Small businesses in Delaware that are owned by women, veterans, or minorities have a number of resources available to them. Find where and how to get free grants (from the government, corporations or charities), loans (which can often be deferred), and other capital. There are banks, lenders, corporate foundations, and non-profits near you that offer free MWBE grants and loans in DE.
In almost all cases, the financial assistance is combined with other support. Startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs can not only get a loan, grant, or other type of financing, but most agencies also give general business advice (for free). It may be help with marketing, business plan development, mentoring, online support and much more. This means a minority or women owned business can both get funds as well as ongoing support. The financial aid and free advice is even more effective for female and minority businesses.
While most of the small business funds are issued in Wilmington Delaware, there will be free grants and loans available statewide too. The list of programs and lenders below is updated daily, with priority for POC (People of Color), veteran, and MWBE owned businesses.
Small business loans and free grants for women or minority companies in Delaware
Any small business owner, sole-proprietor or startup company can apply. However, each organization will be allocating some of their loans or grants funds to women, the disabled, veterans, Black or Latino, Asian, and other minority-disadvantaged businesses.
Year Round free Grants, Financial Assistance and Coaching Programs
Latino owned businesses can get help from DALE (the Delaware Alliance of Latino Entrepreneurs). The non-profit as well as the charity La Plaza has a number of free business development programs. Free training, mentoring, help in getting loans or grants and more is offered. The goal of DALE, and partners, is to help Hispanic, Latino, and immigrant owned small businesses. Learn more on DALE assistance here. https://daledelaware.org/
Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce (DEBCC) offers a number of assistance programs, businesses services, and networking events (among other resources). A major focus is of course on Black owned and minority businesses, but others can get tips or referrals as well. There is an entrepreneurship development program, information on business plan development, raising capital from government grants or low cost loans as well as other resources. Small businesses and start ups can use the organization. Read more here. https://debcc.org/
MDE Loan Program is from The Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce and Del-One Federal Credit Union are providing low cost loans to small, minority owned businesses. The funds will focus on Black male and women owned businesses with women and people of color also able to apply for low cost or interest free loans. Learn more here. https://www.del-one.org/business-loans/
La Plaza Delaware focuses on Hispanic owned businesses, but other minority owned companies can also get help. There is help creating a business plan, loan and grant programs, financial coaching and other programs available. The non-profit will help Latinos, minorities and others start or expand a business in Delaware, including Sussex County. Read more here. https://laplazadelaware.org/home/
Sussex County Latino and Hispanic small business owners as well as entrepreneurs can get help from La Esperanza Community Center. The non-profit offers everything from low cost, or interest free, microloans to business and financial coaching services. There are also multiple week training sessions, technical help, and mentoring services along with other financial assistance programs as well as advice. Read more. https://www.laesperanzacenter.org/
Wilmington Veterans Resource Center is located at Delaware Tech on the Orlando J. George, Jr., campus. The center was opened in partnership with Navient. A wide variety of programs are offered, ranging from scholarships to tuition assistance programs. In addition, there are resources for veterans to help them succeed in business and their career, including information on how to start and register a business, applications to grant or loan programs, mentoring, and other business development services. Find more details on the college and veteran programs here. https://www.dtcc.edu/
Wilmington businesses, that are located in the west side of the city, can get help from West Side Corridor Revitalization Fund or West Side Small Business Innovation Grants. These are two separate programs that provide forgivable loans or free grants. A major focus is on disadvantaged businesses, including veterans, minorities, women and others. The loans or grants can pay for property repairs, new business creation on the west side of Wilmington. Read more here. https://www.westsidegrows.org/small-businesses
July and August 2023
Energize Delaware is providing free grant money to minority owned businesses. The focus is on helping businesses become more energy efficiency. In addition to the free grant money, there will be other assistance to minority business owners, including access to the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Greater Philadelphia. Apply here. https://energyequityfund.org/grants/
