Find small business financial assistance for programs for women or minority businesses in Missouri. There are a number of free grants, loans, free mentoring or counseling services as well as other resources offered. Black, Latino, veteran, women owned and other minority businesses or entrepreneurs can find a current, updated lists of loans and grants near them below.
There may be assistance provided by the state of Missouri or federal government. Low cost loans or grants may also be issued by corporations, non-profit organizations, banks, credit unions as well as other lenders. Any small to mid-sized businesses, start up company or entrepreneur can apply, however a portion of the funds will be given to minority, MWBE as well as black owned companies or BIPOC-owned businesses in Missouri (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
Most of the money is available for businesses in Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield and other cities. But business assistance is available across Missouri. Whether Black owned, LGBTQ, Asian, or another disadvantaged group, funds are offered.
Missouri small business loan and free grant programs for women or minorities
The list of programs below will be updated daily. Each of the programs has their own application process, terms and conditions. But find agencies that may issue loans and/or free grants.
Ongoing, year round free grants, business coaching and financial assistance
Financial assistance programs, grants, free coaching and other resources operate year round. Find information by city, county, or region below. Or continue to school down the page to find other monthly grants, loans, and support that is offered throughout the year.
Central Missouri region, including Columbia
Columbia area businesses can apply for free grants from Sharp End Entrepreneurial Development Fund. The money for these grants (or micro-loans) are raised from the community. Not only is financial assistance given to women as well as minority owned businesses (and veterans/LGBTQ), there is free coaching, networking, and advice from experienced entrepreneurs and business owners. Apply or donate here. http://www.cfcmfoundation.org/donations/sharp-end-entrepreneurial-development-fund/
Central Missouri Community Action serves Columbia Missouri and the surrounding area of 9 counties. A major focus is on economic development (especially for disadvantaged areas and the MWBE community), and as part of this the non-profit community action agency works with the Women’s Center and Kiva as a 0%, interest free business loan Trustee. Free counseling, business, career coaching, small business help and more is offered to women, minorities, veterans and business in low income areas. Learn more. https://cmca.us/
Kansas City area interest free loans, counseling, grants and more
BizCare is an accelerator program for minority owned businesses in Kansas City, Black owned companies, and the LGTBQ+ community among others. It is a city and regional assistance programs that combines financial help (grants, loans, capital, etc.) with counseling, referrals and business development. Other MWBE help is offered by BizCare partnerships including Kansas City MADE (for microbusinesses or manufacturing companies) as well as Global Accelerator., which is also for minorities and women. Learn more here. https://bizcare.kcmo.gov/
G.I.F.T. Funds in Kansas City is helping majority owned Black businesses. Two grants are being issued per month (either 25 or 50K). The financial aid will help disadvantaged owned businesses grow, improve their sales, and stabilize themselves. The GIFT program is funded by donations from the community. Apply here. https://www.kansascitygift.org/get-funded
Kansas City and the metro area has several non-profits and quasi government organizations to help small women and minority owned businesses and start-ups. They include the Urban League of Greater Kansas City (call (816) 471-0550) as well as the National Association of Women Business Owners (https://www.nawbokc.org/). One agency that focuses just on women is the Kansas City Women’s Business Center (http://kansaswbc.com/), which works with the SBA, SCORE, and local non-profits to help fund and grow small businesses.
