Each and every month there are various small business loan and/or free grant programs that open up in Louisiana that give priority to women owned businesses, minorities (including Black, Latino, or Asians), and other minority groups. The loans and grants can be issued by the government, non-profits, banks, credit unions, or other community lenders.
The funds can be used to start a business and/or grow an existing one. Each lender (or free grant program) will have their own application process in place. Find an ongoing list of Louisiana sources of funding below that are for minorities, women owned, and disadvantaged businesses. While many of the programs are located in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and other cities, there is financial help, free business advice, and other support offered in all cities across the state.
Loan as well as free grant programs in Louisiana for small businesses
Find a current, ongoing list of Louisiana lenders or government programs for loans, grants, as well as other sources of funds. Many of these focus on women and/or minority owned companies, often called MWBE or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). The most recent announcement will be at the top of the list, with older announcements and news releases towards the bottom.
Ongoing and Year Round
HOPE Credit Union and partners, including Goldman Sachs and Ford Motor, are combining resources to help black owned businesses in Louisiana and New Orleans. The Deep South Economic Collaborative is the program administered. There are low cost loans, mentoring, Technical Assistance programs and much more. The goal is to further progress black owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Read more. https://hopecu.org/deep-south-economic-mobility-collaborative/
Fund 17 is a non-profit based in New Orleans. They provide zero percent interest Kiva loans (to qualified small businesses as well as entrepreneurs). The goal is to help fund disadvantaged businesses in Louisiana using the peer to peer Kiva program. A focus is on women, Black, Latino, immigrant and veteran businesses among others. They help with financial empowerment, goal setting, operate an accelerator program and more. Read more. http://www.fund17.org/
The Greater New Orleans Foundation has a ongoing, list of grant programs for the city and nearby parishes. There are free grants for non-profits, LGTBQ+ focused financial assistance programs, small business grants for businesses owned by people of color and more. they help immigrants, art and cultural businesses (or non-profits) and offer various resources. Learn more here. https://www.gnof.org/nonprofits/grants/
Louisiana Minority Business Development Agency Business Center helps immigrants, Black and Brown business owners, and those of color. Whether it is information on starting a growing a business, and getting help doing it, or employment opportunities, assistance is offered. They help with financial needs, training, legal contract reviews, and more. Learn about the non-profit here. https://www.mbda.gov/business-center/louisiana-mbda-business-center
New Orleans area small businesses can turn to the non-profit THRIVE. They try to offer support, with occasional loans that are the result of the Restoration Thrift Store, Racial Equity Grants, encourages companies and consumers to shop at minority owned businesses as well. A comprehensive menu of advice and assistance is offered. Read more. https://www.thrivenola.org/
Jefferson Parish Community Action Agency, or JEFFCO, has cheap or interest free loans from the JEDgrow Program. The financial assistance is targeted, meaning that it helps small businesses, minorities, the disadvantaged with paying certain expenses. It can be capital improvements, money to pay for real estate from SBA 504 Loan program, marketing and more. Find details on JEDCO small business programs here. https://www.jedco.org/
Jefferson and Orleans Parishes non-profits (as well as small for profit businesses) can turn to Propeller for assistance. They help businesses that try to make a difference with environmental and/or social causes, with a major focus on minority, women, and disadvantaged companies. The Kiva Trustee helps businesses get interest free loans for capital. There is a business accelerator program as well as other resources. Learn more. http://gopropeller.org/
Louisiana Economic Development Agency has various programs to help underserved businesses, which means those with a low-income, who lack access to capital (MWBE and veterans), poor credit ones and others. There are free loan guarantees, Seed Capital Program, Venture funds and equity investments and more. Some free grants as well as microloans will also be offered on occasions. Learn more here. https://www.opportunitylouisiana.gov/small-business/SSBCI
