Free grant programs as well as interest free (or low cost loans) that help minority as well as women owned businesses in Texas. There are resources for start up companies as well as small to medium sized businesses. Find more details below on how to apply for funds near you. Each lender, agency, non-profit or government program is allocating some of the grants, loans, or assistance programs to both minorities as well as women run or owned companies.
There will be funds to help minority and women owned businesses either create or retain jobs or pay for approved business expenses. In addition to the loans as well as free grants, many of the agencies give other support. This may include free mentoring, advice on creating online businesses, sales help, free legal aid, and information on other local (or national) business development programs.
While most of the financial aid and counseling is for minority (Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, etc.), veteran or women owned businesses in Texas, there is also help for businesses regardless of race or gender. Whether in Dallas, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, or another city or town in Texas, support is available in the form of loans or grants.
Find minority and women grants or loans in Texas
The list of resources below is updated daily. It includes loans, grants, workshops, free counseling and more from non-profits, government agencies, banks, as well as corporations in Texas. Whether financial help to start or grow a business, or free business advice, assistance is offered to MWBE as well as BIPOC businesses. Find more details on applying below.
Ongoing and Year Round Resources
Austin and Travis County small businesses can turn to a non-profit known as Just Community. The non-profit was founded by venture capitalists that give microloans to small businesses, including borrowers with limited or bar credit. Most of the financial assistance goes to women owned companies, including Black women and Latina businesses. They also fund businesses owned by low income residents of Austin Texas. Corporations and individuals help Just support women and minority owned businesses. Learn more https://www.hellojust.com/
Denton Texas area women-owned businesses can get help from the Texas Woman’s University Center for Women Entrepreneurs & Stoke Incubator Program. There are a number of services offered, including a co-work space, information on grants, mentoring, coaching, and much more. The goal is to help women owned businesses start as well as grow their companies. Read more. https://stokedenton.com/accelerateher-incubator-program
ACCELERATE El Paso is a partnership of various non-profits, including Aspen Institute’s Latinos and Society and Drexel University. They work to provide information on financial aid and grants to minority businesses, including government loans or grants for technology. ACCELERATE El Paso also encourages shopping locally, digital skills development, and other business help. More here. https://acceleratelpaso.com/
The Houston based Empresarios Latinos Foundation (Chamber of Latino Entrepreneurs of Houston (CELH)) focuses on existing businesses in Houston and Harris County. Many companies are part of the organization, including restaurants, grocery stores, marketing companies, retail and more. They can serve as a resource for raising capital or financial aid, including from loans or grants. More details here. https://empresarioslatinos.org/
Houston Business Ecosystem Alliance for Minorities & Women, or BEAMW, focuses on entrepreneurs, small businesses, as well as start-up companies in Harris County. They help with networking, applications to microloans, credit building activities, loans or financing for owners with poor credit, as well as finding free government grants. It is a network in the region that wants to help MWBE start and/or grow. Learn about the government affiliated non-profit. https://www.beamw.org/
Impact Ventures helps businesses in Northern Texas, including Dallas, Plano, Frisco, and the entire area. The company provides funds for women and minority owned businesses and other disadvantaged businesses (LGBTQ, Veteran, Immigrant, etc.). Free coaching, mentoring, business development and other assistance programs are run too. Learn more. https://impact-ventures.co/
Kiva Microloans are offered across the state. While funding varies, a qualified business can raise up to $15,000 for starting a business or growing or saving their existing business. It is a peer to peer funding source in which donors from across the world can help fund the loan. They focus on disadvantaged businesses, including immigrants in Texas, minority (Black, Latino, etc.), LGBTQ, female and others.
