https://blackbeltincubatornetwork.com/
Birmingham MWBE and veteran owned assistance programs
Birmingham based Urban Impact provides support to MWBE businesses in the city. They also offer financial help, including Kiva Loans, micro financing, grants, as well as other assistance. There are also business development plan help, counseling services, and other resources provided to small and micro-sized businesses. Learn more on the non-profit here. http://www.urbanimpactbirmingham.org/
Birmingham Black owned businesses can apply for free grants from the Magic City Match program. This is an assistance program coordinated by the city. It provides financial help or other services, such as business plan development, help with real estate selection, technical help (such as website development or E-commerce), and so much more. There are free small business grants for black women and male owned businesses, and learn more here about the Magic City Match Program. http://magiccitymatch.org/
Jefferson County and Birmingham small businesses, in particular disadvantaged ones, can get year round help from The Community Foundation. The non-profit helps minority, veteran, LGBTQ, disabled and other underserved businesses. Everything from free grants from charities to information on mentoring, loan programs, networking and more is offered. They also have a directory of grants in the Alabama region. Read more. https://www.cfbham.org/
The city of Birmingham and Montgomery Alabama are partnering with Hope Enterprise Corporation as well as Goldman Sachs (and other companies) to help Black owned businesses in those communities. A collaborative has been formed. The assistance ranges from technical help to low cost loans, mentoring, Business Education workshops or classes and more. Read more on the Deep South Collaborative. Apply here. https://hopecu.org/deep-south-economic-mobility-collaborative/
West Alabama Chamber of Commerce supports the Tuscaloosa area and wider part of the state. They focus on economic development, often have grants such as with Innovate Alabama, and more. There is also small business training and start up assistance, as well as job training and more. Learn about the non-profit here. https://westalabamachamber.com/#
Huntsville and northern Alabama free grants and loan programs
Women owned businesses in Huntsville and Clanton Alabama can get help from the Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship. There is free assistance around coaching, marketing tips, SEO and website development, accounting, and other services that small businesses need (or entrepreneurs). There is information on how women and minorities can get government contracts, information on loan programs, and other tools. There are also business development programs for veterans, Read more. https://catalystcenter.org/
December 2022 and January 2023
University of South Alabama has multiple programs for minority owned businesses. There is a program for people with an idea or “very-early” state companies, and that is the Minority Business Development Center services, or MBD. It gives multiple week training, a small cash prize/grant, help from Subject Matter Experts and more. There is also a Minority Business Accelerator program for MWBE-owned businesses in Southern Alabama. Learn more on the programs here, which is for businesses that have been operating for more than one year. https://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/mcob/mcei/mba.html
July and August 2022
Alabama is providing grant money (in the tens of thousands of dollars per business) to companies with a high-tech, internet or health care focus. Applicants need to be in emerging technology fields, be an existing businesses, and be hiring and expanding in Alabama. Some of the free government grants will be allocated to veteran, women-owned, or minority businesses. Learn more and apply here for the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program. http://innovatealabama.org/programs/
November and December 2021
Birmingham Alabama businesses in lower income/underserved regions can apply for grant funding that is provided by PNC Bank. The lender is providing $50,000 for this financial assistance program. A major focus is on businesses owned by people of color as well as female owned companies. Call Urban Impact at (205) 328-1850 for details on this as well as other services, as they are issuing the funds on behalf of PNC.
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham is providing grants, low cost loans, and other support to Black, Minority, Women, and underserved businesses. Up to $1 million will be paid out (in total). The funds for the small businesses and startups is coming from CDFIs, non-profits, and other lenders. Small businesses can use the money to pay operating costs, invest in inventory, and other critical needs. Apply here. https://www.cfbham.org/grants/
Many banks, credit unions, and other lenders are offering PPP loans. This is government supported funding for hard hit businesses (from the pandemic). There may be financial help for Black, Latino, Immigrants, and other minority owned businesses in Alabama as well. Continue with Regions Bank funding and loan programs. https://www.regions.com/small-business/small-business-financing/paycheck-protection-program
By Jon McNamara