Find a list of business loan as well as free grant programs in California that may be near you below. There are a number of lenders, non-profits, and government programs that try to fund disadvantaged businesses. Black owned businesses, companies owned by women, Latino, and other small minority owned businesses can apply for the funds they need from these lenders or programs. Get help from minority business loans in California or other sources of funding.
There are a number of options available for business owners or anyone who is seeking to start a company. There may be low interest rate or even interest free loans or grants for Black owned companies, LGBTQ companies, Latino, immigrants, Asians, women businesses as well as other minority groups, including veterans in California. While the main cities of Los Angles, San Diego, and San Francisco will have the most minority and/or women owned business loans and free grants available, there are assistance programs all across the state. However note that In general, the funds are available from lenders by city or county and not statewide.
The amount of money as well as the application process will vary based on the lender and the program available. Free grants or loans can be issued to small or medium businesses and some lenders (or government programs) may even help minority or women entrepreneurs. If you are looking for money to start a business, or grow an existing one, assistance is available. Find more details below on the latest programs.
Small minority or women business loans and free grants in California
Below is a list of grants and loans for small women or minority owned businesses in California. It is updated daily with the newest announcements at the top of the list. A number of California banks, government programs, and community agencies continually issue funds to Black, Latino, women, LGBTQ and other minority owned or run businesses.
Year round programs
Kiva microloans are offered across California. Borrowers, even those with limited or no credit history, or limited or no revenue, can get 0% interest rate loans. Up to $15,000 can be borrowed to start or grow a business. A major focus is on minority, Latino, LGBTQ, veteran, and women owned businesses – all of which historically lack access to capital. The financial aid is a peer to peer type lending program. Find details below by city or region.
- -Oakland area: https://www.kivaushub.org/oakland
- -San Jose and Santa Clara County region: A major focus from Kiva loans is on tech companies. https://www.kivaushub.org/san-jose
- -Fresno and Central Valley is supported by the Black Chamber of Commerce: https://fmbcc.com/resource/kiva-fresno/
- -Los Angeles and Southern California, in particular Latino owned businesses: https://www.new-wbc.org/programs/
Women entrepreneurs and female owned small business in the El Pájaro and Watsonville region can turn to the Women Business Center run by the El Pájaro Community Development Corporation. The non-profit helps women, including those of color, start a business or operate an existing one. Whether free coaching, information on loans or counseling, grant programs, or other help, there are resources. Read more. https://www.elpajarocdc.org/
Fresno small businesses, in particular Latino, Veteran, Women, and Black owned small businesses can get interest free loans from the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. The assistance is offered in partnership with Kiva. In general, between $1,000 and $15,000 can be borrowed. Kiva is a non-profit that focuses on helping small businesses start and grow. Kiva is a crowdfunding source for business owners, and all the loans have zero percent interest rates. Apply here. https://fmbcc.com/
Kern County and Bakersfield small, disadvantaged businesses (women and minority owned) can get help from the Kern County Women’s Business Center. Staff, including professionals and volunteers, give free advice. They help advise business owners, help them apply for funding (low interest or forgivable loans as well as grants), offer mentoring, getting government work from contracting, and so much more. The Center was opened in partnership with Mission Community Services Corporation (MCSC). Find details. https://www.mcscorp.org/kern
Kern, San Luis Obispo, city of Bakersfield, and Monterey County small businesses can get help from the Mission Community Services Corporation. They offer assistance to minority as well as immigrant owned businesses as well as entrepreneurs. They offer free workshops on starting or growing a company, free coaching and consultation, and information on financial help from grants or loans among other support. There are multiple offices. Read more. https://www.mcscorp.org/
Los Angeles County minority, veteran, or female owned businesses that need access to capital, as well as free counseling/coaching services can turn to Ascend Los Angeles for assistance. The non-profit offers a number of resources for small business owners or anyone looking to start a company or who wants to be self-employed. Clients of the non-profit (and there is no cost) can apply for loans, make pitches to other companies or investors in the area, get free consultations and much more. Read more here. https://www.ascendla.org/
Oakland Black Business Fund (OBBF) provides (1) grant funds, (2) equity investments and (3) technical assistance to Black owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups across the entire Bay area, including Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, and nearby cities. There are free grants, low cost loans, and other funds that can assist non-profit and for-profit businesses. Read more here. https://oaklandblackbusinessfund.org
April and May 2021
Lendistry is based in Los Angeles. They help businesses in low income communities, most of which are minority owned, access funding. It can be everything from a PPP government loan (or similar program) to SBA loan programs. While anyone can contact the company for advice or funding opportunities, they do focus on businesses with poor or no credit and in economically disadvantaged regions. Learn about the non-profit lender here. https://lendistry.com/
Small businesses in San Francisco (County or City) can apply for SF Relief Grants. It is a multi-million dollar program for businesses hit by COVID, including stores, retailers, hotels, restaurants and others. There may be grants of 5K or loans of 20K, and it is run in coordinate with the Storefront Grants in the city. Apply here. https://sf.gov/sf-relief-grants
