The Commonwealth of Virginia provides funding for small businesses. Find a list of business loan and/or free grant programs near you below. These will focus on funding women and minority owned businesses. There may be loans or grants for Black owned companies, LGBTQ, Latino, immigrants, Asians, women businesses as well as other groups. Virginia works with banks, charities, government agencies, credit unions, as well as community lenders in order to issue funds near you, including in Richmond, Fairfax, Northern Virginia and other cities and towns.
Note each and every agency and program will have their own application process in place. The loans or free grants in Virginia may help you start a business or grow an existing one or they help entrepreneurs get off the ground. They may be interest free loans or have affordable repayment terms. The list of Virginia grants and loans listed below, some of which may be near you, will be updated. There are funds allocated to MWBE, veteran as well as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) owned businesses in Virginia.
Small business loans and free grants for Virginia
Find a current, ongoing list of loans, free grants, and small business funding in Virginia near you. The most recent announcement will be at the top of the list, with older announcements and news releases towards the bottom.
Year round free grants, business coaching and financial resources
Some of the financial assistance programs, grants, MWBE and veteran business programs are available year round. Find details below by region, city and/or category in Virginia. In addition to those programs, scroll down the page to find more grants and loans by month.
Statewide grants, loans, and free small business and entrepreneurship programs
Foodshed Capital helps famers and food businesses across the state, including MWBE farmers who tend to be a small minority. There is a Black Farmer Fund, microlending, technical advice, assistance on the best seeds and growing techniques and more. Read about the agency here. https://foodcap.org/
Virginia MBDA, or the Minority Business Development Agency, has multiple offices in the state, including in Richmond and Alexandra. The non-profit, SBA backed center offers a number of free services to women, veterans and minorities. Get free coaching services, access to Capital (loans or free government grants), certification assistance and more. They help people create a business plan, manage cash, get financing and support the MWBE community in any way possible. Read more on the VA center here. https://www.mbda-virginia.com/
Charlottesville area and foothills area financial assistance programs for MWBE businesses
Charlottesville’s Minority Business Program provides ongoing, year round support. From time to time, there may be financial help from the Business Equity Fund. They are free “mini-grants”. The money can pay operating expenses including rent, utilities, inventory, web hosting, and other costs. Other resources are offered by the center to Black, Women, Latino, and other disadvantaged businesses in the city, including counseling, mentoring, networking, technical help and more. Apply here https://cvilleminoritybusinessprogram.org/
Minority Business Alliance of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce is another non-profit for the community. They offer many services to Black, Latino, and other minority companies. One of them is a grant service, and that is the MBA Endurance Fund. More details here. https://www.cvillechamber.com/mba/
Charlottesville based food, beverage, and meal businesses can get help from the Black Entrepreneurial Advancement and Community Opportunity Network which is offered by New Hill Development Corporation. The non-profit is a social service agency for African Americans and they can provide information on capital, business plan development, economic development and other issues. Learn more. https://www.newhilldev.org/
Fairfax and Northern Virginia free grants and loan programs
Fairfax County Virginia Latino owned businesses can get assistance, including access to a micro-loan fund, from the Latino Economic Development Center. The non-profit also supports all of northern Virginia, with a focus on low income Latino communities. There are loans, help in creating a business, financial management services, information on raising capital, and other free advice too. Learn more. https://www.ledcmetro.org/
Fredericksburg MWBE businesses can turn to the non-profit Joshua Hand. The organization may have funds, in the form of low cost loans or grant applications, to help minority businesses get the capital they need. It is a faith based charity that arranges capital, gives professional development, workshops on business skills development and so much more. The non-profit also partners with Growth Church on this assistance. Find details. https://www.growthchurch.org/
Harrisonburg and Rockingham area businesses owned by people of color can get help from a program called B³, which is Black and Brown Owned Business Growth Program. There are several aspects of it, including business plan development, networking, help in getting business funding/capital/loans, and more. The service will help businesses and startups owned by Black or Brown people. Learn more here. http://www.hrchamber.org/business-assistance/
