Disadvantaged businesses in Vermont, including minority, female, Indigenous, or veteran owned, can get help from free government grant programs, low interest rate small business loans, mentoring and free coaching sessions among other services. There is assistance from charities, government agencies and corporations in Vermont that Black, Latino, Asian, and Female business owners can avail themselves of.
There is also support for LGBTQ as well as veteran owned business, startups and entrepreneurs in Burlington and statewide. Find the main agencies for loans, grants, and other advice near you in Vermont below. Additional resources are added weekly and daily.
Each program, agency, and lender will have their own application process as well as resources offered for MWBE-owned businesses. In general, any financial assistance (whether a loan or free grant) is combined with other short and long term support. There may be mentors or business professionals who can assist with marketing needs, putting together business plans, website development and more. While any small business can apply, there will always be some support allocated to women as well as minority owned or run companies.
Locate loans, grants, and help for minority and female owned businesses in Vermont
The list of programs below is updated daily. The grant, free counseling, loan and other resources are focused on businesses owned by minorities, veterans, or females, but anyone can apply.
Year round financial aid programs, free business coaching and grant programs
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation partners with the SBA as well as the non-profit KIVA to provide microloans to businesses in the state. Funds can be used to pay a wide variety of expenses or to go towards working capital. Some of the microloans, such as from Kiva, will be interest free. BDCC also works with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program as well as Rural LISC – Local Initiatives Support Corporation on the loan programs. Learn more on the lender here. https://brattleborodevelopment.com/
November and December 2023
Small Business Technical Assistance Exchange grant program, round 3, is available. Up to $4,000 is provided to small businesses. A major focus is on BIPOC, women owned, veterans, and businesses owned by disabled people. The Vermont Economic Development Corporation and non-profits provide the financial help, and apply here. https://www.rdcsofvermont.org/grant-application
April and May 2023
Burlington VT revolving, interest free loan fund is available for small businesses, with a focus of businesses owned by people of color (BIPOC). There are micro loans in partnership with Kiva as well as a financial assistance program created using government money. All applicants need to be based in the city in order to get a small business loan, and learn more here. https://loveburlington.org/revolving-loan-programs
The Vermont Women’s Fund is providing grants to non-profits that help women (or girls) achieve career opportunities and economic goals. Applications are being processed by the Vermont Community Foundation. Each non-profit that qualified, and passes through the process, will be provided a grant of up to $15,000. The focus of the money is on helping women overcome financial barriers. Learn more here. https://vermontwomensfund.org/news/vwf-2022-grants
September and October 2022
Forgivable loans are being offered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority as well as the VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Both for-profit as well as non-profit businesses can apply for financial help. 0% APR (forgivable loans) are available for up to $350,000, and the goal is to help businesses recover from the COVID pandemic. A major focus/prioirty is for women, minority, and small businesses owned by people of color. Another focus is on service businesses such as travel, hospitality, restaurants and more. Learn more about the interest free loans in VT from the American Rescue Plan Act. https://www.veda.org/financing-options/other-financing-option/forgivable-0
January 2022 and February 2022
The Vermont Community Foundation is providing free grants of up to $10,000 to non-profits or businesses that are focused on helping other women. The program is known as the Vermont Women’s Fund, and the financial assistance is intended to help break systemic barriers that women of all ages, races, and background face. The grants are also intended to address the economic well-being of women in the state. Apply here. https://www.vermontcf.org/
January and February 2021
Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian, and minority owned businesses in Chittenden County as well as Burlington can apply for a $180,000 grant program. There will be financial aid for small businesses in the beauty industry, retail, restaurants, hospitality and other industries. The government grants will be shared by a number of minority owned small businesses. There are also funds from Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs). Apply here https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/covid-19/smallbusinessgrants
The City of Burlington Vermont is offering a grant program to minority businesses as well as startup companies. There are funds for Indigenous, Black, Latino and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs. It is for small business and companies located within the city. The free grants and business support is being administered by the Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department in the city. Apply here. https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/resources
By Jon McNamara