Disadvantaged businesses that are based in Maryland can get assistance. The is financial aid (including free grants or loans), support (including coaching or counseling), technical assistance (marketing, sales help, etc.) and much more for minorities and women owned companies. Find how and where to apply for free government small business grants near you, loans from lenders, and other support in Maryland below.
The assistance is for small to mid-sized businesses as well as startup companies. A focus is on the disadvantaged, including veterans, LGBTQ, Black or Latino owned, Asian companies, and others. However, any business in Maryland can apply for funds or technical help.
The list of grant programs, loans, government assistance programs and other resources listed below is updated daily. Most of the funds are paid out to qualified applicants on a first come-first served basis, with priority to MWBE as well as BIPOC owned business – meaning women, people of color, Black, Latino and veteran companies. However referrals and counseling can also be arranged.
Find Maryland grant and loan programs for minorities and women owned businesses
Any business can apply, regardless of gender, race, age, or ethnicity. All of the charities, lenders, or government agencies will allocate some of the funds to female owned companies as well as minorities. Or it is possible to attend free workshops, classes, networking events, and other small business development programs.
Ongoing, year round free grant and loan programs
A number of financial assistance and coaching programs operate year round. Find them by region, city and category below. Or continue to scroll down the page to find other MWBE and veteran grant programs, loans and business services that operate monthly.
State of Maryland assistance programs
CASA de Maryland helps Hispanics, immigrants and Latinos across the state. There is a Center for Economic Development to help people start a business, legal services information on raising money and other services – both for entrepreneurs and any Hispanic in the state. Get details here. https://wearecasa.org/programs-in-maryland/
Latino Economic Development Center serves the state of Maryland right outside of Washington DC as well as DC itself. They focus on helping Hispanic and Latino / Latina owned businesses. They are a CDFI, therefore they offer affordable small business loans and operate other business services. Anywhere from $500 to $25,000 may be offered. There is also free business advice on many topics, including website and social media development, credit building, business plan development or creation, details on how to form an LLC and so much more. Learn more. https://www.ledcmetro.org/
Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC), located at the University of Maryland, helps small businesses, including minority, LGBTQ+ and veteran owned. They also participate in the Technical Assistance Grant Program. Free mentoring, grants and financing for micro-businesses, and many other programs are offered. Learn more here. https://www.marylandsbdc.org/
Maryland Women Business Center helps both existing female owned businesses as well as entrepreneurs. There are free workshops, training programs, information on business plan development as well as referrals to financial help in the form of grants or loans. Women business owners of all ethnicities, whether Black, Latina, immigrant or any race can get help from the Maryland Center. Learn more here. https://marylandwbc.org/
VLT is a loan program for minority and women owned businesses. The state runs the financial assistance program and the funds come from the slot machine in the state. Several community action agencies as well as county Economic Development Corporation offices disburse the funds. Get money to grow a business, access to capital and other funding from the government. More details here is https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/programs-for-businesses/vlt.
Annapolis and Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County minority, women and veteran owned businesses can get help from an Inclusive Ventures program. It covers the county as well as city of Annapolis. Small businesses can get a wide variety of services, ranging from information on loans or grants (or other forms of capital) to free coaching or counseling. A partner to the program is also the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC). Learn more here. https://www.aaedc.org/
Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) will help minority-owned, veteran or woman-owned small businesses. Apply for capital, grants and investment for MWBE businesses as well as how to get certified for government procurement and contracting. There is also loan fund for SMWOB as well as a VOLT Microloan Fund. Learn more here. https://www.aaedc.org/
Anne Arundel Women Giving Together is an annual grant program for non-profits. They provide grants to non-profits that focus on helping underserved or low-income women, whether it is with starting a business, building generation wealth, or something else. Learn about the Giving Together organization grant program here. https://givingtogether.wildapricot.org/
Baltimore region MWBE resources
Baltimore Small Business Resource Center offers many assistance programs, including guidance on applying for microloans and other funds. They are also a Kiva trustee for the region. They offer information on business plans, cash flow projections, help setting up LLCs or addressing regulations and more. The interest free loans also focus on disadvantaged businesses such as women, minority, Black and those that lack access to capital. Read more. http://baltimoredevelopment.com/initiatives/small-business-resource-center-sbrc/
Baltimore area businesses, in particular the disadvantaged (minority, veteran, women owned) can get help from programs run by T.Rowe Price. There are 0% interest rate microloans, cash assistance, mentoring programs and more. They also participate in the BLocal free business mentoring program. The mutual fund company is providing financial help, financing for the Kiva program, coaching and other free services too. Get details here. https://www.troweprice.com/corporate/us/en/what-sets-us-apart/corporate-responsibility/community-commitment/blocal.html
Baltimore Community Lending is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), meaning they focus on disadvantaged businesses, minorities, low-income areas and more. There is free mentoring, low cost loans, workshops and referrals to grants and more. There is help in Baltimore City and County, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford and Howard County. Learn more here https://bclending.org/