Minority owned businesses in Northern Virginia can get access to resolving loans. Freedom Bank of Virginia as well as the non-profit Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) are offering assistance. Much of the funding is in the Fairfax County area. Get capital, low cost resolving loans, incubator services, free counseling and more. Read more. https://www.nvtc.org/
Hampton Roads, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach region small business and start up assistance programs
Hampton Roads Black owned businesses can get financial help, free grants, and other support from BLACK Brands. This in in effect the Chamber of Commerce for the region. It is a Hub that offers networking, free coaching services, advice and support. There is a “wealth machine”, financial literacy, information on starting a business and other help for Black members of the community. Find details here. https://blackbrand.biz/
Portsmouth area Minority and Women owned businesses can get help from the city as well as local non-profits. The city will help businesses (1) get MWBE certification as well as (2) help them grow in any way possible. This may include grant money, free counseling, loans, mentoring, free coaching services and more. A wide variety of assistance programs, including financial, help Black women, veteran, and other disadvantaged businesses. Find details here. https://www.portsmouthva.gov/948/MWBE-Program
Richmond area and Central Virginia financial assistance, grants and counseling services
The Richmond Metropolitan Business League (MBL) is a non-profit that offers information on a number of microloan programs, grants, and provides other small business assistance. A major focus is on women, veteran, and minority owned businesses, but anyone can apply/join. They operate the City Point Innovation Resource Center (CIRC) as well as many other programs. Learn about the non-profit here. https://thembl.org/
Richmond Black-owned businesses can get help from the Jackson Ward Collective. They focus on Black entrepreneurs or those with an idea to start a business but that need assistance. Learn about putting a business plan together, getting financing using free government grants or microloans, building credit, and much more. It is a safe community space for ideas, free resources, and short or long term support. Get details on the agency. https://jacksonwardcollective.com/
June and July 2022
Fairfax, Loudon County businesses can apply for the Dulles area Minority Small Business Owner Grant Program is open to minority owned companies. The Chamber of Commerce, using corporate and private donations, is providing free grant money to small Black women owned businesses, Latino, Black male and others owned by people of color – including immigrants. Businesses most be for-profit, submit essays and applications, and meet other criteria. Read more details here. https://www.cognitoforms.com/AmericasCharities/DullesChamberOfCommerceMinoritySmallBusinessOwnerGrantProgram
Charlottesville area, minority owned businesses can apply for free grants that are being offered by the United Way of Greater Charlottesville and Minority Business Alliance. Up to $50,000 is allocated for the financial assistance program. The funds are part of the Minority Business Alliance, and the money can pay for inventory as well as other capital. Read more here. https://www.cvillechamber.com/mba/
February and March 2022
Greensville County small businesses (with under 25 employees) can apply for free government grants. The financial assistance program is part of ARPA, which is a combination of government agencies and non-profits. The amount issued will vary, with some grants allocated to veteran, women, and minority owned businesses (those owned by people of color). Apply here. https://www.greensvillecountyva.gov/news_detail_T2_R70.php
Newport News Virginia microbusinesses can apply for grants from the Economic Development Authority, meaning 5 employees or less. Anywhere from $500 to $3,500 can be provided as part of the Micro Enterprise Grant Program. Applicants need to meet various conditions, including be for-profit, have a business plan and more. They also need to be low or moderate income and/or have poor credit scores. Continue reading. https://www.nnva.gov/2723/Newport-News-Micro-Enterprise-Grant-Prog
Virginia Beach small businesses can apply for interest free loans. Women, minority, veteran, Asian and other disadvantaged businesses can apply for funds.. The zero percent, interest free loan program is part of HIVE, and the funding is offered for a wide variety of bills and small business needs. A major focus is on supporting companies in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads and the region that lack access to traditional forms of capital. Learn more. https://www.yesvirginiabeach.com/key-industries/small-business-resource-center
January and February 2022
Richmond Virginia businesses can get financial assistance from Virginia Community Capital and Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest banks. Qualified minority or female owned businesses in Richmond or Henrico County can get up to $250,000 from the Open for Business program. The goal is to help disadvantaged businesses, and the non-profit Virginia Community Capital is offering support. Apply here. https://vacommunitycapital.org/