KCSourceLink is an organization that offers a number of entrepreneurship as well as small business assistance programs. There is help in writing business plans, applying for capital (whether a bank loan, free grants, crowdfunding or something else), networking events and other support. The goal is to help people both start and/or expand a business, with a focus on women, veteran, and minority businesses in KC. More details here. https://www.kcsourcelink.com/
Southwest Missouri and Springfield area
Multicultural Business Association provides assistance to businesses owned by people of color, immigrants, and disadvantaged companies. There is advocacy, information on grant or loan programs, and even special programs that come up, such as free marketing help in partnership with Drury University. There is also website development support, assistance with helping MWBE owned businesses set up E-commerce and other free services. Learn more here https://strategicexceptions.com/
Ozarks Small Business Incubator provides support in several counties in southern and SW Missouri. They are also a Kiva Trustee – meaning small businesses and entrepreneurs can get interest free loans from the crowdfunding platform. A focus is on MWBE and veteran owned businesses. OZSBI also offers other microloans, co-working spaces, free mentoring services and other support to the several counties they support. Read more here. https://ozsbi.com/
St. Louis MWBE assistance programs
Arch Grants helps start-ups in St. Louis. They can help new companies apply for grants, equity investments, loans and more. There is, among other programs, an annual Start-up competition in which the “winner” will be given a free $75,000 grant to help start their business and throw gasoline” on it to accelerate growth. Read more on Arch Grants here. https://archgrants.org/
Gardner Capital and Kiva are partnering together to provide interest free loans to small businesses in St. Louis City and County. They are 0% interest rate loans with a focus on women, minority, veteran, and LGTBQ+ owned businesses. This is a matching, crowdsourcing type loan program. Read more here about the GCRE Upward Mobility Fund. https://www.gardnercapital.com/alternative-investments-fund/upward-mobility-direct-community-investment/
Minority Business Development of Saint Louis helps with MWBE certification, contractor loans and they also run a City’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program. There are also free training programs, technical advice as well as other services for people. Learn about the government office and programs here. https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/sldc/minority-business-development.cfm
St. Louis and Springfield Missouri BIPOC businesses can apply for zero percent interest loans from the Gardner Capital and Kiva Partnership. It is a non-profit/private company partnership that will help MWBE, veteran, LGTBQ and disadvantaged businesses get the financial help they need. A major focus is on small businesses in the environmental sector. Apply here. https://www.gardnercapital.com/alternative-investments-fund/upward-mobility-direct-community-investment/
St. Louis businesses of color (BIPOC) can get free Digital Marketing assistance from Maryville University and the Digital Development Project. The college partners with the Urban League, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Heartland St. Louis Black Chamber of Commerce and other non-profits to help small businesses with internet, SEO, website, online marketing, e-commerce, and overall digital needs. Advisors also help clients approve for various loans and free government grants as well as get certification. More details here. https://online.maryville.edu/digital-development-project
St. Louis area businesses owned by people of color can get financial help from the Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU) Minority Entrepreneurship Collaborative Center for Advancement (MECCA) program. A wide variety of resources are offered. Get assistance with marketing, SEO, accounting, financial management, creating “pitches” and more. There will also be help in finding, and applying, to free grants, low cost loans and other aid. Find details here. http://www.hssu.edu/rsp_content.cfm?wID=36&pID=2357
St. Louis Development Corporation has multiple centers throughout the city. The aim is to help small businesses and start ups in low income neighborhoods; provide capital to disadvantaged businesses; ensure women, veterans, LGBTQ and minorities get the assistance they need and more. Locations include the Northside Economic Empowerment Center and more. Learn about the corporation here, including phone numbers and addresses. https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/SLDC/index.cfm
Minority Business Development
WEPOWER is based in St. Louis. The non-profit organization is offering interest free microloans to small minority owned businesses in partnership with KIVA. They also offer two assistance programs known as Elevate/Elevar for Black and Latino owned businesses in the city. This includes the microloans, free mentoring, advice from attorneys or accountants, workspace and other services. Apply here. https://wepowerstl.org/elevate/
Greater St. Louis Diverse Business Accelerator offers a wide variety of assistance programs to women, LGBTQ, minority, veteran and disabled business owners. Clients can get information on raising capitol, including free grants or microloans. There is also mentoring for MWBE companies, free publicity, help starting or expanding a business and so much more. Find out about the St. Louis accelerator here. https://www.greaterstlinc.com/diverse-business-accelerator/
Washington University’s Skandalaris Center helps entrepreneurs and start-ups. Innovation, ideas and more is arranged by the business center at the college. Find details here. https://skandalaris.wustl.edu/
November 2022 and December 2022
