Find loans and free grants for veteran, women, LGBTQ or other minority owned businesses in Colorado. Local as well as national banks, non-profit organizations, corporations, and other lenders provide funding to small to midsize businesses as well as entrepreneurs. There may be minority business loans, funds to help a women owned business grow, or grants to start up a company. Find details below on how to get loans or grants near you in Colorado.
There are lenders across the state. While most of the grants as well as loan programs are offered from lenders in the major cities of Denver, Boulder, or El Paso Colorado, there are also generally options available in all cities and counties. The application criteria will vary. Some lenders, financial aid or government grant programs require minimum credit scores or business revenue targets, others don’t. There may also be grants focused on Black women business owners, veterans, or female companies as well. You will need to call and/or apply for more details.
In addition to providing funds to MWBE as well as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) businesses in Colorado, some of the lenders or other providers will also give free advice or mentoring services as part of the financing package. This will be another benefit to using the programs below. In addition, there are always new loans or free grant programs being offered; the list below will be added to and updated daily.
Small business minority or women owned loans and free grants in Colorado
Find a current, updated list of places to turn to for funding. There will be grants loans, mentoring services, and other small business programs for women or minorities in Colorado near you. The most recent announcement as well as sources of funding will be at the top of the list, with older announcements towards the bottom.
Ongoing Year Round Resources
The Aurora Colorado NACCP operates an Economic Development Center. While it is focused on people of color, anyone can use it. A wide variety of free resources are offered to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Learn about local and national grants, sign up for mentoring, use office equipment, use the center to network and take advantage of a host of other programs. Read about the non-profit here. https://www.auroracoloradonaacp.org/en/home/
Colorado’s Black Business Initiative (BBI) provides resources (including capital, grants, or low-cost loans) to Black-owned businesses. A program known as the AYA Foundation is offered, and this will provide a number of assistance programs to Black women and male owned companies. There are also free training and workshops to ensure they have the “tools” and support needed to succeed. More details here. https://www.bbiprofessional.com/
Colorado Lending Source is a Kiva sponsored Trustee. They offer various loan products from their B-Side Capital program, whether Angel Investing, Equity raises, partnerships and more. But one program is the 0% interest rate KIVA loans, which can help small businesses start and/or grow, with a focus on MWBE, veteran, and immigrant owned companies. Learn more on The Lending Source here. https://www.bsidecapital.org/colorado-lending-source
Community Reinvestment Fund of Denver provides loans to underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses. They are a CDFI that provides financing, advice, training and other support. One of the main financial assistance programs in known as Patient Loans. Learn about the Denver non-profit here. https://crfusa.com/lending/
Denver Denver Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers a number of assistance programs for women, minorities, veterans, and others. They focus on both small businesses as well as entrepreneurs, Get help from the Leading Edge program, learn about free government grants or loan programs, free coaching and consulting services are offered and more. They work with SBA, Well Fargo, non-profits, and other corporations. Learn more here. https://www.denversbdc.org/
Denver area businesses that are owned by a low income person, or someone with poor capital and/or who needs access to Capital can try the Women’s Business Center at Mi Casa Resource Center. They focus on Latino owners, minorities and women, in particular those in lower income areas. Everything from interest free loans (in partnership with Kiva) to business plan development, a free to use resource center, licensing and permitting help and more in offered. Continue with Women Center programs here. https://micasaresourcecenter.org/
Denver Latino owned businesses, as well as some owned BIPOC owned companies, can use the Latino Leadership Institute. They have a number of programs for businesses owned by people of color, including a Latino Business Accelerator program. They help set up the legal structure, provide marketing advice, help facilitate access to capital (loans or grants) and more. Existing businesses and entrepreneurs can use the non-profit Institute. Learn more. https://latinoslead.org/
Denver entrepreneurs, start ups and micro-businesses can use The Commons on Champa center. It is a program run by the city, corporations and non-profits that help people, including women, minorities, LGTBQ+ community host of business resources. There are computer labs, networking opportunities, posting on various grant or loan programs as they are released and more more. Read more on the Center here. https://thecommons.co/
ENERGIZE Colorado has funds for BIPOC-owned small business, including Black women, men, or Hispanics. Any business owned by people of color can look into financial assistance programs offered by the non-profit. The organization partners with the Colorado Office of Economic Development to provide grants, loans and more. Learn about the programs here. https://energizecolorado.com/bipoc-owned-businesses/
Fort Collins BIPOC Alliance offers programs such as Wealth in Numbers (WIN). The goal of the non-profit is to help businesses owned by minorities/people of color to start or grow. Get free mentoring, training, assistance raising money from banks loans or grants as well as other support – anything business oriented is offered. Learn about the Alliance here. https://www.bipocalliance.org/
Grand Junction Colorado area businesses can get help from the Business Incubator Center. A wide variety of services are offered as well as loan funds. A focus is on veteran, Black or Latino women owned businesses, and other underserved individuals in the community. There is a Business Loan Fund (BLF), Incubator and business accelerator programs, co-working spaces, free workshops and mentoring services and more. Find details here. https://gjincubator.org/
Minority Business Office of Colorado, or MBO, is an organization made up of volunteers, corporations, and non-profits that help minority, women, and veteran owned businesses. There is a list of free grants (from corporations, donors and non-profits) as well as ongoing support. That includes online tools, counseling, coaching services, and even help with publicity or marketing. Read more on MBO here. https://oedit.colorado.gov/minority-business-office-of-colorado