Black Professional Men operates across Maryland with a focus on Baltimore. The non-profit helps issues micro-loans (in partnership with Kiva) as well as arranges other programs. There is economic development, financial literacy, scholarship programs as well as entrepreneurship training, among other resources. Find details here. http://blackprofessionalmen.org/
Columbia and Howard County Innovation Center’s Business Revitalization Initiative Through Entrepreneurship (BRITE). They help start-ups as well as existing businesses in Howard County, with a focus on women, veterans, minorities, and LGBTQIA+. Information on starting a business, legal set up, grant money and more is offered by BRITE. https://hceda.org/innovation-startups/maryland-innovation-center/
Community Wealth Builders in Baltimore MD helps businesses in the city, primarily in low-income or dis-enfranchised parts of the city. A major focus is on businesses owned by people of color, women, LGTBQ+ community, veterans and others. They can help provide interest free loans in partnership with Kiva. Prospective entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses can also get other support as well as capital raising opportunities. Learn more here. https://www.communitywealthbuilders.org/
Greater Baltimore Urban League offers a wide range of resource. There are programs for youth education and employment, entrepreneurship classes and resources, seminars, and so much more. There are also microloans that are interest free, as the Urban League is a Kiva trustee. Get details here. http://www.gbul.org/
Made in Baltimore is for the city itself and businesses located in the city. A major focus is on disadvantaged businesses, mostly those owned by people of color, LGTBQ+, women, immigrants and others. There are interest free (0% APR) loans from Kiva and other programs. There is also help with MWBE certification, assistance getting government contract worker and other free business services. More details here. https://madeinbaltimore.org/
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) has programs and resources (including referrals to low cost or interest free loans as well as grants) for minority, veteran, and women owned businesses. An entire part of MCEDC focuses on those disadvantaged groups. There are workshops, procurement or certification programs, grants and mentoring and other help. Read more here. https://thinkmoco.com/moco-means-business
Prince George’s Financial Services Corporation is a non-profit organization that offers a range of business startup and economic empowerment programs, including microloans and training for entrepreneurs. Various business loans, training, training is offered. Learn more here. https://fscfirst.com/
Black owned businesses with a storefront/retail location (or that need one) can get financial help, grants, and help with a location from the MCB Real Estate, Downtown Partnership and the Downtown BOOST Harborplace Local Tenancy Program. A combination of retail slots for a store and grant money is provided. Learn more here. https://godowntownbaltimore.com/boost-harborplace/
May and June 2023
The Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development is using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help small businesses. The financial assistance is known as the Small Business Impact Grant program. Free government grant money, with some funds reserved for veterans, LGTBQ+, women and minority businesses. More details here. https://www.washco-md.net/business-development/small-business-impact-grant/
The Cannabis Business Assistance Fund provides free government grants, loans, and other financing to businesses in adult Cannabis industry. The Maryland Department of Commerce is offering funds, working with local counties. There is help for MWBE businesses, licensing, money for capital expenses and more. Apply here. https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/programs-for-businesses/cannabis-business-assistance-fund
Washington County MD Small Business Impact Grant program will offer free $25,000 using government funds. This is for small businesses, including those owned by veterans and MWBE, that were operating before COVID and that were impacted. The funds will help service companies, restaurants and similar businesses. Learn more here. https://www.washco-md.net/Business-Development/
Baltimore small businesses can get $5,000 grants from Comcast and an assistance program known as RISE, or Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment. There is also technology help, marketing assistance and other support. A major focus is on WMWBE owned businesses, and the program will focus on diversity, including, and economic equality. Apply here. https://www.comcastrise.com/
Prince George’s County $10,000 grants are available for businesses impacted by the Purple Line Construction. The county is partnering with companies and lenders on the service, The government money needs to go to pay for employee retention, lost revenue and other expenses. Learn more here. https://fscfirst.com/updates/purple-line-business-assistance-grant-update/
Prince George’s County Latino owned businesses can apply to a business accelerator that is offered by Prince George’s County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) as well as M&T Bank. Businesses will be able to be awarded a free grant, receive marketing and technical help, assistance with budgeting and legal needs and more. A wide range of free services are offered. Apply here. https://www.pgcedc.com/latino-business-services
February and March 2023
Black owned farms in Price George’s County can apply for grants of up to $100,000. The program will continued to be rolled out over the year. The USDA, and county, are providing funds to help Black owned farms with a focus on organic and climate focused farmers. The money will help farms owned by people of color, which currently number around 90 in the county, get the financial help they need. Read more on the free USDA grants. https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/4569/Climate-Smart-Program
BGE Energizing Small Business Grant is providing free $20,000 grants. The program is run in partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Network as well as Hello Alice. All applicants need to be in the BGE business territory. A major focus is on businesses owned by diverse and/or disadvantaged people, such as the low-income, women, LGTBQ+, veteran, and people of color. Apply here for BGE grant money. https://helloalice.com/grants/bge
The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s BOOST (Black-Owned and Occupied Storefront Tenancy) is providing 5 Black-owned businesses in the city with up to $50,000 grants. The money is for businesses with a store-front (physical location). The applicant needs to also live in a defined part of the city, and the application has details. Learn more here. https://www.tfaforms.com/5041860
August and September 2022
