Minority, veteran, female and disadvantages business owners (or entrepreneurs) in Kentucky can get financial assistance. Free grants, business coaching services, technical help and low cost or interest free loans (among other programs) are available. The resources help Black, disabled, Latino, women, veteran and other disadvantaged business owners start or grow a company. Find places to apply at near you below as well as programs offered in Kentucky.
There are grants from the state of Kentucky, corporations, charities, and the federal government among other places. Banks, non-profits, and other lenders may provide loans. Regardless of the source, the goal is to encourage minorities and women to start or a grow a business. The financial support for MWBE, veterans, or BIPOC businesses (Black and Indigenous people of color) also often comes assistance around free mentoring, legal help, coaching, website development and more.
While most the loans and grants are offered in the major cities on Lexington, Louisville and the surrounding area, small to mid-sized business across the state can apply. Priority is given to Latino, Black, Veteran, women, and other disadvantaged businesses, but any resident can apply for financial help.
List of female or minority businesses loans and free grants in Kentucky
The list of free grants, financial assistance programs, loans, and small business services below is updated daily. All startup companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs in Kentucky can apply, regardless of gender or ethnicity. However each program and agency is allocated funds to women, the disabled, minorities including Black owned companies and the disadvantaged.
Year Round Programs in Kentucky
Access Ventures is based in Louisville, and they invest in minority, LGBTQ, women, and disadvantaged businesses that are “locked” out of mainstream lending programs. Those businesses that can’t get a bank loan or financing may benefit from Access Ventures. Learn more here. https://accessventures.org/
Bowling Green low income, women, minority owned businesses can contact POP-UP. The program is part of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, and operates as a non-profit/charity. They help the underserved as well as businesses with low or no credit. There may be low cost loans, networking events, financial help, businesses coaching, and many other services. Learn more on the non-profit here. https://www.facebook.com/HABGPOPUP/
October and November 2021
LHOME is a lender that works with the city of Louisville and non-profits such as the Urban League. Together they are offering low cost loans, free coaching, and other support as part of the Back to Business initiative. A major focus is on BIPOC owned businesses, those owners with a disability, as well as women owned companies. The loans are also for businesses that have been hit hard by COVID. Apply here. https://www.lhomeky.org/b2b
Women and/or minority (as well as veteran) owned businesses in the counties of Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton or Pendleton can apply for free $10,000 grants from the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Duke Energy Foundation. A main focus on the grants, which are mostly funded from Duke Energy, are to help businesses grow. This means the owner needs to have a plan to increase revenue, profit, employees, and in general grow their business. Apply here. http://www.nkychamber.com/covid-19/nky-small-business-recovery-grant-for-minority-women-or-veteran-owned-businesses/
Lexington-Fayette Urban County businesses can apply for up to $25,000 in loans. Up to 50% of the funds will be allocated to women, minority, LGBTQ+ and other disadvantaged businesses. But those applicants also need to qualify. The government is issuing the loans as part of COVID relief. Apply here or get more information. https://www.lexingtonky.gov/economicdevelopment
March and April 2021
Park Community Credit Union as well as Louisville Metro Government (LMG) is offering up to $2.2 million dollars to a number of small businesses in Louisville. The funds will go to businesses hit by COVID, with a focus on small businesses in the service sector. Another focus is on giving loans to minority, women, veteran, and disadvantaged businesses, including those with bad or poor credit. The money can help with operating costs such as rent, utility bills, safety equipment, utilities and more, Apply here: https://parkcommunity.com/smallbusiness/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
Fayette County and Lexington businesses can apply for a government grant program that is worth up to $5 million dollars. The financial aid will be in the form of a forgivable, interest free loan. Up to $50,000 can be borrowed by small businesses, including those with poor credit. Minority, veteran, disabled and women owned businesses will be given priority by the council. Learn more on this loan program and other COVID resources for small businesses. https://www.lexingtonky.gov/COVID-19/small-business-support
November and December 2020
Bowling Green minority businesses can get very low interest rate loans (as low as 2%APR) from the Housing Authority. A program known as People’s Opportunity Program for Underserved Populations (POP-UP) is disbursing funds. The loans come from a combination of donations as well as major banks, including Independence Bank, BB&T, American Bank & Trust, US Bank and Franklin Bank & Trust. To learn more or apply for a loan, dial (270) 843-6071.
Louisville has several financial assistance programs for local businesses. They range from interest free loans to CARES grants, mentoring services, classes from lenders, business plan development and others. Some are run by the city and other programs are run in a private-public partnership. Any business or startup can apply, but assistance is also aimed at minorities, women, veterans, and disadvantaged companies. Options include Louisville Forward and the Small Business Covid-19 Relief Loan program, LHOME and Lenderfit low-interest loans as well as free advice from the Metro Council. Over 50% of the money is going to women, veterans, and minorities in Louisville. Find other assistance https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward
GRAAD, or the Green River Area Development District, is offering zero interest rate loans of $5,000 to $25,0000 per qualified business. The funds are for the counties of Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Daviess, Ohio, Union and Webster counties in Kentucky. The loans also will have lower or zero fees, payment plans, and flexibility. A focus of GRAAD is on minority and female run small business. Apply here. https://www.gradd.com/
By Jon McNamara