Prairie Rose Development Corporation is a non-profit small business and startup lender that covers all of Colorado. Qualified applicants can borrow about $15,000 at zero percent interest rates, and the funding is offered in partnership with Kiva. They support underserved small business owners, including those of color, women, LGBTQ and disabled owners among others. Various mentoring, free loans, and financial aid is offered. Apply here. https://prairierosedevelopment.org/
October 2022 and November 2022
Denver (city and county) minority and women-owned businesses can apply for grants from the New Community Transformation Fund. The financial assistance is the result of money raised from Cannabis sales, however the city of Denver will help MWBE-owned businesses. The goal is to help small businesses in a wide variety of industries grow their sales, hire people, and expand in the Denver CO region. Learn more here. https://newcommunityfund.com/denver
Cannabis Business Grant can provide up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses, including minority, LGTBQ or women owned. Applicants also need to have a Social Equity License, have less than 6 employees, and agree to future growth and employment goals among other criteria. The free grants are for businesses in the Cannabis industry. Apply here. https://oedit.colorado.gov/cannabis-business-grant
August and September 2022
Colorado Startup Loan Fund is running until early next year. Lenders, banks, and non-profits will provide low cost, if not interest free micro-loans, to underserved businesses that often struggle to get capital. The goal is to help small businesses grow. There is a focus on minority, women, LGTBQ+, and veteran owned (or other underserved) businesses. Learn more here. https://oedit.colorado.gov/colorado-startup-loan-fund
Colorado State’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is providing financial help, grants, loans, equity investments and more to businesses using federal government money from the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The money will be provided over the next few months. The funding is diverse, with a focus on underserved businesses including those owned by people of color, the LGTBQ+ community, women, veterans and others. Learn more here https://climber-colorado.com/ or https://oedit.colorado.gov/venture-capital-authority
June and July 2022
Boulder Colorado small businesses, including those that are black owned (women or men), LGTBQ+, women, and veterans can apply for free government grant money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be provided (in total) to businesses that are trying to “recover” from the COVID pandemic. The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act. A priority is on MWBE and disadvantaged business owners as well as any business that is a service type company. Get details here. https://www.bouldercounty.org/government/budget-and-finance/american-rescue-plan-act-arpa/
April and May 2022
Women science, technology, and/or health care businesses can apply for the Colorado Small Business Development Center Accelerator program. It is known as the TechSource, and it will help small to mid-sized business grow faster-accelerate. This includes information on financial assistance (grants or loans), free consulting services, help with marketing, free legal aid, and so much more. There is financial support and ongoing advice to help women owned tech/science businesses. Learn more. https://sbdc-techsource.org/commercialization/tech-venture-accelerator-for-women-tvxw/
Businesses owned by people of color can apply for low cost and/or interest free loans. The financial aid program is offered in partnership with Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number Loan fund, and Colorado Enterprise as well as Chamber of Commerce. The money can be used as working capital, pay for technology upgrades or capital improvements, cover business expansion costs and more. Learn more on the resource here. https://coloradoenterprisefund.org/MBE-Services.
The State of Colorado is backing a loan program for businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic. Loans of up to $500,000 are being offered, with priority for veterans, minority, LGBTQ, women and minority businesses in Colorado. However any small business can apply. The funds are part of Economic Recovery. Apply here. https://www.coloradosbdc.org/covid/
January 2021 and February 2021
Priority Neighborhood Small Business Fund is offered to some parts of the city. Denver Economic Development and Opportunity runs the Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization program, and it helps smaller businesses in East Colfax, Elyria-Swansea, Globeville, Montbello, Northeast Park Hill, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax and Westwood in Denver. Up to $1,000 grants are offered to businesses, including women and minority ones, in these parts of the city. Learn more https://www.denvergov.org/Government/Departments/Economic-Development-Opportunity
Small, service type businesses in Arapahoe County can apply for free grants, as there will be as much as $4 million offered. The funds are for minority and women owned businesses (among others). A focus is on bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theatres and “service” type small to mid sized businesses that have been impacted by COVID. It is a small business relief grant, and up to $7,000 can be issued to each businesses, including low income owners or minorities. Apply here. https://www.arapahoegov.com/2154/Small-Business-Relief-Fund-Grant
Rural Colorado businesses along with those that are in Denver, and businesses are veteran, minority or female-owned can get help. There is also assistance for that are are owned by Latinos, Blacks, or people of color, they can all get financial help and other support. Free grants from Energize Colorado are offered to small businesses that have under 26 employees. There is also funding from the SheEO grant (for women companies), microloans, as well as the Entrepreneurial Dream Project grant and mentorship program. More details here. https://energizecolorado.com/
Boulder launching $700K small business grant. Business grants will be targeted to companies with fewer than 50 employees, those owned by women or people of color, or “agreement to enter into technical assistance programs, on-time tax remittance, local employment, and furthering of community sustainability goals.”. Free grants will be program will be administered through Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF). Learn more https://coloradoenterprisefund.org/
Energize Colorado Gap Fund looking to jump start smallest of small businesses, including female-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned and rural-based businesses in Colorado that are so small they have struggled to gain the attention of banks or access federal lending programs. Up to $35,0000 is being offered per applicant in a combination of loans as well as grants. Both for profits and non-profits in Colorado can apply, with priority given to People of Color, Indigenous, Black, Veterans, or Women owned majority businesses. Apply or learn more here. https://energizecolorado.com/gap-fund/ or Read more details https://www.denverpost.com/2020/08/01/energize-colorado-gap-fund-looking-to-jump-start-smallest-of-small-businesses/
By Jon McNamara