Free grants along with loans and mentoring is offered to Florida. There is help for women and minority owned companies, veterans as well as startups or entrepreneurs. The goal is to help businesses that often lack access to capital (mostly Black, Latino, women, etc.) get the financial support they need, whether it is a low or no-interest loan or a cash grant. Find lenders, grantors, and programs below.
Financial assistance, as well as other support (including mentoring, networking, technical help and more) can be offered by non-profits, the federal government or state of Florida, banks, charities, and other groups. Each of the loan, free grant, or business assistance programs listed below has committed to allocating some funds to women owned companies as well as Latino, Black, LGBTQ, Veteran, and other minority or disadvantaged groups (MWBE) as well as veterans in Florida. There is also business advice and help for immigrant run organizations.
While many of the small to mid sized resources are based in the cities of Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Palm Beach, and other major cities, there are programs available across the state. Not only may funds be offered, but all agencies also may offer separate counseling, marketing help and other free advice.
Women or minority businesses loans and free grants in Florida
The list below is updated daily with the latest resources for disadvantaged businesses, including BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, People of Color in Florida. The grant and loan programs, as well as other free resources, can help minority or women owned or run companies.
Ongoing resources for businesses
Black owned businesses across Florida can apply for the Black Business Loan Program. It is being offered by the CDFI for the state, which is The Community Fund of North Miami Dade. The goal is to spread financing to small to mid sized businesses that struggle to get funds from traditional banks. Up to $100,000 can be borrowed by qualified Black owned businesses. The money can pay for inventory, payroll, expansion, and other bills. https://www.guidestar.org/profile/41-2025826
Women and minority owned businesses in the Apalachee Region can apply for financing from the Resolving Loan Fund from the Apalachee Regional Planning Council. It can not only help fund existing businesses, but it is a source of capital for start ups. There may also be loans for borrowers with poor credit. A business plan, mentoring, and ongoing support may be required as well. Read more. https://www.arpc.org/
Broward County businesses can turn to the Urban League and Central County Community Development Corporation, also known as CCCDC. The assistance offered includes an entrepreneurship center; small business loans; technical help; business capital or loans from Wells Fargo Dream Fund; one on one mentoring; tax planning and dozens of other programs to women, Black, and minority business owners. Find more on their services. https://www.cccdcorp.org/
Central Florida is covered by the UCF Business Incubation Program as well as the Florida High Tech Corridor assist women owned businesses throughout Florida. They will, from time to time, have grants to help women-owned businesses grow an existing company. They also help the “test” an idea as well as launch a company, everything from legal aspects of it to the Traction Program and ongoing support. More details here. https://incubator.ucf.edu/
Daytona Beach area MWBE owners can get assistance from the Small Business Development Center, which is located at Daytona State College. A number of resources are offered, including financial ones. The United Minority Scholarship program. They help with raising capital, social media marketing, government contracting for MWBE companies, management techniques and so much more. Continue reading here. https://www.daytonastate.edu/sbdc/
Miami MBDA helps women and minority owned businesses in Miami-Dade County. There are many free resources, including business plan development classes, free coaching programs, training and analysis on financial matters, as well as assistance in applying for low cost loans or free grants. They also help women and minority businesses get more revenue and government contracts. All resources are offered in Spanish too. Read more. https://www.mbda.gov/business-center/miami-mbda-business-center
Miami-Dade Black Owned businesses can apply for low cost loans from the Black Business Loan Program, which is run by the Bayside Foundation. Up to $150,000 can be provided. Inventory, working capital, salaries, and limited other expenses can be paid. Apply here. https://miamibaysidefoundation.org/black-business-loan-program/
Another Miami-Dade County program for businesses, including MWBE, Latino, LGTBQ, etc. is Axis Helps Miami. Not only may financial assistance in the form of loans or grants be offered, but there is free mentorship, business training, networking, investor pitches, help getting minority certification, information on government contracts and much more. Read up on the agency. https://www.axishelps.org/
Minority businesses in Palm Beach County (Black, Latino, Puerto Rican, Veteran, Women, etc.) can get financial assistance and other help from the Urban League of Palm Beach County. Everything from free mentoring to information on grants for the government or corporations, or loans, may be offered. Business Centers also hold classes and workshops for business owners as well as entrepreneurs. Read more here. https://ulpbc.org/
