Veteran, black owned, women, Latino companies, LGBTQ and other minority owned businesses or startups in Indiana can get free grants, counseling, mentoring, or loans to help them operate. There is financial assistance from the government, corporations, non-profits and other agencies that may be near you, which are listed below. While any business in Indiana can apply for funds, each lender or program is allocating some of their loan or grant programs to women as well as minorities.
Financial help (in the form of direct grants or low cost/interest free loans) are combined with other business support services. As minority or women small to mid-sized business owners can get free advice on growing their business, sales support, assistance setting up online presence, and so much more. The funds can be used to pay costs such as rent or inventory, be used for working capital as well as other needs.
The non-profits and other lenders in Indiana give both financial help as well as free advice to help Black, Latino, veteran, women, and other disadvantaged businesses grow. Programs are offered in Indianapolis Indiana, Fort Wayne as well as throughout the state.
Small business loans and grants for women or minorities in Indiana
An updated list of free grants and loans is below. The programs are updated daily. Women, veterans, the disabled and other small business owners or entrepreneurs can apply for help.
Ongoing – year round financial aid programs, free grants and coaching programs
Some of the free grant, loan, and small business coaching programs operate year round, regardless of month. Find resources below for minorities, veteran, Black men and women grants, the disabled and others. The resources are listed by county or category, and continue to scroll down the page for monthly assistance programs in Indiana.
State wide resources – grants, free consultations, loans and more offered statewide
Black Expo is available across Indiana. The non-profit offers a wide variety of services to Black/African American owned businesses. There is everything from scholarship and educational grants to low cost loans, business management programs, and more. The goal is to help the underserved in Indiana, and learn more about IBE here. https://www.indianablackexpo.com/
Black owned businesses can get funding from Bankable. The financial assistance program is known as the Indiana Black-Owned Business Loan Fund. Some of the loans may be interest free but others will have a very low interest rate. There are other resources offered by Bankable as well. The Black-Owned Business Loan Fund was set up to operate as a non-profit. More details here. https://www.bankable.org/
Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides a wide variety of services. They help small businesses, start ups, and entrepreneurs across the stage. Some programs are focused on minorities, veterans, and small businesses from disadvantaged areas. Get help with financing, loans from One Southern Indiana (a local partnership), marketing help, information on selling online or in new markets and more. They also have information on free grants when offered. Learn more here. https://isbdc.org/#
Old National Bank has a loan programs focused on disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses. The funds can help borrowers with bad or no credit, as the lender will be also using metrics other than just a credit score. The name of the program is the Empowerment Small Business Loan Program, and applicants should reference that service. Learn more here. https://www.oldnational.com/business/small-business-banking/loans
Indianapolis region financial assistance programs for small business owners
Indy Chamber of Commerce offers very low interest rate loans and small dollar micro-type loans (as little as $1,000). They provide funds to businesses that lack traditional access to funds, which is often women, minority, and immigrant companies. They also have no minimum credit score and give loans to start-ups too. Find details or apply. https://indychamber.com/entrepreneurship/lending/
Indianapolis and Marion County Hispanic/Latino owned businesses can get help from the Hispanic Business Council. The organization runs many programs, one known as Conexion. Among other services, there is referrals to government grants, loans from local banks, mentor – protegee programs, MBA level training and education services, business workshops and much more. Learn about the non-profit here. https://indychamber.com/join/hispanic-business-council/
Renew Indianapolis is offered in Marion and Hamilton County as well as the city of Indianapolis. A non-profit agency is involved in disbursing funds across the region to businesses that lack access to capital, such as those that are minority, veteran, immigrant, or women run. Renew Indianapolis also helps businesses that have low or poor credit ratings and score. Low cost loans, business capital, maybe grants and other aid is offered. Apply here. https://renewindy.org/
Terre Haute Black Business Alliance provides help to Black-owned businesses. There are a number of programs available, including help with accessing capital, including loans, bank funding, grant money and more. There are networking events, pitch competitions for money for the Black-owned businesses as well as other resources. Learn more here. https://www.terrehautechamber.com/community/black-business-alliance/