$5,000 to $25,000 is being offered statewide from California Relief Grants. The Office of the Small Business Advocate is running this service. Financial aid is even offered for microbusinesses that have as low as $1000 in yearly revenue. While the funding is limited, and priority is set by the state, one priority is for Disadvantaged communities as tracked by socioeconomic indicators, including immigrant, LGBTQ, veteran, and other minority groups. Read more https://careliefgrant.com/
March and April 2021
Small businesses in Bakersfield can apply for forgivable loans. Almost 2 million dollars will be made available, with priority given to black, Latino, female, immigrant and other disadvantaged businesses. The ReStart Loan-to-Grant Program is accepting applications for funds. This loan program is in addition to any state or federal government aid that the company can receive. Learn more. https://www.accesspluscapital.com/covid-relief/
February 2021 and March 2021
Black owned businesses in San Francisco (and those that serve the Black community) can apply for loans from the African American Chamber of Commerce as well as African American Small Business Revolving Loan Fund. Much of the funds will go to restaurants, customer service facing organizations, hospitality companies, beauty salons, and other small, Black owned businesses in the city and county. The loans can pay for a wide variety of expenses. Learn more. https://www.sfaacc.org/
California Rebuilding Fund is for small, disadvantaged businesses that have been hit by COVID. The state financial assistance programs focuses on supporting companies in lower income cities, towns, and counties across California. It is a low cost loan program with flexible and favorable repayment terms, and the interest rate may be as low as 4%. Businesses need to have less than 50 employees, and another focus is on minority, Asian, Black, and other disadvantaged companies. Read more. https://www.connect2capital.com/p/californiarebuildingfund/
Very small businesses in Pasadena (including start ups) can apply for free grants from the Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF). They are using government funds from Community Development. Up to $7,500 may be given to each qualified business. The grants can help minority and women owned companies in the Pasadena area as well, and for more details, call (626) 796-2097 x7.
The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will provide up to $475 million dollars to small businesses impacted by COVID, with minority, women and veteran owned businesses getting priority. The free government grant program is for businesses that were operating and that have struggled due to the COVID pandemic. It is part of the CARES program. Apply at AmPac Business Capital; American Indian Chamber of Commerce; Asian Business Association of Los Angeles; California Association of Nonprofits; California Manufacturing Technology Consulting; the CA Small Business Development Center; California Women’s Business Center Network; Economic Resources Corporation or the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce. Or learn more here. https://www.californiasbdc.org/covid-19-relief-grant
Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corp and Wells Fargo are working together on the Color Business Elevation Fund. It is for Black, Latino, immigrant and minority owned businesses in Southern California. They are forgivable loans (aka grants) for unexcepted bills or costs of small businesses. There is also free coaching, advice, and other support for disadvantaged small businesses or start ups. Get more information here. https://pcr.lendwithspark.com/widget/leadframe/?version=16
An additional $500 million is being made available to non-profits and small businesses from the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program. Applicants can get free grants of $5000 to $25,000, and the funds need to pay for COVID related expenses such as PPE, rent, safety equipment and more. A priority is for disadvantaged businesses in the state, including veteran, women, Latino, Black, and others. Apply here. https://careliefgrant.com/
November and December 2020
San Francisco Latino Small Business Fund provides zero percent interest rate loans to Latino owned businesses in the city and county. This means the interest rate will be 0% APR. The principal will need to be repair over time. As many as 100 small Latino owned businesses will be provided financial assistance, and this is part of the larger San Francisco Hardship Emergency Loan Program. Apply here https://medasf.org/fondolatinosf/
Monterey County small businesses can get microloans that can provide a few thousand dollars up to $25,000. The California Coastal Rural Development Corporation is running this service in the Salinas as well as County. Latino and Hispanic businesses are given priority. The federal government is also offering funds as part of the CARES program. Learn more. https://www.calcoastal.org/
Small businesses in San Francisco can apply for interest free loans from a program known as HELP. Each qualified business, including minority, veteran, LBGTQ, or female can be given up to $50,000. The loan, which as zero percent interest, will need to be repaid within six years. No collateral or no personal guarantee is needed from the borrower either. The city is using state and federal funds as part of the San Francisco Hardship and Emergency Loan Program, or HELP. Apply here. https://oewd.org/sf-help-highlights
September 2020 and October 2020
Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) as well as the Woman-Owned Business Accelerator (WOBA) and local banks are working to help female owned businesses in Long Beach. Grants, mentoring, advice, budgeting tips, sales help, and more of this “technical assistance”. There will only be a few winners, and each will be giving several thousands dollars (as a free grant) in total. They also need to sign up for a 4 part workshop session to cover social media, financial management, and other tools. Apply here. https://downtownlongbeach.org/invest/grants/woman-owned-%20business-accelerator-grant/
$15,000 grants are being offered from the Santa Cruz County Cares Recovery Program. A focus is on businesses hard hit by COVID, including restaurants, hair dressers, retail and others. Latinos, Black business owners, Asians, women and anyone can apply – there are no restrictions based on age or gender. The free government grants can pay for rent, utilities, inventory, working capital, salaries and other bills. More data here. https://www.sccvitality.org/Business/CARESGrant.aspx
Antioch small businesses can apply for grants of up to $5,000. The funds are coming from government assistance as part of the CARES Act. Up to 60 businesses can get financial help from the free grants, with a majority of the funds to minority and female owned companies in Anticoch. To apply, or learn more, the email address is email@example.com.