Montgomery County Small Business rental assistance grant program is providing up to $10,000 per qualified business. The funds are for small businesses with a physical presence in the county/store front. It is for small or micro-businesses with under 500K in annual revenue and that were impacted by the COVID pandemic. Some funds will be for BIPOC and disadvantaged businesses. Apply here. https://www.ledcmetro.org/small_biz_rental_assistance_phase_2
The state of MD is offering a number of grant and financial assistance programs as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The funds will be disbursed in a number of ways, including venture capital, loans, debt financing, and more. A major focus is on helping businesses in lower income or disadvantaged parts of the state, and many of the recipients will tend to be businesses owned by people of color. Other resources include Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, TEDCO, and Neighborhood BusinessWorks. Learn more on the Maryland SSBCI program here. https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Business/Pages/SSBCI.aspx
May, June, and July 2022
Montgomery owned small businesses, that are owned by veterans, women, or people of color, can apply for grants from a $1.5 million fund. The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation is overseeing the application process as well as disbursement of funds. The money is part of the Lottery disbursement that is being rolled out across Maryland. Find details on the programs, services and other information here. https://thinkmoco.com/
Maryland will be distributing tens of millions of dollars, in the form of free government grants, to small businesses as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative. A large portion of the money will be provided to underserved and disadvantaged businesses, including minority, women, veteran owned or companies from lower income parts of the state. Both private as well as non-profit businesses in Maryland will be able to apply to the Initiative, and learn more here/apply. https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Business/Pages/SSBCI.aspx
Hundreds of Black women owned businesses in Baltimore will be provided free grants of up to $50,000. Reimagine Main Street, The Women Entrepreneur Leadership Lab (WELL), and Facebook/Meta are partnering together to run this financial assistance program. The grants will be for small businesses owned by females of color that have at least $10,000 in revenue. Other criteria are in place too. Apply here. https://www.reimaginemainstreet.org/backing-black-business
Small businesses, with a strong priority for veteran, women, and minority on the Eastern shore (such as Anne Arundel County), can apply for either (1) grants or (2) low cost loans. The money is intended to help them recover from COVID as well as the recent floods in the eastern part of Maryland. Some low cost or interest free loans may be issued (up to $50,000) or smaller dollar, free government grant funding. Learn more or apply here. https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/programs-for-businesses/vlt
In addition to the federal government COVID Relief restaurant grant program, each and every city and county has their own financial aid program for restaurants, bars, taverns, breweries, cafes and similar organizations. The Maryland Restaurant Association is one resource to organize the free government grants, and together they are helping small and independent restaurants and food service organizations. Learn more. https://www.marylandrestaurants.com/covid-grants.html
Interest free loans are provided to minority owned businesses in Washington County, Maryland from either Bank of Clarke County or First Bank. Multiple lenders are working together as part of the Banking on Diversity program, and the aim is to offer capital for Black, Brown, and BIPOC businesses. Call either of those banks for applications – loans are first come-served.
Black owned businesses considering locating to downtown Baltimore can get financial help from the Maryland Black-Owned and Occupied Storefront Tenancy program. The goal is to encourage development and new opportunities in the city center. Loans or grants may be given to tech companies, restaurants, hospitality companies, beauty companies, and other Black owned companies. Find details here. https://godowntownbaltimore.com/
December 2020 and January 2021
Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E) is offering free grants of up to $20,000 to help businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. The financial assistance program is known as BGE Energizing Small Business Grants. The program will be part of their community initiatives. The grants can help women, veteran, LGBTQ, minority, and other struggling business with a wide variety of bills – not just utility. Apply here. https://www.bge.com/SafetyCommunity/Community/Pages/CommunityInitiatives.aspx
November and December 2020
The state of Maryland emergency rapid response fund is helping small businesses. Up to $100 million dollars will be provided to small businesses, with up to $10,000 per applicant. The funds can help restaurants pay for rent or buy equipment, give capital to travel companies, help the art industry, and other service companies that have been impacted by COVID. A portion of the state of Maryland grants will be paid out to black, women, minority, and veteran companies. There is also funds for unemployment and other bills. Read more. https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/maryland-small-business-covid-19-emergency-relief-grant-fund
Baltimore Business Lending is giving grants to small businesses that located in Baltimore City. There will be free grants provided to up to 30 qualified small businesses. Each qualified applicant will be given up to $10,000. It is for a small to mid sized business that is in operation, and the total revenue needs to be under $750,000 per year. In addition to this program, there are also microloans for start-ups, mentoring for black and Latino businesses, workshops, classes, and free advice. The goal is to help people start and/or grow an existing business. Learn more here. https://baltimorebusinesslending.org/
The Baltimore Development Corporation is providing grants to small businesses in the city. Up to $15,000 will be paid out to each qualified company. Female owned small businesses, Black owned companies, Asians, Veterans, disabled, and other minority groups can apply as can white owned companies. A focus is on COVID-19 relief, with the free grants eligible to pay for rent, utility bills, operating costs, and other costs. Small business owners can also attend networking events, go to classes, enroll into coaching and more. Learn more here. https://www.baltimoretogether.com/
By Jon McNamara