Women and minority owned businesses as well as start up companies can get low cost or interest free loans and/or free grants for their business. There are many programs available in North Carolina. Find lenders, banks, corporations, credit unions and non-profit programs below that offer funds. While any small to mid-size business can apply, there will be a certain amount of money designated for minority businesses, including Black owned companies, veterans, LGBTQ, Latinos, Asians, and others. In addition the North Carolina lenders will also give priority to women owned or run companies. The list of financial assistance programs, including grants, loans, and more is updated daily.
Small to medium sized business financing is available across the state, including in Charlotte, the Raleigh – Durham area, and other major cities. Many of the programs not only provide loans or free grants to women or minority companies, but they also give other business support. This may be advertising support, advice, marketing, free tech support, website development and more. The goal is to help a small to mid-sized business, as well as a start up company, get both the funds as well as general support they need.
Find latest loans and free grants for small businesses in North Carolina
There are often new programs announced daily, weekly, or monthly. The list of loans and grants for MWBE, veteran and BIPOC-owned businesses (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) listed below in North Carolina will be updated daily. As noted, while any business or entrepreneur can apply, there will always be a certain amount of money allocated to women, Black owned businesses, Hispanic companies, and other lenders. Veteran businesses in North Carolina also tend to get priority.
Year Round Assistance
Asheboro and Randolph County Black business owners (or entrepreneurs) can get help from an accelerator program. The program is known as VentureAsheboro, and the program is run by Midstate Rotary as well as Randolph Community College. There are workshops, classes, information on applying for free grants or loans for businesses with bad credit, mentorship and more. Various services will help Black woman and male owned businesses and start ups. Read more https://www.accelerateblackbusiness.com/.
Asheville MWBE businesses can get assistance from the Business Inclusion Office. They offer training, a program known as Pathways to Growth, updated information on government or local non-profit grant programs as well as loans in the city, and so much more. The goal is to help women and minority owned business grow, hire, and add to the city’s economic development. Learn more. https://www.ashevillenc.gov/department/community-economic-development/business-inclusion/
Black entrepreneurship is being promoted by NC IDEA. At most, up to $50,000 is being offered. The funds are for black women and men, and IDEA will also give them advice, mentoring, as well as coaching services. Work with successful companies as well as businesses throughout the state can help Black startups get the support they need. Read more and apply. https://ncidea.org/grants-programs/north-carolina-black-entrepreneurship-council/
Buncombe County businesses can turn to Mountain BizWorks. They help small companies and would be Entrepreneurs. There are many classes such as Alpine and Scale Up. There is also information on microloans for businesses (including women and minority), referrals to free government grant programs, mentoring from local Asheville business owners as well as volunteers, and other business resources offered. Continue here. https://www.mountainbizworks.org/
Chapel Hill and Carrboro Black owned businesses can get advice, support, information on financial aid and more from an Alliance in the region that is part of the Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro. The organization is known as Black Business Alliance Leadership Council. Learn more here. https://www.carolinachamber.org/61718-2/
Charlotte’s Black Chamber of Commerce is a resource for Black owned businesses as well as entrepreneur . They can provide advice, referrals to free government grants, and will (from time to time) offer their own microloans. They also partner with corporations and non-profits in the city of Charlotte as well as Mecklenburg County. Find out about their services here. https://cltblkchamber.com/
Greensboro and Triad businesses can turn to the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. They help Women, Minority, Immigrant and Veterans owned companies. The center is a non-profit. A wide range of free services are offered, everything from website development to business planning classes or workshops, information on local and national grant programs for funding, start up workshops, and more. Continue. https://nussbaumcfe.com/
Salisbury-Rowan NAACP and Self-Help Credit Union are partnering with KIVA, the national lender, to offer financial assistance to women and minority owned companies. Microloans are offered in the range of $1000 to $15,000. The loans are interest free. The main goal is to help the minority owned business use credit, and all funds for KIVA and Self-Help come from donations from people or businesses across the world. Apply here. https://www.self-help.org/locations/salisbury-branch