Northern, NW, and NE Indiana MWBE programs
South Bend Indiana small businesses, including minority, veteran, LGBTQ, women and others can get help from the city. There is the Small Business Assistance Suite. Entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and small business owners can get help, including information on local resources, details on free grant programs, coaching and networking opportunities to local professionals. Applications are needed, and look here for details. https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=5fjdxfV5706GYYHhhsUku5V7bGt0NNRLv-w8Pxu7fwVUOEtJQVRRRUUyTkwwUEYyRVFMUFlXTllVOC4u
The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center is in Fort Wayne and covers the entire region. They help entrepreneurs launch and grow a business. including access funding from 0% APR loans from Kiva. The non-profit, also known as NIIC, is inclusive and helps the disabled, MWBE businesses, veterans and others. There is a “Breakthrough Program” and other SMBE resources. Read more. https://theniic.org/
Southern Indiana grant and loan programs
Access Ventures helps minority owned, women, veteran, and disadvantaged businesses in southern Indiana. They invest in qualified businesses, and most of those that get funds from Access can’t get capital from any other source – such as the borrower has poor credit, past bankruptcy, or some other barrier. The terms and conditions will vary. More on this company. https://accessventures.org/
Minority owned businesses in Lafayette Indiana can get financial help, assistance in launching a company and other aid from MatchBOX Coworking Studio and a program known as Spark 2021. There is business development, one on one mentoring, micro-grants and workshops. Find more information here. https://matchboxstudio.org/BlogFiles/spark-2021—bipoc-business-cohort.html?fbclid=IwAR0ITIBKo8FbHXUQIWe63_XYSpZ8DolOotV-erXuu7ai_UV89JLT3ZfbqXI
South Bend Indiana businesses located in the city can apply for the Business Security Grant Program. Thousands of dollars will be given to qualified businesses to help them improve their on-premise security in an effort to improve the downtown area and make it safe. Learn more here. https://southbendin.gov/business-security-program/
February 2023 and March 2023
Indiana Black Expo has a 10 week long training program, with free grant money offered, to a black-owned business in the state. For those with perfect attendance, and that meet other criteria, up to $5,000 will be provided. The financial assistance program, and free training session, is for majority Black women or male owned business in Indianapolis or Marion County. Keycorp and the small business development center are partners. Learn more here. https://www.indianablackexpo.com/ibe-business-training-institute-2/
Downtown Indianapolis businesses can apply for free grant money to pay for B-Link security cameras. The city and non-profits, such as Downtown Indy, Inc. are partnering together to help improve public safety and security in the region. The funds are available across the downtown region, and apply here. https://blinkindy.org/
New Albany Indiana businesses can apply for interest free loans. The funds are only for businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing construction in the city. The money can help business replace lost sales, pay rent or salaries as well as other operating costs. Send an email to MikeF@1si.org at One Southern Indiana for details. The interest free loan can be as much as $25,000 per qualified business.
Federal Home Loan Bank in Indianapolis is providing free grants in Southern Indiana as part of the federal government Elevate Program. It is for existing small businesses, that have been operating for at least a year and have under $1 million in revenue. The program is open the disadvantaged and under capitalized businesses too, namely minority, women, and/or veteran owned businesses. Learn more here. https://www.fhlbi.com/
January and February 2022
Elkhart Indiana businesses, including MWBE owned businesses, that have under $500,00 in annual revenue can apply for free government grants as part of the American Rescue Plan funding financial assistance program. The money can be used to pay for multiple expenses such as website development, rent of a store or office, signage for a retail store, training for employees and other costs. As noted, some of the grants (which can be several thousands dollars) are being allocated for disadvantaged companies. Learn more here. https://elkhartindiana.org/small-business-continuity-program-section/
$10,000 grants are offered in the County of Rush and City of Rushville. The funds will go to for-profit businesses so that the business can hire (and retain) low to moderate income employees. The free grants are the result of COVID funding, with some money being allocated to women, minority, and veteran owned businesses. The applicant needs to have under 100 employees or be a microenterprise. The Economic Development Commission will be providing the funds in partnership with the county. To apply, call ECDC at (765) 938-3232.
