Unlocking Opportunities: Understanding & Finding the Right Small Business Grants

As of 2021, almost 20% of businesses in the United States are minority-owned businesses. These owners bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table, which can lead to innovative ideas and solutions. 

Yet, despite their importance, minority entrepreneurs face challenges when accessing capital and resources. Challenges including:

Addressing and overcoming these challenges is crucial to ensuring minority businesses can gain access to the capital they need. And minority business grants are often the answer to gaining the funding they need to grow. 

Unlike other forms of funding, minority business grants don’t need to be repaid. In addition, grants don’t involve investors, so there is no need to share a piece of the pie with anyone. This allows your business to focus on other areas, such as marketing and expansion. 

Understanding small business grants

A small business grant is money given to small businesses to help them reach their business goals. Generally, grants are awarded by government agencies, non-profits, or private organizations to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Three main types of grants are offered: federal, state, and private. 

Research and identify grant opportunities that align with your business goals. Since each grant has a unique application process, thorough preparation is essential for a successful application. 

How grants differ from loans

Grants and loans are two types of financial assistance offered to small businesses. Here are some key differences between these two types of funding: 

Identifying suitable grants for your business

Small businesses can’t use the “one-size fits all” mentality when searching for grants. There are several factors to consider in your search: 

How to find minority business grants for your business 

Here are a few different ways to find grants for your small business:

Popular grants for minority businesses 

  1. The Coalition to Back Black Businesses (CBBB) - The CBBB is a grantmaking and mentoring initiative supporting and championing black-owned businesses. Applicants must be Black-owned businesses (51% owned), have 3-20 employees, and not be part of a franchise with more than 25 stores.  
  2. Asian Women Giving Circle (AWGC) - The AWGC raises funds to support Asian American women-led projects in NYC through arts and culture. They aim to increase the visibility of Asian American women doing philanthropic work and promote progressive change in their communities. 
  3. NAACP x BeyGOOD - NAACP x BeyGOOD is a partnership between the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Beyoncé’s philanthropic initiative, BeyGOOD. This collaboration provides grants to support economic empowerment, education, housing, and other initiatives that uplift and empower Black communities. 
  4. National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Scale-Up Pitch Challenge - This business pitch competition was created to support Black entrepreneurs. It gives them a platform to showcase their innovative ideas and receive funding to help scale their startups. In addition, these companies can connect with early-stage investors and venture capitalists who are willing to invest. 
  5. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) Programs - The SBIR and SBTT programs offer funding to minority-owned businesses engaged in research and development activities. The goal of the grant funding is to stimulate high-tech innovation in businesses.

Whether you're an entrepreneur seeking funding or someone passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion, join the movement to support and uplift minority-owned businesses. Together, we can create a future where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.