New Orleans based NewCorp is a non-profit lender. The organization is a nonprofit CDFI – Community Development Financial Institution. They focus on small to mid-sized women or minority-owned businesses. They can get help with raising money, applying for free loans or grants, business coaching and counseling as well as other services in the New Orleans region. Learn more here. https://www.newcorpinc.com/home
Southeast area Louisiana MWBE owned businesses can turn to Good Work Network (Go.Be.). The regional non-profit has many services, including referrals as well as help in applying for free government grants, bank loans, and other financing. Programs include Level Up, incubators, networking, free business coaching and other assistance. Black, Immigrants, Hispanic, Women, and other disadvantaged businesses can apply here. https://gobe.org/
Tangipahoa Parish Black Business Network is for Black owned businesses. They will help, mentor, and support everyone from a vendor to small business owner, to a sole-proprietorship to a bigger company. The organization will offer classes, information on government contracts and grants, workshops, advice from established business owners and much more. The goal is to help Black owned businesses grow and find opportunities. Contact the United Way for details. https://www.unitedway.org/local/united-states/louisiana/southeast-louisiana-tangipahoa
Tulane University Innovation Institute focuses on helping small businesses grow in New Orleans. There is access to capital including grants, technology assistance, information on certification as a woman-minority business, export rules, legal help and more. A wide range of help is offered, and learn more here. https://innovation.tulane.edu/
Urban League of Louisiana offers help to disadvantaged in the state. Among the programs is a Black Business Works Fund, which can (as resources allow) provide free micro-grants to small, minority owned businesses, whether Black, Latino, immigrant or others. There is also one on one technical help, free small business workshops on starting and/or growing a business, mentoring or marketing help and more. Read about the non-profit and its grants, free services and more here. https://urbanleaguela.org/
April and May 2023
Louisiana Economic Development is providing loans and grants as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The federal government paid for the program. There are a few different financial assistance programs, including Micro Loans, Seed or Venture Capital, Loan Guaranties and Collateral Support. Some funds will be allocated to businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and disabled people. The interest rates vary, but some will be as low as 0%. Apply for business loans from SSBCI program in Louisiana here. https://www.louisianassbci.com/
Urban League of Louisiana has a restaurant accelerator program that helps food service businesses owned by MWBE owners. The financial help and grant money is offered in partnership with PROOF. There is financial help provided, advice around accounting and inventory management and more. Apply here. https://urbanleaguela.org/38-2/cei/
March and April 2022
Hispanic owned businesses in Louisiana can get free grants from a partnership between Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, Entergy (the utility provider) as well as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation (HCCF). Up to $2500 can be provided to each qualified Latino/Hispanic owned business. The funds can be used to pay operating expenses such as utilities, rent, inventory, wages, health insurance and more. The funds are for existing, small businesses based anywhere in Louisiana. Continue reading. https://hispanicchamberla.com/hispanic-owned-small-businesses-grant/
Several lenders are offering additional PPP loans as part of the CARES Act. The funds, or government grants, are for small businesses in the state. The number of employees needs to be under 300 and the basis needs to have lost revenue due to COVID. Find one lender here. https://www.communitybankofla.bank/Borrow/PPP
The state Recovery Program is making funding more accessible. Minority, Veteran, Black, and Female owned businesses (among others) will now have an easier time in getting a free grant from the state of Louisiana. The state has simplified and is taking a more aggressive approach in distributing funds to small businesses, startups and disadvantaged businesses. Funds can be used for rent, inventory, and other bills, including online websites. Call 1 (888) 795-4947.
Minority, women, and veteran owned businesses in Louisiana have until the end of September to apply for free grants from the State of Louisiana Recovery Program. Up to $40 million is being offered throughout the state to qualified applicants, in aggregate. Priority is given to startups as well as businesses that did not receive any other federal government financial assistance to date. https://www.louisianamainstreet.com/
Applications for $15,000 small business free grants opens Tuesday – Louisiana Main Street Recovery Program funded through CARES Act – https://www.wdsu.com/article/applications-for-dollar15000-small-business-grants-opens-tuesday/33434067#
By Jon McNamara