Small to mid-sized minority and female owned businesses in Georgia can get financial help in the form of free grants or low interest rate, or forgivable loans. Find government programs, lenders, charities, corporations and other places to get financial assistance near you in Georgia below. Learn where and how to get everything from free business consultations to grants, mentoring programs, loans, and other assistance.
Any business can apply. However each of the agencies as well as assistance programs has committed to helping disadvantaged businesses in Georgia. This includes minorities (Black, Latino, Asian, immigrants, etc.), veterans, women in Georgia, and LGBTQ businesses. Any free grants (whether from a non-profit or the government) is combined with other help, including technical assistance, financial advice, budgeting, counseling, and more. Businesses that get loans will also get other support as well. A major focus is on providing grants to Black owned male and women owned businesses in the state and Atlanta.
Find small business financial assistance programs in Georgia, including in Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and statewide. Everything from low cost loans to grants, capital, or funds to pay certain operating expenses may be offered, with priority for MWBE and BIPOC businesses (businesses owned by people of color) in Georgia.
Find minority and female business grants and loans in Georgia
The list of programs is updated daily. As noted, anyone can apply. But funds and support will be focused on Black, Latino, Veteran, and female owned companies among other disadvantaged businesses.
Ongoing, year round free grants, business coaching, and loan programs
A number of free grant, loan, coaching services and financial assistance programs operate year round in Georgia. Find details below by “category”, including by ethnicity, gender, and or city/county/geography. Some assistance is available monthly too, and scroll down the page to find more loan or grant programs.
Statewide financial resources and coaching services
Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE) operates across Georgia as a non-profit, CDFI. They provide low cost or interest free loans, grant programs, coaching and educational workshops. A focus is giving assistance to low-income entrepreneurs as well as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), veteran, or women business owners or entrepreneurs. Learn more here. https://aceloans.org/
Georgia Microenterprise Network (GMEN) is a statewide organization that offers support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. There are free training sessions, classes, network events and other services. The free network also provides information on government grants or low cost (or interest free loans) from lenders. GMEN operates year round with a diverse set of businesses involved, including those owned by women, people of color, veterans, LGTBQ+ and others. More details on GMEN here. https://gmen.org/
Georgia MBDA, or formally known as the Minority Business Development Agency, focuses on helping small, minority owned businesses in Atlanta and statewide. There are programs such as START to Build, information on raising capital or money for a business, a Growth Hub and more. They are also partners with Georgia Tech. Find details here. https://georgiambdabusinesscenter.org/
Georgia’s SSBCI is a federal funded, free grant program for underserved businesses. A focus is on those from rural areas, inner cities, and low-income parts of GA. Financial assistance is from Georgia Loan Participation Program (GA LPP) as well as Georgia SBCG (Small Business Credit Guaranty). Most of the funds go to women, minorities and veterans, as they fall into the sections of the state. Apply here. https://www.dca.ga.gov/community-economic-development/funding-programs/state-small-business-credit-initiative-ssbci
Atlanta area (all surrounding counties) assistance programs for MWBE businesses
ASCEND is for minorities in the Atlanta region. the Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, JPMorgan Chase (one of largest banks in the world), Village Micro Fund and TechSquare Labs as well as other corporations created this program for minority business owners and start ups. Clients can get capital, including interest free loans, or enroll into a Market Acceleration Program. There is also minority business start up classes for Microbusinesses, free coaches, applications to grant money for MWBE companies and so much more. Continue with ASCEND. https://ascendatlanta.com/
Atlanta area, Black and Brown owned businesses can get help from the Village Micro Fund. They are a Kiva Trustee as well, meaning the Fund can help facilitate microloans at zero percent interest rates. There are business education workshops, loans to grow or start a small businesses, a “Fellowship Program” and much more. They focus on helping the underserved community. Learn more on the non-profit here. https://www.villagemicrofund.com/
The Atlanta Business League helps African-Americans in the city and nearby counties, including Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb and others. There is business training, workshops and information on raising money. Learn about starting a business, creating an LLC, researching a market and much more. Find details about the League here. https://atlantabusinessleague.org/
Atlanta MSA Black entrepreneurs can get help from the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE). The facility allows Black men and women owned businesses to learn about grant programs. There are workspaces for use, networking, coaching programs, It is an incubator service that helps startups grow, address any issues around funding or growth rates and offers other assistance. Continue reading here. https://russellcenter.org/
Entrepreneurs of Color Loan Fund is provides working capital to minority, women-owned, and low-income business owners in the Atlanta community. Low-cost or interest free loans from non-profit community lenders (CDFIs) help small businesses get the funds they need. Apply here. https://www.lisc.org/eocf/