Latina owned small businesses in Los Angeles County can get free grants from a program created by El Pollo Loco, Inc. Up to $500,000 will be provided, with a focus on helping Latino owned food and restaurant small businesses. Learn more. https://www.gofundme.com/f/eplgrants
Santa Barbara Better Together Fund Small Business Grant Program and the city of Santa Maria are offering grants of up to $7500 for small businesses. They are funding businesses and non-profits such as the Women’s Economic Ventures to help small minority as well as female owned businesses in the county. There are applications to the free grants in Spanish as well, and Latino businesses can also apply here. SBFoundation.org/covid-19-business-community-resources/sbbt-small-business-grant-program-guidelines-santa-maria/
Los Angeles County small businesses can apply for grants between $5,000 to $75,000. As many as 6,000 startups, small businesses, and companies will be given financial assistance, with as much as half of the funds going to immigrants, Latino, Black, disabled and female owned companies in Los Angeles. The LA Regional Fund will also give grants to businesses in low income communities. The business, whether a micro company, non-profit, or other organization needs to have been operating for at least one year. More information. https://www.lacovidfund.org/grants
Black owned businesses (male and female) in San Diego County can get help. The Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce is providing grants to small, black owned businesses. A number of child care providers and restaurants have receive assistance. Not only will free grants, funds, and maybe even loans by given to San Diego County businesses (including sole-proprietorship) but the San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce has help minorities get other support. Free advice, consultants, tips on growing their company and more. Find details. https://sdblackchamber.org/
LISC San Diego will be providing grants of up to $20,000 to businesses that lack other access to capital. There is will be financial help to businesses of color, Latinos/Hispanics/immigrants and other disadvantaged companies and entrepreneurs. Lowes Home Improvement and LISC San Diego are partnering to get the free grants to small businesses in need. Apply and more information here. https://www.lisc.org/san-diego/
San Joaquin and Sacramento County African American owned businesses can get help from the Juneteenth Capital Initiative. The program uses donations to help minorities, in particular black business owners. African American Chamber of Commerce as well as the Stockton California National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are partnering together to provide free grants. Dial (209) 227-5413 or find details and information. https://www.stocktonstrong.org/?_ga=2.110977925.1880734337.1597961786-2130885511.1597961786
City of San Francisco has several financial assistance programs for small to mid sizes businesses, sole proprietors as well as start up companies. There is the African American Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, which gives up to $50,000. Some of the loan be be “forgiven” as well. There are mini-grants and the Self-Help fund as well. All of these assistance programs can pay various bills, such as rent, inventory, utilities, and more. Whether Black, Asian or Chinese, or some other ethnicity, help is offered. More information. https://oewd.org/businesses-impacted-covid-19
Black-owned restaurants in both Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire can get financial help in the form of grants from the SoCal Gas Restaurant Recovery Program. Grantees can use the funds for payroll, rent, equipment (including safety or hygiene) and other bills. More details are here. https://www.socalgas.com/coronavirus
AmPac Business Capital is offering up to $50,000 loans. The lender a faith based lender. Loans of up to $50,000 will be issued under-served communities, including women and minority owned businesses, to help cover costs associated with inventory, equipment, personnel and related expenses. Of its $4.6 million in direct loans as of 2019, 41% went to women; 24% to African American-owned businesses and 13% to Latino business owners. Seventy-three percent of the loans went to low- and moderate-income borrowers. https://ampac.com/
The Finli Free Grant will support Black-owned businesses in education and enrichment that have long been an integral part of our community. These small businesses teach our children, energize our seniors, illuminate our world through education, art, dance, language and enable all of us to be better. https://blm.finli.com/
California Endowment Pledges $225 Million for Black-Led Activism (Grants) – https://www.philanthropy.com/article/California-Endowment-Pledges/249236
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher encourages minority business owners to apply for $3.4 million in grants – https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/minority-business-owners-grants-san-diego/509-5bf77759-168b-4ae3-a9d6-9eaa0e748e79
By Jon McNamara