Small to medium sized businesses, start up companies or entrepreneurs can get help from loans or free grant programs in Pennsylvania. There are funds for Black owned businesses, women owned or run companies, LGBTQ owners, Asians and other disadvantaged groups. Find how and where to get funds near you below. The state of Pennsylvania as well as federal government may offer assistance along with credit unions, corporations, foundations, banks, non-profits as well as other organizations.
The Pennsylvania loan, mentoring, and free grant programs are open to all business owners. However you will find below programs that have set aside funds for minorities and/or women owned businesses. This means that each lender, bank, or company has dedicated some money for women, Black owned businesses, Latinos and others. Certain funds are allocated to assist them. Many of the Pennsylvania programs will not only give cash loans or grants but they also provide counseling, mentoring, sales help, and so much more.
Many of the small business and startup programs for minorities, women, veterans, Black or Latinos and others are in the major cities of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and others. However there is funding as well as free counseling, marketing help, technical assistance and other support across the state.
Find loans and free grants for minority or women businesses in Pennsylvania
The list of minority/women loan and free grant assistance programs will be updated daily. There are funds in all cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and other cities and towns across the state. Black business owners, women, and other disadvantaged minority groups can all apply for these funds.
Ongoing and Year Round
Chatham University’s (in Pittsburgh) Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship is a resource for the city. Among other resources is the Women’s Business Center. Learn about the legal structures of a business as well as capital raising including loans from lenders or government grants. Get help with digital marketing, sales tips, website development, and much more. Get a list of their services here. https://www.chatham.edu/cwe/
Microloans from Kiva are offered across Pennsylvania. The lender works with different non-profits and government agencies to help with applications. The loans have a zero percent interest rate and they can help a start up business up through any existing small business that has been operating for many years. The goal is to help the underserved, including women, veteran, and minoirty owned businesses, get the capital they need. Loans are offered by City of York. The agency offers up to $10,000 loans, marketing help, and other support in partnership with Kiva. More details https://www.yorkcity.org/business/kiva-york/. All of SW Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, can apply for interest free loans from the Riverside Center of Innovation. Resource centers, Kiva loans, and other aid is offered. Learn more. https://www.riversidecenterforinnovation.com/. Or in Erie County and the city has a Kiva financial assistance program offered as well. entrepreneurs, small to mid sized businesses, low income owners and others can apply. Get details on their programs. https://cityof.erie.pa.us/
Pennsylvania Chamber for Black Owned Business, or PACBOB, is a statewide organizations focused on minority and in particular Black owned businesses. They work with the state, federal government, and local African American business Chambers. Training, loan or grant programs, technical help, counseling or free business coaching and more is offered. They also help Black owned businesses qualify for government expenditures. Read more. https://www.pachamber.org/membership/propel_your_business/
Black and Brown minority businesses can get financial help (and other support) from the Pro Disinfect, which is run by the The Enterprise Center in West Philadelphia. There is assistance with applying for loans, free counseling, back office support, venture capital, and other assistance. The loans will have a very low APR (zero to 2%) and can help businesses with funds they need. For additional support or information, click here. https://www.theenterprisecenter.com/
WISE Women helps non-profits only in Blair County. They can provide grants for scholarships, information on starting a business, highlight women owned businesses and recognize them, and give females other support. The main phone number is 814-822-0332.