Atlanta Women’s Foundation helps non-profits. They will have grant programs and other resources for non-profit organizations in the Atlanta area. The assistance is only for charity/non-profit groups that help women, including low-income families, overcome hardships. Find details. https://www.atlantawomen.org/
Women owned businesses in the metropolitan area of Atlanta (and all several counties surrounding the city) can get help from the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI). They help women create and/or launch a business, and all that involves. There are referrals to government and charitable grant programs, low cost loans, business plan development, mentoring, education, and so much more. Women of all ages, races, ethnicities, etc. can get help. Learn more about the center here and the assistance programs offered. https://www.weiatlanta.com/
Atlanta Wealth Building Imitative (AWBI) provides a number of business assistance programs, with a focus on Black women and male-owned. A major focus is on Black / African owned businesses, and they have a program to assist 1,000 (or more). Grants, workforce development, counseling and more is offered. Continue reading. https://www.atlantawealthbuilding.org/1000blackbusinesses
Start:ME Accelerator, from Emory University and partner agencies, is offered multiple times per year. It helps women and minority-owned micro-businesses. There is free mentoring, peer to peer coaching, information on grants and raising capital as well as other services. The Goizueta Business School at Emory is the lead, and find details here. Apply here. https://www.startmeatl.org/
Innovative Community Center Branch, also known as the Summerhill Community Center, operated by Chase, offers a number or services to small businesses, with a focus on those that are minority owned, disadvantaged as well as that have bad credit. The Atlanta location of Chase has free one-on-one mentorship support, help applying for loans, entrepreneurship services and more. Get details here https://media.chase.com/news/chase-opens-innovative-community-center-branch-in-atlantas-summerhill-neighborhood
The United Way of Greater Atlanta, working with other lenders (including Wells Fargo) and non-profits such as Invest Atlanta, provides help to small business owners, with a focus on minority, veteran, Black owned, and women owned as well as “diverse” businesses. The United Way help facilitates microloans, helps businesses pay the rent, get capital and offers other financial help as well as training services. Learn more on grants, Invest in Atlanta financial assistance programs, and get other help here. https://www.investatlanta.com/
Augusta region and central-eastern GA
Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation will, from time to time, give free grants as well as training to help Black males and/or females start a businesses. However they do provide services year round to members. They can help minority business owners network, offer mentorships, referrals to non-profits, and a host of other services. Learn more. https://mygabc.org/
Central Georgia grant and loan programs
Macon and central Georgia area business, including underserved ones (Black, Women, Veteran, LGBTQ, etc.) can get help from Newton Macon. They are a small, CDFI lender that not only provides capital to businesses that often lack access to funds, but they also coordinate other assistance. Website and business plan development, networking, mentoring, and other programs are offered in the region. Learn more on their services as well as loans. https://www.newtownmacon.com/loans/ Another option in Macon area is the non-profit NewTown Macon’s Godsey Initiatives Fund. They help women and businesses of color start and/or grow through a number of programs.
April and May 2023
Accion Opportunity Fund has a grant program for Black and Latina people either become truck drivers and/or grow an existing trucking business. Get financial help to buy a truck or make payments on loans, mentoring and other support in Georgia. Learn more here. https://aofund.org/news/opening-doors-for-more-women-and-people-of-color-in-trucking/
Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce and the City are helping minority entrepreneurs. There are free workshops, educational classes on how to start a business, grants and other funds from the City of Augusta Business Equity Fund. Learn more here. https://mygabc.org/about/
Southern Crescent Women has a business pitch program. It will help female-owned businesses in the form of grant money, counseling and more. The non-profit has helped fund a number of businesses over the years, and learn more here. https://scwibga.org/fundingpitch
August 2022, September 2022 and October 2022
City of Valdosta as well as The Black Business Alliance as well as Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce is using up to $1 million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funds to provide grants to small businesses. The free government grants are part of COVID relief, and applicants need to have been impacted by the pandemic. A focus is on women, minority, and veterans. Apply here https://www.valdostacity.com/sites/default/files/uploads/featured-image/arpasmallbusinessfinal-english.pdf
The city of Norcross Georgia is providing free grants as part of the financial assistance program known as Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs. The money is part of the federal government American Rescue Plan Act. The grants can pay for operating costs, payroll, inventory, rent, and other bills. A major focus is in businesses owned by people of color in the city as well as women or veterans. Apply here for the Norcross program. https://www.norcrossga.net/2214/ARPA-Small-Business-Grant-Program
The Atlanta Commercial Property Improvement Grant is open for applications to both non-profit and for-profit businesses, with a focus on those in lower-income parts of the city. Another focus is on minority as well as Black men and women owned businesses. The funds are for businesses with a physical presence and up to $50,000 can be used to update, repair, modernize the property. The goal is to help “revitalize” and improve the city of Atlanta. Apply here. https://www.investatlanta.com/openforbusiness/commercial-property-improvement-grant