Another Palm Beach option is the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County / Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. They have a Small Business Resource Center, which is free to use. Latinos, Hispanics, Immigrants and people of color can learn about applying for grants, get help with business development or promotion, network, get discounts of Office supplies and more. Learn about their services here. https://hispanicchamberpbc.com/
Pinellas County Hispanic – Latino owned businesses (or those seeking to start a business) can contact the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Pinellas County. They offer a number of services, including mentoring, networking, databases and information on government grant programs or bank loans, and more. The goal is to help the Hispanic community grow or start a business. Learn more. https://www.facebook.com/groups/378994920212594
Prospera helps Hispanics all across Florida. There is assistance for immigrants, Cubans, Latinos, South America residents and any Latino. Several offices are located across Florida, and Prospera offers referrals to free grants or low cost loans, free business and marketing plan development, legal aid, free workshops and more. The goal is to empower Hispanics financially, professionally, and business wise. They support Hispanic entrepreneurs and small businesses. Read more. https://prosperausa.org/
Tampa Bay women-owned businesses, or entrepreneurs, can get access to a wide variety of free resources from the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre. There is information on raising capital from loans, equity, investors, or free government grants. Or take classes and workshops, both in the centre or online. Counseling, mentoring, wellness services, the Women Building Futures program and much more is offered. Learn more here. https://thecentre.org/businesscentre/
Tampa Bay area minority owned businesses, whether in Hillsborough, Pinellas, or other counties, can get support from the Minority Business Accelerator Program. It is run by the Chamber of Commerce and local partners. The goal is to arrange loans, help Black and Latino owned businesses get capital, and they coordinate various non-profits and “leaders” in the Tampa Bay area to give back/volunteer/coordinate programs. Read more here. https://www.tampabaychamber.com/involvement/minority-business-accelerator.aspx
October and November 2021
MWBE businesses in West Palm Beach can apply for microloans ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. The interest rate will vary, but it will be lower than other sources of capital. The main goal is to help small businesses overcome any financial hardship they have incurred from the pandemic. Dial 561-822-1273, or read about the low cost loan program. https://www.wpb.org/government/procurement
September and October 2021
Women owned businesses can apply for $10,000 grants from Bank United. The regional lender is running a financial aid program canned Small Business, Big Dreams – Women in Business. The goal is to provide capital to help women owned businesses, whether Black, Latina, White, etc. get the funds they need to start or grow a company. Judges will decide the winners. Learn more. https://www.bankunited.com/small-business/small-business-big-dreams-challenge/
February 2021, March 2021, and April 2021
Tampa Bay businesses that are owned by a woman, veteran, disabled, minority or LGBTQ person can apply for free $50,000 grants from an assistance program known as Backing the Bay. The grants are intended to help a disadvantaged business pay for marketing costs and advertising so that they can grow their sales. The Tampa Bay Lighting and partners are paying for the program. Read more. https://www.nhl.com/lightning/community/backing-the-bay
Leon County and Tallahassee minority and/or female owned businesses can apply for Microloans from the FAMU Credit Union. Up to $50,000 can be borrowed (while funding lasts). The money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). There is also help for borrowers with limited or bad credit. The interest rates will be very low, even a low as one to three percent. To learn or apply call (850) 222-4541.
PPP Loans (round 2) will help businesses that have been hit by COVID. Black, women, Latino, and other minority or disadvantaged businesses can apply first. There are hundreds of banks, non-profits, and credit unions across Florida that accept applications. Use the free government grants to pay rent, payroll, and other bills. Read more. https://floridasbdc.org/disaster/cares-act/sba-ppp/
October – November 2020
Broward County and/or Coral Springs Black Business Owners can get financial help. The Black Chamber of Commerce and Fiserve are helping minority, Black men and women owned businesses across Broward County. Each qualified business, or startup, will be given at most $10,000. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScMINEc2WztQqTruNnazZ6lR7q5Wx69Mob4WIZLaJBFt7DRbQ/viewform?fbclid=IwAR0fP0ikoeD_106izuQxPnJGLmIqIF4dT5SwCusi_P3RN9oY_7pHjU80XEA
Tampa Bay area and the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women is assisting female business owners and entrepreneurs., regardless of their race. The CARES project helps owners find, and apply for the capital they need for their business. There are also networking events, women’s leadership programs and other services. http://thecentre.org/
By Jon McNamara