Small businesses in Floyd, Giles, Pulaski, and Montgomery County can apply for free $15,000 grants from the New River Valley Small Business Relief Program. The applicant needs to have under 20 employees, and some of the funding will be reserved for women, minority, or veteran owned businesses. The goal of the free grant program is to help businesses that have been impacted by COVID, and the money can help pay rent, salaries, utilities, and cover lost revenue. Apply here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScEgE50VKqiEiZE_J3S7HgJZlA_CGsrgENv7JfPByliDiP5-g/viewform
November and December 2021
Orange and Greene County small businesses, including women and minority owned, can apply for low cost (or even interest free loans) from a financial aid program created by the Community Investment Collaborative as well as the Orange and Greene County Economic Development Authorities. There are EDA and Resolving Credit Loans as well as a Business Recovery Fund. All of these can help small to microbusinesses, including those impacted by COVID. Read more https://cicville.org/
Bricks and Clicks in Harrisonburg is a $3500 grant program. The grant program, as well as the technical advice, will help physical stores get an online presence. Website development, SEO services, online marketing and other support is arranged along with the free grants. Apply here. https://downtownharrisonburg.org/grants/bricks-clicks/
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) businesses or non-profits in northern Virginia that focus on STEM for girls/woman can apply for grants from the Business Women’s Giving Circle. The goal of the free grant program is to help non-profits provide educational and technology skills to young women/girls. Business Women’s Giving Circle of Northern Virginia is providing the financial aid. Read more. https://www.cfnova.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/giving-circle-grant-cycles/business-women-s-giving-circle
Minority owned businesses in the Winchester region (and surrounding towns or cities) can apply for interest free loans from the Banking on Diversity program. Multiple local lenders are partnering on the loan program, including Bank of Charles Town and Bank of Clarke County, The Fauquier Bank and last but not least First Bank. Interest free loans are both for new and existing minority owned businesses in the city of Winchester, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Shenandoah, or Warren Virginia. Call one of those banks to apply.
PPP loans (round 2) are being offered from the state using federal government funds. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is giving loans to help businesses impacted by COVID, with priority (and first applications) for female owned, minorities, and veterans. The SBA and local lenders accept applications, and find where to apply here. https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/va/richmond/resources/virginia-sba-lenders
November and December 2020
Women owned businesses in Warren County can get $1000 grants as part of a financial assistance program known as Dare To Dream. Use the money for buying computers, starting a business or inventory for one, website development, as well as other career and income focused needs. To apply, dial the Front Royal Women’s Resource Center at 540-636-7007.
Small businesses located in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia can get financial help from the Staunton Creative Community Fund. There is also assistance for people, including minorities or women, that are trying to start a business. There is not only grants or low cost loans, but also education, advice, and other support as part of the Women and Minority-owned Business Support Program. Up to $6,000 will be provided per applicant. The Fund is also paid for with help from AT&T, and there are free grants, financial literacy classes, advice, mentorship and more. For details, email email@example.com
We Care Rebuild RVA Project is a partnership of many companies and non-profits in Virginia. Free micro-grants grants of up to $10,000 are being offered from The Community Foundation, Venture Richmond, Virginia Community Capital (VCC), ChamberRVA, Altria, Virginia LISC and Dominion Energy, Capital One, as well as Robins Foundation. Female and minority owned businesses with less than 50 employees can apply. The funds can pay for inventory, rent, insurance, and many other bills. Businesses can also get free legal advice, tips on operations and other counseling. Apply here. https://thembl.org/we-care-rva-rebuild/
The Urban League of Hampton Roads is offering financial assistance to Black owned small businesses. It is for Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and the area known as Hampton Roads. Dominion Energy is offering funds in partnership with the Urban League, and the program is microgrants. The goal is to help startup companies, sole-proprietorship, and minority, small owned businesses start, grow, or keep their “doors open”. https://www.ulhr.org/
Rebuild VA grant offering up to $10,000. The Rebuild VA fund will allow 7,000 applicants the opportunity to receive up to $10,000. Half of the funds will go towards small businesses and nonprofits in low income and economically disadvantaged communities, including women, Black owned, veterans, and others. This will help meet the needs of underserved businesses. https://www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva/
Gov. Northam announces $70M in free grants for small businesses, nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. https://www.nbc29.com/2020/07/27/gov-northam-announces-m-grants-small-businesses-nonprofits-impacted-by-covid-/
By Jon McNamara