May, June 2022, and July 2022
Atlanta Recovery Loan program is for businesses in the city only. There will be interest-free loans issued to help businesses grow and expand. A major focus is on disadvantaged businesses that lack access to capital, equity, or bank loans. The Atlanta financial assistance program will disburse a few million in loans total, with a focus on Black women, men, and minorities in Atlanta. Wells Faro, the United Way, and other non-profits will be partners too. Learn more and apply here for 0% rate loans in Atlanta. https://www.investatlanta.com/businesses/small-businesses/atlanta-recovery-loan-program
Columbus Georgia Small Business Grant program is for non-profits as well as for profit businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry. There are 3 different versions offered. The funds will help non-profits and service industries recover from the recent pandemic. with one of the grants focused on tourist businesses. In all instances, a focus will be to give money to disadvantaged businesses, which include women, veteran, and minorities. Find the various grants in Columbus GA here. https://www.columbusga.gov/arp
Atlanta area businesses can apply for free $10,000 grants from Comcast Rise. The financial assistance will be combined with technical assistance, marketing support, free internet access, coaching and so much more. The cable provider is providing the free grants to businesses owned by women and/or people of color, including Latino, Indigenous, Black, Asian American or immigrants. The company needs to be a “small business” and independently owned. Apply for Comcast Rise Grants in Atlanta here. https://www.comcastrise.com/rise-apply/
Fulton County Recovery Loan Program and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) are working together to provide low cost (or interest free loans) of up to $10,000 to small business owners. There are also business advisory services provided. Priority is given to businesses that were most impacted by COVID as well as disadvantaged businesses that lack access to capital, such as women, minority, LGTBQ and veterans. Continue reading. https://aceloans.org/fulton/
Chatham County and Savannah businesses can apply for free government grants that are being issued as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. A major focus is on service businesses, including minority and women, that were impacted by COVID. This can be a restaurant, hotel, travel business, hairdresser, or countless other small to mid-sized businesses that are in the service industry. The money can help pay for operating costs, rent, utilities, inventory and other expenses. Learn more on the Chatham Small Business Grant Program by dialing 912-335-5314.
February and March 2022
Small businesses in the city of Atlanta can apply for financial help from the Resurgence Grant Fund. Up to $40,000 may be given to each business. The money will go towards helping small businesses, including minority, veteran and women-owned recover from COVID. The assistance program is known as Invest Atlanta, and it can even help more mid-sized businesses such as those with up to 250 employees. Find more details. https://www.investatlanta.com/businesses/small-businesses/resurgence-grant-fund
November and December 2021
Restaurants in the Atlanta region can apply for financial aid and free grants from the QuickBooks Restaurant Relief Initiative as well as the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA). The corporation and non-profit are working together to help bars, restaurants, cafes, and food service places. A major focus is on helping disadvantaged, MWBE as well as veteran owned restaurants. The grant money can help pay for bills, salaries, rent, and other operating costs. The funds are for smaller businesses. Apply here. https://mailchi.mp/5157303a77f4/grafoundation
January 2021 and February 2021
Metro Atlanta Chamber is offering RESTORE ATL grants. The financial assistance, in the form of free grants, is for small as well as medium sized businesses in the greater metro area, including multiple counties. $5,000 to $10,000 may be issued to Black owned businesses. Apply here. https://www.metroatlantachamber.com/restore-atl-grant
Back2Business is an assistance program from FisServ, and black and minority owned businesses can apply for cash grants of up to $10,000. The funds are for the Atlanta region, including Fulton, Cobb, and Gwinnett County. Not only are funds used to help businesses impacted by COVID, but there is also free expert advise, SME programs, webinars, coaching and more. Partners include Atlanta Black Chambers, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and other non-profits are also supporting minority owned small businesses, including Salons, restaurants, bars, hotels, travel companies and other businesses. Apply here. https://aeoworks.org/fiserv/
November – December 2020
Free small business grants, counseling, technical help and assistance is offered to small, minority run businesses as well as entrepreneurs in Atlanta. The Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative is a non-profit that is trying to assist disadvantaged businesses. They provide mentoring (from business leaders), help black male and women owned companies get off the road, provide information on funding sources and loans, and much more. The goal is to help close the racial wealth gap. Continue reading here. https://www.atlantawealthbuilding.org/
Decide DeKalb offers the Better Business Loan Program is offering low cost loans to businesses under 20 employees. Each minority or female applicant/small business can be given at most $40,000. The non-profit is the Economic Development Agency for DeKalb County, and the business needs to be located there. The address is 125 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 150, Decatur, GA 30030. For information on the loans, dial 404.687.2730 or more details here. https://www.decidedekalb.com/
By Jon McNamara