November and December 2022
Brunswick County businesses, that have a storefront, can apply for a revitalization grant that is offered by Duke Energy and the Chamber of Commerce. The free grant, with a focus on MWBE, can pay for real estate improvements, furniture, signage, payroll, rent, and more. Learn about the grant here. https://brunswickcountychamber.org/duke-grant/
Small businesses in the city of Wilmington can receive $1,000 grants, if they were impacted by COVID. The funds will focus on service businesses, hospitality, hotel, restaurants and others. There will be some grant money allocated to women and minorities as well as part of the Wilmington STRONG FUND. Various banks, lenders, and corporations are part of the program as well, and read more here. https://www.wilmingtonstrongfund.com/
The EDGE Grant program is a free government grant in Delaware. The funds are for small businesses with under 10 employees, and a focus is on science, tech, STEM companies, and high growth industries. There is also financial help / priority for MWBE as well as veteran owned businesses in the state. Learn more or apply here. https://business.delaware.gov/edge/
January and February 2022
The DD Entrepreneurial Foundation is providing as much as $20,000 to help women launch a business or to enhance their career skills. There will be a few winners to this service. The non-profit aims to help women succeed, both professionally, educationally, and business wise. The free grants can serve as start-up capital too. Apply here. http://ddefoundation.org/apply/
November and December 2021
Kent County small businesses as well as service companies (hotels, restaurants, etc.) can apply for free government grants. The financial aid can pay salaries, rent, marketing costs and other businesses expenses. Millions of dollars will be provided, with some of the grants allocated for MWBE, veteran, and businesses owned by people with a disability. The Levy Court has approved the funds. Read more. https://www.co.kent.de.us/
March and April 2021
United Way of Delaware, Barclays US Consumer Bank and the State of Delaware are offering assistance to women and minority owned businesses in the state. The service known as the Me Minority Small Business program will help businesses by giving them free mentoring, financial coaching, advice, and other support, including referrals to grant and loan programs. Up to $9000 can be provided to each qualified business. The loans and grants can also assist small businesses that have bad credit as well as start up companies. Learn more here. https://uwde.org/
January and February 2021
Businesses that have had a decrease in their revenue due to COVID can apply for state grants. The focus is on helping hard hit businesses, including Black, Latino, women, and veteran owned. State funds can assist restaurants, gyms, beauty parlors, hairdressers, bars, and other small to mid sized businesses that have had a reduction in sales. The office to apply at is 820 N. French Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, Call (302) 577-8477.
Small businesses with less than 10 employees can apply for free grants from the EDGE Grant program. A panel of experts, judges, and state of Delaware representatives selects the winners. As funding allows, and as the program continues to operate, up to $100,000 can be provided to small minority as well as women owned companies in Delaware. Read more here. https://business.delaware.gov/edge-grants/
The Division of Small Business is opening for round 2. The DE Relief Grants program will be issuing free grants (or low cost loans) to both non-profits as well as small businesses that have been impacted by COVID. Funds can be businesses (minority, women, and others) with payroll expenses, rent, inventory, utilities, and other bills. Applicants need to have been hit by the COVID pandemic. Apply here. https://business.delaware.gov/relief/
September and October 2020
DE Relief Grant program will provide grants of up to $100,000 (based on business revenue). Most of the funds will be for small to mid-sized companies. The money can be for advertising, expenses related to COVID, rent or mortgages and other bills. Some of the free grants will be allocated to Black, Latino, Veteran, and women owned small businesses in Delaware. Read more. https://business.delaware.gov/relief/
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware is offering funding to non-profits and advocates that fight and address income inequality as well as social issues. The free grants are for non-profit/charity/advocacy only, and not for-profit businesses. The assistance program is called “Fund for Transparency, Diversity, and Accountability”. It can help people of black and brown color to help them launch a business, get employment, and other social services. Apply here. http://www.delawareforbusiness.org/grant-applications
True Access Capital is a non-profit based in Delaware. They are providing loans of up to $20,000, in which the interest and principal can be deferred for a period of time. Applicants will also be give a $5,000 grant, which does not need to be repaid. The money can cover operating expenses. True Access is part of the Community Development Financial Institution network. To apply, dial 302-652-6774 and request extension 113.
By Jon McNamara