Wilmington NC minority businesses can turn to Genesis Block. The non-profit helps entrepreneurs as well as existing small, black or Latino owned businesses start or grow. On occasion, they do have free grants, low cost loans, and other financial help. The non-profit also offers an entrepreneurship center, small business accelerator programs as well as other assistance. Apply here. https://genesisblockilm.com/
October and November 2021
Forsyth County – Winston Salem MWBE owned businesses can receive grants as part of the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) grant fund. Applications are reviewed by the Entrepreneurial Advisory Committee, and the funds are for small businesses with under (1) 25 employees as well as (2) $1 million in revenue. The free grants can help pay rent, salaries, utility bills, inventory and other operating costs. Apply here. https://www.winstonsalem.com/minority-business-enterprise-grant-program/
September and October 2021
Asheville and Buncombe County BIPOC businesses (people of color) can apply for the Mountain BizWorks Multicultural Catalyst Fund. There are loans (including for applicants with bad credit) as well as a “fall back” financial aid program known as Parachute Grants. The interest rates vary but will be much better than banks and some minority businesses may receive the grants or zero percent ARP loans. Apply here. https://www.mountainbizworks.org/get-funding/multicultural-catalyst-fund/
August and September 2021
Minority and women-owned businesses can get $1000 grants from the National Institute Economic Development. The funds are offered across North Carolina, in all cities and counties. There must be at least 51% ownership of a minority or women, and proof is needed. In addition, the applying business needs to have had their sales and/or income negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more. https://theinstitutenc.org/eligibility-criteria/
Greater Winston-Salem Inc. is providing free grants of up to $25,000. Applicants need to have a Black or Hispanic business owner, be small to mid sized (less than $1 million in annual sales). A major focus is on heling businesses of color that have been impacted by the COVID pandemic. There are many other free small business resources offered in Forsyth County. Learn more about the assistance programs. https://www.winstonsalem.com/
June and July 2021
The Charlotte Center City Small Business Innovation Fund is disbursing, in total, $1 million dollars in grants to small businesses (under 50 employees) in the city. The amount of money provided will range from $10,000 to $40,000 per business, with some funds allocated to women, minority, LGBTQ, and veteran owned businesses. Recipients of the grants can use the money for a wide range of bills, ranging from rent to utilities, payroll, and other business operations. Apply here. https://www.charlottecentercity.org/innovationfundapplication/
January and February 2021
Asheville and Buncombe County businesses (locally owned small and mid sized) can apply for the One Buncombe COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund. The funds can help the unemployed (due to COVID), small businesses (with a focus on veteran, minority and women owned), and other expenses. Both grants and interest free loans (that need to be repaid) may be issued by the Fund. Read more. https://onebuncombe.org/
October and November 2020
Small businesses in Winston Salem as well as Greensboro can get financial help from local non-profits. The Winston-Salem Foundation as well as the Piedmont Business Capital are offering loans, free advice, counseling, grants, and other forms of help to disadvantaged businesses. There will also be funds given to minority (black, Asian, Latino, veteran, etc.) businesses located in the city of Greensboro. Find more details here at https://www.wsfoundation.org/
Up to $12 million dollars is being provided as part of RETOOLNC. The grant money is for North Carolina businesses as part of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms as well as Underutilized Businesses. This may be the disabled, minority or veteran owned, LGBTQ, or women companies among others. Each qualified business will be given up to $25,000, based on need, revenue, funding, and industry. Call (800) 228-8443.
Winston-Salem and Forsyth County businesses impacted by COVID can get financial help. The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) is overseeing applications and given out free grants to minority companies as well as startups. A number of companies, non-profits, and other groups are donating to it. Counseling, financial aid, debt advice, and other services. https://www.winstonsalem.com/minority-business-enterprise-grant-program/
The state government Rapid Recovery program provides loans of up to $250,000 and a 0.25% interest rate to small businesses, including Black, Latino, Asian, and Minority owned companies. Many non-profits across the state are taking applications, including the NC Rural Center, Mountain BizWorks, Golden Leaf, Business Expansion Funding Corporation, and others. There is also technical help given along with the loan, including free business coaching, sales or marketing help, and more. More details here. https://ncrapidrecovery.org/
The Alamance Chamber, Alamance County, the Alamance County Economic Development Foundation and the Alamance Community Foundation announced a partnership with Self Help Credit Union to establish a small business loan program. The loan program will aim to focus on underserved businesses and areas, and minority and woman-owned businesses are strongly encouraged to apply. https://www.self-help.org/alamance-loans
By Jon McNamara