Women’s Opportunities Resource Center (WORC) is based in Philadelphia and is a CDFI. However not only do they offer low interest rate (or 0% APR) loans, but they help in other ways. They offer credit counseling services, job programs, business training, self-employment resources and much more. They focus on women of all races from low income or disadvantaged regions. Continue reading here. https://www.worc-pa.com/index.html
Up to $60,000 is being provided to LGBTQIA+, Veteran, women, or minority owned businesses in Pennsylvania. The Job Creators Quest Grant from Founders First is the name of the financial assistance program. The funds can be used to help pay bills, hire employees or staff, keep their “doors open” post COVID and more. Get details here. https://foundersfirstcdc.org/pa-nj/
Businesses that are and commit to hiring in Philadelphia City or County, that are owned by Black, Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, Person of Color, Military Veteran, or female businesses in Philadelphia can apply for free grants from the Founders Fund. Anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 will be provided by the program. The goal is to help small businesses hiring new employees and expand. Learn more. https://foundersfirstcdc.org/pa-nj/
Child and day care centers in Pittsburgh can apply for forgivable loans. The Urban Redevelopment Authority is giving out up to $20,000 per approved provider, with women and minority owned child care centers giving priority. A major reason is to help get daycare open so that the local economy can get back on track and people can return to work post COVID. Applications can be processed at Invest PGH, a local non-profit. Apply here. https://investpgh.org/?page_id=278
Women and Minority owned businesses in Erie County Pennsylvania can apply for the Diversity Loan Program. The financial aid program is run by the Erie County Redevelopment Authority. It is a micro-loan that is paid out to qualified businesses, and the funds will have a low, competitive interest rate. Applicants can’t have legal issues, there will be credit checks done as well as other criteria need to be met. Read more here. https://www.ecrda.net/services/access-to-capital/
February and March 2021
South Philly based Latino, immigrant, and Mexican owned businesses can get help from South Philly Mexican Businesses COVID-19 Relief Fund. The service combines crowdfunding, financial help, referrals and partnership. The aim is to have Mexican and Latino businesses band together to support the community. There is also financial aid from the GoFund me account. Learn more here. https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/mexican-business-relief
The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program provides free government grants of $5000 to $50,000 to small to mid-sized businesses that have by impacted by the pandemic. A priority is on women, minority, and businesses owned by someone who is disabled or a veteran. Others can apply though. A partner of the program is the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in Pennsylvania, as they also focus on helping black and minority owned businesses get the capital they need. The amount of the free government grant is based on the businesses revenue. Apply here. https://www.reinvestment.com/pasmallbusinessgrants/
Women and minority owned gyms and restaurants that are located within the limits of the city of Philadelphia can apply for the COVID-19 Restaurant and Gym Relief Grant Program. The financial assistance is for businesses with under two million dollars in revenue, that are located in lower income or distressed areas, and that have been impacted by racial violence and/or COVID. Learn more. https://www.phila.gov/2021-01-22-philadelphia-covid-19-restaurant-and-gym-relief-program/
Women owned restaurants in Pennsylvania can apply for grants of up to $2500 that are being issued from the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association along with the Pennsylvania Conference for Women as well as Barbie Marshall. The funds are only for up 70 different restaurant owners. The funds can be for any female owned restaurant, including black, Latino, and others. Find a list of female and minority owned restaurants. Grants can be for rent, bills, employees salaries or other costs. Find more details here. https://www.paconferenceforwomen.org/
Allegheny County non-profits, whether minority owned or not, can apply for grants from the Pittsburgh Foundation. The assistance is only for non-profits/charities. The funds can be used to help battle poverty, and part of this can be technology for minority owned businesses, workshops on entrepreneurship classes, information about online businesses, housing, and more. All are free grants, and apply here. https://pittsburghfoundation.org/
Berks County Board of Commissioners has up to $6 million dollars to provide financial aid to small businesses. Up to $50,000 per applicant will be issued in the form of free government grants. Preference is given to businesses as well as entrepreneurs owned by the disabled, people of color, veterans, women, Black owners and individuals. the money can pay for operating costs, sales, inventory, rent and other bills. Businesses, including minorities and female owned, can apply here. https://rebuildberks.com/funding/
YCEA of York County is offering grants up to $35,000. The emergency funding is for small businesses in York Pennsylvania. The funds are for sole-proprietors as well as companies of fewer than 50 employees. The York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) is ensuring some of the free funds go to minorities (Black, Latino, Asian) as well as female owned companies. Apply here http://yocostrong.org/ or dial 717-718-7845.
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Pittsburgh and PNC Bank are partnering together on 3 different programs. There are funds being given to minority and inner city businesses and entrepreneurs. The assistance is for CDFI, the Catapult: Startup to Storefront program as well as the Recovery Loan Fund. A focus is on low- and moderate-income areas of the city. The millions of dollars can help child care providers, restaurants, online companies, and other small businesses or sole-proprietors in the Pittsburgh area. More information is here. https://www.ura.org
Pittsburgh area businesses and entrepreneurs can get free grants or low interest rate loans. PNC Banks and the Urban Redevelopment Authority are offering up to $10 million dollars to businesses. The Catapult: Startup To Storefront Program is for women and minority entrepreneurs as well as start ups. There is also Black, Latino, and Asian assistance from the Emergency And Recovery Loan Fund as well as the Businesses and Nonprofits In Underserved Neighborhoods program. https://www.ura.org/
The Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund is a patchwork of financial aid or bridge loans. About half of the loans go to minority businesses. The loans are forgivable if conditions are meaning, meaning they turn into grants. Banks and lenders in Pennsylvania are participating as well. https://pa30dayfund.com/
By Jon McNamara