Women, minority, LGBTQ, Latino, and other minority businesses in Washington can get loans or free grant funds for their business. Find a list of lenders and programs near you below. There are banks, non-profit organizations, government programs, and corporations that can provide financial aid. The loans, grants, and even free mentoring services are for women or minority businesses as well as start ups.
The amount of money will usually vary. However in addition to the funds for their business, most of the businesses will also get access to a wide variety of services, such as advertising help, mentoring, consulting, and more. The goal of the free grant and/or loan programs is to help disadvantaged businesses they need both be successful and to grow their company over time.
Any business or company that meets the criteria can apply for funds from the programs below, including MWBE companies. However each of these lenders, banks, or government funded programs will allocate a certain amount of the money for minority or a women business.
Small business loans and free grants for women or minorities in Washington
An updated, ongoing list of loan and grant programs is below. It will be updated daily. Black owned businesses, women owned companies in Washington, veterans, and other disadvantaged groups are encouraged to apply for assistance.
Ongoing, year round assistance
Spaceworks in Tacoma covers the Seattle, Tacoma, King County and other areas in the state. They are a non-profit that, among other things, offers 0% interest loans for small businesses as part of Kiva. They also have a co-work station, an incubator program, Special Business Development Projects and financial help (in the form of loans of up to $15,000) for small businesses. Funds will also be targeted towards minority (Black, Latino, Asian, etc.) as well as women, LGTBQ, and veteran businesses in Washington. A Business Planning program is also offered. Find details on Spaceworks, including low cost loans, here. https://www.spaceworkstacoma.com/
Tacoma and the Puget Sound region has the Tacoma Business Center. They are the MBDA focused organization for the area. A major focus is on helping minority as well as women owned companies apply for financial help or low cost loans, either from the federal government, state of Washington, or local banks. They help businesses access capital as well as increase their revenue. Read more. https://mbda-tacoma.com/
The Tri-City area (Kennewick, West Richland, Pasco) can turn to a program called WOW Tri-Cities. the non-profit helps disadvantaged, marginalized minority owned businesses. The assistance ranges from networking, workshops on creating businesses plans, information on grants and raising capital, and more. The non-profit focuses on Black and Brown businesses, and find details here. https://www.facebook.com/wowtricities
Washington Small Business Development Center has dozens of volunteers/leaders of the community who help business owners. They provide free advice on business plan development, raising capital, sales and marketing tips, IT support and more. Referrals to grant applications may be available too, and Black, Latino, and Women business leaders are at the center for help. Find details here. https://wsbdc.org/
Ezell’s Famous Chicken is providing up to 20 grants to Black-owned businesses as part of the Rudd’s Raising Up Black Businesses (R.U.B.B.) Initiative. Each recipient will be given up to $2500. The financial aid program is being run in partnership with Door Dash, so while any Black owned business can apply, a focus is on restaurants, bars, pubs, food trucks, and similar companies. Read more here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc6WMQj9KGKsTs6yexZZ5Tps7FPRiqL-3xCh_TphO-IBtnJWQ/viewform
Edmonds Rescue Plan Fund (ERPF) is providing grants to small businesses (less than 30 employees). Each qualified business, including minority and women owned companies, will be able to get up to $10,000. The financial assistance program will run through 2022 (as funding allows). A major focus is on service and “creative businesses”, as well as veteran, women, and businesses owned by people of color. Read more. https://www.edmondswa.gov/cms/one.aspx?pageid=17928528&portalid=16495016
June and July 2021
Small Business Flex Fund will give loans of up to $150,000 to for profit as well as not-for-profit businesses. The loans and funds are given to businesses with less than $3 million in sales and under 50 employees. Various CDFIs (community lenders) issue these loans with priority to veteran, women, LGBTQ, and minority owned businesses. Both rural and urban businesses can apply as well. More here. SmallBusinessFlexFund.org
Female owned companies or start-ups in Washington, that are involved in medical business around Heart Health, can apply for a free grant that will be allocated after a pitch content. The American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator is passing out the funds. The winner will also get publicity (free advertising), help from MBAs, and other support. Learn more on this free grant program here. https://www.empoweredtoserve.org/en/capital-access-grant-funding/business-accelerator-program/oregon-and-southwest-washington
Working Washington small business grants are available across the state, and any small business that meets qualifications can apply. They are also for LGBTQ companies, minorities, women, and veterans. The Department of Commerce is overseeing this free government grant program. At most, as funding allows, up to $25,000 can be provided to qualified businesses. A wide range of operating costs can be paid, but the focus is on businesses that have struggled and had declining sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more https://commercegrants.com/
Small businesses in Washington, that have been impacted by the COIVD pandemic, can apply for free grants or refundable loans from PPP Round 2. Hundreds of local and national lenders take applications and disburse funds, ranging from CDFIs to national banks, credit unions, and community lenders. The PPP program is for businesses that have lost revenue due to COVID, which mostly includes service type companies. Read more here. https://omwbe.wa.gov/about/news/round-2-federal-ppp-loans-small-lenders
September and October 2020
Black owned businesses in the city of Seattle can get investments, grants, and other support from Tabor 100. They are an investment fund that is using funds from Amazon and other donors to help minority owned businesses. There can be equity investments, grants, help with marketing or sales, and other assistance provided. Continue with Tabor 100 https://www.tabor100.org/
The City of Everett Washington is offering funds to small businesses with anywhere from 1 to 49 employees. Over half of the funds will be allocated to LGBTQ, veterans, women, and minority businesses. Up to $10,000 in free city grants will be issued to qualifying businesses. The grant program is for “non-chains”, businesses that are inclusive/diverse, and licensed companies. Apply here. https://everettwa.gov/everettcares
GSBA, Comcast launch small-business relief fund for owners who are LGBTQ+, women and people of color. Starting with $50,000 in seed funding from Comcast Washington, the GSBA will initially give free grants to 20 qualifying businesses. https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2020/08/03/gsba-comcast-launch-small-business-fund.html
By Jon McNamara