Find where and how to get free grants or loans for your business below. There are funds allocated to women, Latino, LGBTQ, Black, and other minority owned businesses in New York. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, and start up companies may be able to get financing from a number of lenders. Find programs from lenders, corporations, banks, non-profits and other agencies that may be near you.
The loans and/or grants are for any small to medium sized business that meets the lenders application criteria. However each of the programs listed below will allocate some (or all) of the funds to women and/or minority owned businesses in New York state. Not only may capital be given to the small business owner, including MWBE and BIPOC, but the organizations also give other support. This may include, but is not limited too, free mentoring, technical support, help creating business plans, networking advice and so much more. All of this assistance will be free.
There are business loans and free grants across the state. There are options in the New York City area as well as major citizens of Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and other cities or towns. Minority owned (or run companies) as well as women and veteran can apply for financial aid and counseling from an agency near them.
Find business loans as well as free grants for women or minorities in New York
The list of resources below is updated daily. Everything from grants, free counseling, microloans, financing and more may be offered. As noted, priority is given to disadvantaged groups in New York. This may include veterans, Black owned businesses, Latinos, women run companies and others.
Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, which is based in Buffalo and serves small businesses in Erie County, is a resource. The help businesses that are veteran owned (SDVOB) as well as M/WBE, or Women and Minority companies. There is help with financing (either loans or grants), certification as M/WBE, startup help and other services. Erie County, Niagara County, and other western NY regions are supported too. Apply here. https://beverlygraycenter.com/
The Central New York Community Foundation is providing financial help to Black owned businesses in Syracuse, Onondaga County and nearby regions. The assistance program is known as the Black Equity and Excellence Fund. Grants, loans, coaching services and other aid can go to non-profits, charities, businesses hat focus on education or tech companies and others. Female, Black owned businesses as well as those started/owned by Black Males can apply. More information here. https://cnycf.org/equity#.YAV6u-hKhM1
Citizens Committee for New York City (CitizensNYC) provides microgrants of up to $10,000. The financial assistance can be used for payroll, rent, and other business operations. The non-profit focuses on helping Black, Indigenous, and People of Color owned businesses as well as immigrant, Asian, and women owned companies in NYC. They also work with other lenders, such as Wells Fargo, to provide capital. Continue reading. https://www.citizensnyc.org/
Empire Sate Development operates in all cities, towns, and counties. While they operate a number of businesses development programs (tax abatements, corporate relocations, interest free loans, job training, etc.) they also operate the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. They help businesses certify, can direct owners to various capital programs that assist with small business financing, help MWBE businesses in NY win government contracts and more. Read about the government organization here. https://esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/mwbe
Harlem Commonwealth Council helps Black Owned businesses in Harlem. They offer low cost microloans, run a Business Solution Center, operate a learning lab and adult education center, minority certification programs and more. The goal is to help the Black community launch and/or grow a business. The Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF) is a small dollar loan/financial help that can be a form of Capital. Get details here. https://www.harlemcommonwealth.org/
Ithaca New York BIPOC businesses (Black, Indigenous and people of color) can get help starting a business from Black Hands Universal. The local non-profit assists with home buying, business start ups, and provide other free services, including information on how to get Capital for a business. Read more on the non-profit. https://www.blackhandsuniversal.com/
Nassau County small businesses, including women, veteran, and minority owned, can get financial help from Boost Nassau. This is a multi-faceted program that will offer everything from emergency funds to loans, referrals to government grants, and other assistance. Whether mentoring, help with business plan development or networking, or something else, resources are offered. Read more. https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/boostnassau
New York City (all boroughs) – The WE Fund Crowd offers crowdfunding services as well as interest free loans in partnership with the not for profit Kiva. Small to mid-sized businesses, as well as start-ups, can borrow up to several thousands dollars. Financial help is for immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ businesses and NYC owners with bad credit. A major focus is on giving funds to people who lack access to banks or other capital, which tends to be inner city or Black, Latino, and the Asian community among others. Get low cost loans at this site. https://we.nyc/we-fund/we-fund-crowd/
New York City (all boroughs) has a program that assists Black Owned Businesses. The United Way has created the Together We Thrive (TWT) service. There are referrals to financial aid programs as well as other support services. Get help with digital marketing, one on one mentoring, technical help, free legal advice, incubator services and more. Continue reading. https://www.togetherwethrivenyc.org/services
Rochester and Monroe County businesses (or those who want to start a business) can get small dollar loans, at 0% interest, from Kiva. The crowdfunding type lender partners with the City of Rochester to help both new, start up type businesses as well as existing companies get funds, They focus on minority, veteran, Black owned, and women owned companies among others. As much as $10,000 can be borrowed, including owners with no or poor credit histories. Use the funds for various expenses or costs. Apply for loans here. https://www.cityofrochester.gov/Kiva/
Syracuse University – Institute for Veterans and Military Families has a team of over 100 people that help veterans. There are entpreunership classes, job training, and information on raising capital from grants and loans. They are also a Kiva microloan lender. Programs include Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) Accelerator, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Boots to Business, business classes for veteran families and more. https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/