Kiva has local groups. In Harris County and Houston Texas is supported by Bayou Microfund. They help the unbanked and others. Learn more https://bayoumicrofund.org/. Dallas Texas is covered by the non-profit Impact Ventures, and they offer interest free Kiva loans. Read more. https://impact-ventures.co/. Another option is Startup Waco is a regional non-profit. Free mentoring, assistance for sole-proprietors, and other loans and funds are offered. Get details on their assistance programs. https://startupwaco.com/. Legacy Institute for Financial Education provides Kiva loans in the Lufkin Texas region as well as credit builder loans, financial education, LIFE Tech classes and more. More. https://www.legacy-institute.org/
Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) is about empowering women, including business owners. They offer leadership classes, information on job training, as well as entrepreneurship assistance (among other services). The non-profit also has an evolving number of grant programs to help women start or grow a business or address other needs. Read more on the non-profit TXWF. https://txwf.org/
September and October 2021
StartHER grants is for women-owned businesses in Texas. As many as 25 businesses across the state will be given up to $5,000. Applications for this financial aid program are being accepted by Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs. Funds can pay for a variety of bills, including inventory, equipment, marketing costs, payroll and more. Apply here. https://twu.edu/center-women-entrepreneurs/
Austin and Dallas BIPOC businesses can apply to the PeopleFund. An accelerator program will offer everything from grants to mentoring, technical help, training, accounting, and other support. The Fund is working with other local companies, including Southern Dallas Progress CDC, on the assistance program. The assistance is for “early-stage” companies, in particular start-ups. Apply here. https://peoplefund.org/bipoc-business-accelerator/
August 2021 and September 2021
Waco area businesses can apply for free government grants of up to $5,000. The city council, using federal government money, operates the Small Business Emergency Recovery Fund. The funds are used to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A priority is on women, veteran, as well as minority owned enterprises, but any small business can apply. Get more details here. https://covidwaco.com/small-business-grant-program/
Houston and Harris County small businesses that have been impacted by COVID can apply for free grants or microloans from the Small Business Recovery Fund. The county and city is using stimulus dollars and is partnering with the non-profit LiftFund on applications. Up to $30 million will be issued. The majority of the financial assistance will be to women owned companies as well as Black, Indigeneous and People of Color (BIPOC) businesses. Apply here. https://www.liftfund.com/
August is Black owned business month in San Antonio and Bexar County. A number of activities are being provided. One will be micro-loans as well as micro-grants. Activities, including funding, are being arranged by the African American Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio (AACCSA). There will be mentoring, networking, sales events, financial help, and more. Get more details. https://africanamericanchambersa.org/
March and April 2021
Women veteran owned businesses can apply for free grants from the Center for Women Entrepreneurs, and each qualified business will be given as much as $10,000. The money can be used to help pay for a wide variety of expenses, including inventory, equipment, marketing or advertising costs, and much more. “Winners” are also given free coaching from a business advisor on site. Most of the Funds are coming from Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Learn more here. https://twu.edu/center-women-entrepreneurs/veteran-woman-grant/
November and December 2020
Tarrant County Small Business Assistance Grant Program is for small businesses that have been hit by COVID. There are free government grants for start up companies, minorities, veteran, Asian, and Black owned companies. The applicants need to have less than 25 employees, be a profit or charity in Tarrant County, and have been operating since 1/1/2020. While funding varies, a free grant of up to $10,000 can be paid out. Read more here. http://www.tarrantcounty.com/en/county/small-business.html
Collin CARES Small Business Grant Program is for small businesses in Collin County Texas that have been operating for at least one year and that have less than $5 million in annual sales. The financial assistance is in the form of a free Grant, with applications for Spanish speakers as well. While most minority and female owned businesses will get $5,000, some small businesses may be awarded up to a $25,000 grant. Pay for inventory, working capital, and other costs. Read more here. https://www.collincountytx.gov/cares/Pages/SmallBusinessGrants.aspx
Houston and Harris County disadvantaged businesses (minorities, Latinos, women, etc.) can get financial help from the government. The free grants can pay a number of operational expenses. There is also free consulting services from mentors or experienced business personnel in the region. Dial 713-845-2476 for information or applications on the Houston grants. Or more details here. https://www.harriscounty-sbrfund.org/
Fort Bend County is offering free grants of up to $25,000 per small business owner. It can be for a sole-proprietor or a company with up to 20 employees. The funds can help minorities, veterans, or other owners pay business costs, build working capital, and help them keep their doors open or grow. More info here. https://www.coronavirusfortbend.gov/covid19-small-business-emergency-assistance-grant-program.html
Webb, Zapata and Starr Counties residents can apply for small business loans. The South Texas Development Council is offering assistance using federal government funds. The money can help pay for expansion, loans can be for working capital, or paying other business expenses. Call (956) 722-3995 for details or applications.
By Jon McNamara