Many lenders, non-profits, and corporations in Oregon are committed to offer free grants as well as loans to female or minority owned businesses. There is financial aid as well as counseling (free advice) for Latinos, Black, Asian, LGBTQ, veteran, and other minority small businesses or startups. Find more information below on loans and grants near you.
A priority is on ensuring women and minority owned companies have the capital they need. There is assistance programs for small businesses as well as startups or mid-sized companies in Oregon. The free grants as well as loan programs are combined with ongoing support including 9but not limited too) free counseling; mentoring; technical assistance; sales help; workshops; networking opportunities and much more.
Black women, female owned, Asian, and other disadvantaged groups can apply for financial help, coaching, as well as other services from the programs below. While many are based in Portland or Eugene, grants or low cost loans are available statewide.
Small business loans or free grants for females or minorities in Oregon
The list below is updated daily. New grant resources as well as loans (from lenders, banks, the government, foundations, or charities) will give priority to the disadvantaged.
Ongoing – Year Round Assistance
There are financial assistance programs from charities, non-profits and corporations that provide support all year. Learn more below, including by region in Oregon. Or continue to scroll down the page for free grants or loans as well as free business coaching services that are offered each month.
Statewide MWBE grants, loans, and free coaching services
Empowered to Serve is a non-profit that offers a number of free business services, often grants, counseling and more across Oregon. They serve as a business accelerator that focuses on fighting racism and discrimination. Whether it is a women, minority, disabled, or LGTBQ+ owned businesses, a number of assistance programs (including financial) may be offered. Continue reading here. https://www.empoweredtoserve.org/en/
Latino Business Alliance focuses on Portland area and the larger MSA – all counties. They offer free workshops, seminars, and mentoring/networking. Part of this will be information on how to find and apply for grants that help female and male owned Latino/Latina businesses, workshops on creating business plans or social media advertising and more. Learn about the non-profit network here. https://latinobizalliance.com/
Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, or OAME, helps to start and develop minority owned businesses across the state. Hundreds of companies, non-profits, and individuals are part of the group. They offer SBA microloans, free business counseling, sales opportunities through contracting jobs, and incubator space and several other resources. Learn more here. https://oame.org/
Oregon Pride Foundation provides assistance to the LGTBQ+ community across the state, with a focus on Portland Oregon. They offer grants to small businesses as well as non-profits, provide support around addressing discrimination, and in general help the LGTBQ community with a wide variety of needs – whether financial help for a business, grants, low cost loans or something else. Learn more on the Foundation here. https://pridefoundation.org/region/oregon/
Portland Oregon area MWBE business assistance programs
Port of Portland operates a nationally recognized mentoring program, with a focus on socially disadvantaged businesses. There is free advice given to minorities, veterans, women, Asian and other businesses. There is a mentor-protegee service, information on raising capital from loans or free grants, MWBE certification, workshops on expanding revenue (including internationally) and more. A host of assistance programs are offered. Learn more here. https://www.portofportland.com/business/smallbusiness
Latino owned businesses in Salem Oregon can get assistance from the Latino Microenterprise Development Program. The non-profit provides microloans, technology, budgeting and financial advice and other support. The financial help is part of the Salem’s Latino Business Alliance., with a focus on Latino and Hispanic owned companies. Learn more on the microloans here. https://www.latinomdp.org/
Small businesses in Dundee, Keizer, Newberg, Sherwood, St. Paul and Wilsonville Oregon can apply for free government grants that are the result of COVID relief. Up to $10,000 will be provided to each qualified businesses, including those owned by minorities, women, people with a disability or veterans. The applications for the free grant program are being accepted by the Oregon Business Recovery Center. The money is for businesses located in the zip codes of 97070, 97132, 97137, 97140, 97115 or 97303 only. Apply here https://www.oregonbrc.org/home/small-business-grants
August, September and October 2022
Latino Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is a free $10,000 grant (as well as mentoring) that is provided by Brazi Bites. The financial assistance is for one Hispanic owned business in the Portland OR area. The mentoring service is 12 weeks long with one-on-one discussions, tips, and advice. Apply here. https://brazibites.com/leap/