Westchester County small businesses as well as entrepreneurs can apply for microloans from Kiva and the Launch1000 program. The Westchester County Office of Economic Development and Entrepreneurship and Innovation center are part of the financial aid program. The funds can help small businesses that do not get traditional funding, which is often veteran, LGBTQ, women, and minority companies or those with bad credit. All of the funds will have a zero percent interest rate. Other incubator programs are offered too, including free coaching from Westchester Rises. Find more information. https://westchestercatalyst.com/business-first-programs/
September and October 2021
Women owned businesses, including immigrant, Black, Latina, White, Veteran and others can apply for a grant program. Up to $10,000 will be given to each qualified business as the result of a program known as Small Business, Big Dreams – Women in Business. The grants are being provided by Bank United. The financial aid program is in effect a competition, and the funds will go to small to mid-sized businesses as long as their revenue is under $3 million. Apply here, https://www.bankunited.com/small-business/small-business-big-dreams-challenge/
Suffolk County Community College is offering a grant program to small businesses in the county, with a major focus on disadvantaged minority and women owned companies. Citibank is a partner in providing the funds. The funds will be distributed by the Entrepreneurial Assistance Center at the college, and there is also management as well as technical help. Find details on the center here. https://ce.sunysuffolk.edu/workforce-training/entrepreneurial-assistance-center/entrepreneurial-assistance-program/
Millions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan will be given to businesses in western NY in the form of a free grant. The focus is on Black, Latino, Asian and other minority owned businesses. Free grants as well as other support will be offered as part of a financial assistance program known as Buffalo Transformation Fund. Businesses need to be small to mid sized as well as have had lost sales and/or income due to COVID-19. The Business Exchange Center is processing the applications, and the address is 334 E. Utica Street, Buffalo, New York 14208. Call 716 342 3620
$800 million in grants are being provided by the Empire State Development to small businesses across the state. The funds will help businesses that have been closed (for a period of time), had a reduction in revenue, or were otherwise impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A major focus is on disadvantaged businesses such as Black, Latino, Immigrant, Women, and Veteran owned businesses. Funds are for “very small” businesses or even sole-proprietors from the Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program. Apply here. https://esd.ny.gov/covid-19-loans-grants-and-technical-assistance-small-businesses
NYC based Latinx, immigrant, women, and minority owned companies can apply for free grants of up to $10,000 from LISC of NYC. The non-profit lender is working with the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce to help small businesses. Funds are available in all boroughs, including Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn, etc. Read more. https://www.nywcc.org/
Businesses in the NYC region can get free information, referrals, and advice from Fair Share NYC. They city has a phone number and website to help small businesses, including minority, immigrant, and women owned, get PPP loans, charitable grants, and other support. A main goal is to help businesses that need guidance during the COVID pandemic. Learn more here https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/article/paycheck-protection-program-ppp or dial 888-SBS-4NYC.
New York City small businesses, that are based in lower income boroughs, can get zero percent interest rate loans. The government assistance program is the Storefront loan program, and is being run by the Department of Small Business Services. As many as 350 small to mid sized businesses, most of which will be minority owned or owned by immigrants or females, can get up to $100,000. There may be loans for businesses in Chinatown, Harlem, and other neighborhoods. Applicants need to have been cash flow positive and have under 100 employees. Read more. https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/article/nyc-lmi-storefront-loan
October and November 2020
Buffalo and Erie County businesses can get up to $25,000 in grants. All applicants need to have less than 51 employees. The size of the company, as well as the revenue, will help determine the amount of grants paid out. Black owned businesses, Asians, immigrants, veterans, etc. who have a business in Buffalo are given priority. All funds are first come and served, and the money can pay rent, salaries, marketing costs, infrastructure and more. Read more here. https://www.ecidany.com/
New York City small businesses can turn to Sterling Bank and the Charitable Foundation. Over 1000 small businesses, start ups and entrepreneurs can get financial help as well as other free business support. The foundation from the bank is helping individuals of color as well as female business owners or sole-proprietors. There is counseling, coaching, webinars and more. All assistance, including free grants or technical help, is offered one on one with the business owner. https://www.snb.com/sterling-national-bank-charitable-foundation
Brooklyn business owners can get financial help as well. This is a volunteer/donation program in known as the Bring Back Brooklyn Fund. The funds collected are for immigrants, minorities, women, and other nationalities in the diverse Brooklyn area. All grants and money is spent locally. Get more details. https://fundrazr.com/BCC-BringBrooklynBack?ref=ab_48xd2f_ab_8QrqyDrAvRv8QrqyDrAvRv
Albany New York COVID-19 Small Business Adaptation Program (SBAP) is providing up to $20,000 in direct reimbursement grants to women, minorities, veterans, and disadvantaged businesses. The city is partnering with Albany Community Development Agency (ACDA) as well as the City of Albany Industrial Development Program. There is money for businesses as well as non-profits. https://capitalizealbany.com/grants/
New York Forward Loan Fund was created to provide free grants as well as working capital loans to small businesses, with a focus on MWBEs (Minority and Women companies). It focuses on business that did not receive funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The funding is run in partnership with M&T Bank; London, England–based HSBC; Morgan Stanley as well as Wells Fargo. Non-profits also participate, including Ford Foundation; BlackRock Charitable Fund; Citi Foundation; and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. https://forward.ny.gov/
By Jon McNamara