Shopify, KC BizCare and Operation Hope are providing grant money, online stores and websites, coaching and other resources to Black-owned businesses in the Kansas City region. This is a local and nationwide program that gives financial help to existing and/or newer Black women and male owned companies. Find details here. https://operationhope.org/initiatives/1-million-black-businesses/
Missouri Department of Economic Development is offering funds to small business and start ups from the Small Business Grant Program. The money is part of the federal government COVID relief program. All applicants need to have 50 employees or fewer, they need to be for-profit businesses, and a focus is on service industry type businesses that were impacted by the COVID pandemic. Apply here. https://ded2.mo.gov/media/pdf/small-business-grant-program-final-guidelines
Columbia Missouri is providing grants as part of the Downtown Community Improvement District. The funds are for businesses owned by Native American, African-American, Asian Pacific or Asian Indian residents. Up to $5000 will be given to each qualified applicant. The funds are for downtown businesses only and it provides mentoring, coaching and other support. Apply here https://www.discoverthedistrict.com/minority-owned-business-grant
KC Digital Drive helps people, and small businesses, in the city in a number of ways. There is information on developing and using technology, occasional grant programs, mentoring resources and more. A wide range of services are offered, on an ongoing businesses, that minority business owners may benefit from. Even learn about the comeback KC Ventures program here. https://www.kcdigitaldrive.org/project/comeback-kc-ventures/
Springfield Missouri businesses of color or women owned can apply for free $5000 grants. The financial aid is part of the Advancing Springfield’s Commitment to Entrepreneurship, Networking and Diversity. The money will help the BIPOC business start in the city. In addition to the grants, businesses will get training and advice, and in fact need to participate in Missouri Small Business Development Center (SBDC) programs. Learn more here. https://www.itsalldowntown.com/ascend-program-advancing-springfields-commitment-to-entrepreneurship-networking-and-diversity/
January and February 2022
New minority business startups/entrepreneurs in Columbia Missouri can apply for a $5,000 grant from the Downtown Community Improvement District. The goal of the program is to both (1) further develop the downtown region as well as (2) diversify downtown Columbia with more MWBE owned businesses. Applicants for the free grant need to be nonwhite Hispanic, African American, Native American or Asian, and both male and women owned businesses can apply. The free grant is for a new business or small one that needs a location downtown. Find details here. https://www.discoverthedistrict.com/minority-owned-business-grant
December 2020 and January 2021
Black owned businesses in St. Louis can get free grants. The Justine Petersen Housing & Reinvestment Corporation provides a number of financial services and business development opportunities. They have also received a $5 million grant from Wells Fargo, and those funds will provide capitol to Black owned companies in the city of Saint Louis. Apply here. https://justinepetersen.org/
Rebound KC is a free grant program for small businesses in Kansas City. Up to $10,000 is offered to minority, black, Asian, Veteran, immigrant and other businesses as well as startup companies. It is for businesses with under 20 employees and under $750,000 in revenue. If too many people apply, a lottery will be used. Apply here. https://www.lisc.org/kansas-city/lisc-kansas-city-response-covid-19/ccedgrants/
October and November 2020
Over $800,000 is being allocated to Universal City small businesses, with about 25% of that money going to disadvantaged minority and women owned small businesses. It will be a forgivable loan, with the money going to for profit businesses impacted by COVID. Priority is service companies, restaurants, and businesses with customer facing operations. To apply for a loan, dial 314-505-8516.
The City of Columbia has launched a microloan program. It is for very small businesses or startup companies. The loan program is run on a “point” system, meaning more points are given to minority, female, Black, or Latino owned businesses that apply. They also favor businesses that have not received any other financial aid. Applications go through the Housing Programs Division in the City of Columbia Missouri. Applications and more information is at 874-6321. Or learn more here. https://www.como.gov/community-development/neighborhoods/housingprogramsdivision/microenterprise-recovery-loan-program/
Kansas City Minority Business Resiliency Grant Program is run in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation as well as the UMKC Innovation Center. Anywhere from $500 to $5000 is given to qualified applicant. The funds are for Minority entrepreneurs, including Latinos and black owned companies. Free grants can pay for website development for an online business, working capital, inventory and other costs. Read more here http://umkcinnovates.com/grant/
G.I.F.T, or Generating Income For Tomorrow, helps businesses in the Urban Center area of Kansas City. The focus is on businesses of color and black owned small companies. Restaurants, manufacturers, service companies and others can get a free grant. https://www.kansascitygift.org/
UMKC Innovation Center is partnering with banks in the Kansas City area to launch small business grant programs. There will be funds designated for minorities, Black owned companies as well as women. A focus is on minority entrepreneurs. https://umkcinnovates.com/
City of Columbia provides $575,000 in loans for small businesses. There is emphasis on women and minority-owned businesses, whether Black, Women, or another disadvantaged company. http://www1.komu.com/news/city-of-columbia-provides-575-000-in-loans-for-small-businesses
By Jon McNamara