Doordash is helping food or drink service businesses, that are minority-owned, in the Portland OR region. They are offering an accelerator program, which combines grant money, marketing help and “education”/training and other support. It is an Accelerator Program, meaning the financial help from the grants is combined with many other programs that will list multiple weeks. The program is run in partnership with the Black Business Association of Oregon as well as Accion Opportunity Fund. Apply here for the Portland restaurant program. https://doordashimpact.com/index.php?p=restaurantaccelerator
Oregon will be disbursing tens of millions of loans, grants, equity investments and more as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative. This is an ongoing program that will help small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneur, with a focus on those from low-income/disadvantaged parts of Oregon. Businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans are also a focus. The programs include Business Oregon Venture Capital Programs, Loan Guarantees with Private Lenders, Venture Capital Debt as well as the Business Oregon Re-lender Program. Learn more on the assistance here. https://www.oregon.gov/biz/programs/SSBCI/Pages/default.aspx
July and August 2022
Clackamas County is providing grants to non-profits in the county, with a focus on those with a social cause as well as non-profits owned by people of color or women. The Board of County Commissioners’ Small Grants Program is providing financial help to non-profits that make a difference in the community, in a measurable way. The program is open until August, and apply here. https://www.clackamas.us/bcc/smallgrants.html
April and May 2022
Oregon BIPOC and women business owners, or entrepreneurs, can get matching, 0% APR loans from Kiva and Umpqua Bank. The lender is matching funds for the crowdfunding platform. Zero percent interest loans are offered as well as free coaching, consultations, and other support from Trustees and non-profits in Oregon. The loans have very repayment schedules but have 0% interest. Apply here. https://www.kiva.org/cc/umpquabank
Non-profit organizations can apply for free grants from Thriving Entrepreneurs. The funds need to be used to help businesses start – this means the non-profit that applies needs to be involved in helping small businesses, startups, MWBE companies and others. The money can be used to pay for coaching, technical help, workshops, and similar services. As noted, this is a grant program for non-profits only. Apply here. https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/thriving-entrepreneurs-grant-program/
June 2021 and July 2021
Women owned businesses, or entrepreneurs, that have or will start a business that focuses on social issues around health can apply for a grant from the American Heart Association. There will only be a few grant winners selected based on a competition with pitches, business plans, and other needs. In particular, the grants with a health focus can assist Black and Latino’s in Oregon as they often have a higher likelihood or health issues around the heart. Apply here. https://www.empoweredtoserve.org/en/capital-access-grant-funding/business-accelerator-program/oregon-and-southwest-washington
January and February 2021
Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief + Resiliency helps black owned businesses get grants from the government. They focus on the CARES programs as well as funds for minority owned businesses hit by COVID. The service is run by the non-profit Contingent, which helps the low income, youth, and disadvantaged. Read more. https://thecontingent.org/initiatives/
November and December 2020
Corvallis and Benton County small businesses can apply for free government grants as well as businesses in Eugene There is money for sole proprietors, rural companies, small businesses, people of color, the indigenous and others. Applications are from the Economic Development Office as well as Community LendingWorks. The focus is on minority, veteran, and women owned businesses that are hard hit by COVID, including restaurants, hotels, and others. Read more https://communitylendingworks.org/emergency-grants/
Portland Oregon and Multnomah County restaurants, food trucks and meal sites can apply for free CARES grants. Millions of dollars will be paid out to food service businesses, including women and minority owned companies, that have been impacted by COVID. The grants can pay for rent or utility bills, salaries, safety equipment, and other bills. Apply here. https://multco.us/health/inspections-and-licensing/news/grants-restaurants-food-service-impacted-covid-19
Black owned businesses, non-profits, or even charities in Oregon can get financial assistance. The Oregon CARES Fund will give free grants ($1,000, $2,000 or $3,000) to black owned organizations or businesses. The amount of money issued will depend on how much the businesses has been impacted by COVID. There are also other resources giving to these businesses in partnership with The Contingent as well as the Black United Fund. For more information, or to apply, learn more here. https://thecontingent.org/oregon-cares/
Over $60 million in free grants is being given out to black owned businesses. The state of Oregon is partnering with and The Contingent as well as The Black United Fund to disburse funds. The money can pay operating expenses, cover rent, inventory and other bills. Each qualified business may be given thousands of dollars. Read more or apply. https://www.bufor.org/
By Jon McNamara