Studies show the biggest challenge of starting or running a small business is access to capital. The ability to access funds is even more challenging for Black, women, Latino, LGTBQ and other minority owned businesses. Below you will find information on free small business grants or loan programs that are available for minority or women owned businesses (MWBE) or
BIPOC-owned businesses (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) near you. The list is ongoing and each state (as well as the national directory) will be updated daily as announcements are made. Find announcements on how and where to get loans or grants to help fund your small business, and select your state below or look for national programs.
Sadly minority and women owned businesses face many funding challenges that are unique to them. They often struggle to get the money they need to start or grow a business. Women, Black, Latino, and other minorities often use their own personal cash (or family money) to fund their business, with 17.6% of black owned businesses also using their credit card (vs. 10.3% of white owned businesses) and Latinos also tend to rely more on high cost debt. Women also often face challenges as well in the form of bias or discrimination in trying to get funds. Black owned, minority and women owned businesses all struggle to get bank loans, and their funding challenges is much greater than white owned businesses. Other minority groups as well as women owned or run businesses also struggle with funding.
Lack of capital also is a barrier for growing sales for Black, Latino, women and minority businesses. Whether starting a company, or growing one, capital is critical and can be the life-blood of your company. The other statistics around access to capital all highlight the challenges for minorities and women, not to mention the lack of generational wealth they have due to racism, sexism and discrimination (for both women and minorities). But there are some many free small to mid-size grant as well as loan programs out there to help!
National loans and free grants for minorities and women
There is a list of states below. However, in addition to those more local and state resources, there are corporations, banks, and federal government grant or loan programs that offer funds across the country to BIPOC or MWBE businesses. Each one will be allocating some of their funds, as well as other business support, to minorities, female owned, veteran, and disadvantaged businesses. These can help fund minority or women owned businesses, in the form of free grants or low interest/interest free loans no matter what state you live in.
National grants and loans (These can cover all states). The loans and grants are in addition to the states listed below.
There are small dollar as well as low credit funds from microloan lenders for startup companies and small businesses as well as borrowers with poor credit scores.
Another option for small business loans or free business development services in cities will be the hundreds of local CDFI, or Community Development Financial Institutions. They focus is on inner cities.
The federal government Small Business Administration (SBA) has several national loan programs, including Express, The 7(a) loan, Economic injury program and others. Each lender offers services to female and minority companies and sole-proprietors as well. More on SBA loans for disadvantaged businesses or owners.
Crowdfunding is another option for raising money, including loans, investors or equity type partnerships. There are crowdfunding platforms that focus on female owned businesses, Black or Veteran companies, and startups too. Learn how crowdfunding works and find platforms that can provide loans and funds.
All of those assistance programs above are available nationwide. Minority owned businesses (or entrepreneurs) can try them for free grants as well as loans, or find more help from their local state below. Latinos, Asians, veterans, women, and other disadvantaged companies will always be allocated some of the funds from every program listed.
State loan programs for disadvantaged businesses
In addition to the national programs above, which can help minority, women, Black, Latino and other businesses regardless of where the business is located, there are also financial assistance programs for most states. They are listed below, by state. Some state government, corporations based in a state, community banks and other lenders have a more local focus. Find grants as well as small business loans for minorities or women owned businesses in your state below. Or find grants and loans for all states – nationwide
Washington DC – District of Columbia
By Jon McNamara