March and April 2021
Black-owned businesses in Indianapolis can get free relief grants from Cummins CARE fund and LISC of Indianapolis. Up to $15,000 can be provided to small businesses as well as small-proprietors that have less than 11 employees and revenue under $1 million dollars. Apply here. https://www.lisc.org/indianapolis/covid-19/relief-fund-black-owned-businesses/
January 2021 and February 2021
Minority owned businesses in Northwest Indiana can apply for financial help, free grants, and more. Northwest Indiana Reinvestment Alliance and First Financial Bank are partnering on this program. The service is known as Minority Small Business Fund, and it helps small businesses. There is also a program known as NWIRA’s Diverse Women in Business Initiative, Financial Literacy, Budgeting, and low income help. More information here. https://www.nwira.org/
A second round of CARES funds will go going to the Small Business Restart Grants program in Indiana. Free financial assistance, in the form of grants, is for small businesses. Minority, veteran, and women owned company have funding too, provided their business has under 75 employees. The funds can pay for payroll and other COVID related costs. Apply here. https://backontrack.in.gov/2377.htm
November and December 2020
Black owned businesses as well as entrepreneurs in Indianapolis as well as Marion County can apply for free cash grants of up to $40,000. The Indy Black Chamber of Commerce, Comcast cable, and other companies are working together to offer funds. In addition, the Chamber offers Black owned businesses many other services. This can be counseling, job training, interview skills, information on business development workshops and more. In almost all cases, the free grants are combined with other general advice. Apply here. http://indybcc.org/ . Or the main address is 1449 N Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202. Phone 317-643-0989
September – October 2020
Marion County and City of Indianapolis is offering the Indianapolis Small Business Recovery Grant for Minority, Immigrant and Women-owned Businesses. A focus is on helping disadvantaged businesses that were impacted by COVID. The free money is for rent, utilities, paying down debt, and other bills. Black, Latino, Women, Asian, and other small disadvantaged businesses can apply, but retail, service, travel industry will often have a better opportunity. Local non-profits and the government are partnering on this assistance program, including Kheprw Institute, Indy Chamber Hispanic Business Council, Forward Cities, the City of Indianapolis as well as the Indy Black Chamber of Commerce. Learn more. https://www.lisc.org/indianapolis/covid-19/indianapolis-small-business-recovery-grant-for-minority-immigrant-and-women-owned-businesses/
Qualified, limited number of expenses can be paid by the Indiana Small Business Restart Grant. All minority, women, and other businesses or startup companies need to have (1) less than 50 employees and (2) under 50 employees. They also need to have been impacted by the COVID – coronavirus pandemic. Use the government money for rent, advertising, ecommerce operations, salaries, utilities, and other bills. Apply here. https://backontrack.in.gov/
Small businesses or sole-proprietors based in East Chicago or Gary Indiana can apply for free hardship grants ranging from $2500 to $5000. The Legacy Foundation and Indiana Black Expo is administering the funds, and it is for sole-proprietors up through small business or startups with less than 26 employees. Latino, Veteran, female, disabled and disadvantaged businesses can apply. It can pay for inventory, working capital, help pay bills or rent and more. The free grants can help businesses ranging from hairdressers to restaurants, gyms, and many other hard hit companies. Apply here. https://legacyfdn.org/community-programs/covid-19-relief/
LaPorte, Lake, and Porter county residents can get business assistance from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC). They have free cash grants, with the majority of the funds allocated for minority as well as women owned businesses. Business counseling, funds, and other support is offered in partnership with Economic Development Administration. Find details here. https://www.nirpc.org/
By Jon McNamara