Minority Small Business Grants – Overview
The US government is committed to extending funding for minorities in the country. This is an excellent step to boost businesses and new ventures owned by minority communities across the US.
Over US$ 10 billion is set aside to fund business ventures owned by minorities.
In these, small businesses get additional assistance. The reason is that small businesses provide owners with an opportunity to become independent.
Small businesses are also crucial to boosting employment opportunities in minority communities.
Studies have shown that entrepreneurs from minority communities receive less funding for their businesses. They often have to pay a higher rate of interest on loans as compared to white business owners.
Thus, small business grants from the federal and state governments are incredibly essential to boost minority-owned businesses.
Top 6 Sources for Minority Small Business Grants
These are the top sources where you can apply for minority small business grants in the US:
1 – Grants.gov
The US Federal government funding portal is incredibly helpful for small businesses. This portal offers grants to specific eligible business owners.
Apart from this, the portal also offers application information, eligibility details and deadlines for over 10,000 small business grants.
Every federal agency that offers grants posts its funding opportunity announcements on this portal. More than 20 federal agencies offer grants.
These include the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency.
You will need to narrow down your search criteria by choosing “small business”, or individual minority groups, such as “Native American Tribal Organization”, etc on the portal.
To learn more about grants offered through this portal, you can visit Grants.gov directly by clicking on the following link https://www.grants.gov/.
2 – US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Development Grants
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Development Grants are aimed at businesses operating in rural areas in the US.
This federal funding program offers around US$ 10,000 to US$ 500,000 in financial assistance to eligible businesses.
This initiative is designed to help businesses operating in non-urban areas, especially with an underserved population of fewer than 50,000 citizens.
Apart from this, the funding is meant to boost the commerce and economy in rural areas or small towns.
The eligibility criteria are flexible and allow numerous types of entities and organizations to receive this funding.
These include federally recognized tribes, non-profit organizations, state agencies, rural cooperatives and others.
To find additional details of the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development grant, feel free to visit the official website.
3 – Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Programs
The Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) program and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provide business development grants.
These grants are aimed at small-sized enterprises which are focused on advanced technological research and development projects.
These programs are run by around 11 different government agencies. These include DOE, DOD, NASA and DHHS. The National Science Foundation also reserves a portion of its research and development funds for this program.
The specific eligibility requirements and grant amount mainly depend on the program and individual grant in question.
You need to have an American-owned, independently operating, and for-profit small business. The principal researcher must be employed by your business.
Small-sized businesses are those with less than 500 employees in total.
To know specific details of eligibility criteria and information on the application process for the SBIR and SBTT grants, you can visit the official website.
4 – Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) offers grants to organizations that operate Minority Business Centers across the US. You can receive financial grants for minority-owned small businesses through these centers.
You can also receive procurement matching and business consulting at these centers.
Apart from this, the MBDA also offers an additional grant competition. This grant aims to open and operate 1 of 4 MBDA Export Centers across the United States.
To learn more details of this grant eligibility criteria and application process, you can visit the MBDA official website at https://www.mbda.gov/mbda-programs
5 – USDA Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Water and Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program helps small-sized business owners with financial funding.
This is crucial funding for those businesses which have been unsuccessful in securing conventional business loans. This program offers loans and grants to small-sized businesses operating across the United States.
The eligibility criteria dictate that businesses must be engaged in waste and water disposal in a rural area with a population of fewer than 10,000 individuals.
These also include businesses operating on tribal lands in rural regions or colonies.
The program allows funding for most local and federal government entities, along with private nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes.
To learn more details about the eligibility criteria and the application process, feel free to visit the USDA official website.
6 – Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program
The Business Development Program is offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This program assists economically or socially disadvantaged small business owners to compete for specified, sole-source government contracts.
The SBA’s 8(a) program is not a grant technically. However, it offers excellent opportunities for minority-owned small businesses operating across the United States.
Apart from helping secure government and business contracts, eligible participants also get access to a Business Opportunity Specialist, similar to a mentor-protégé program.
The program also offers counseling, business training and executive development to eligible business owners.
These are the top sources to secure minority small business grants in the US. There are several additional local, state and federal-funded small business grant programs explicitly designed for minority-owned businesses.
To learn more about such initiatives and programs, you can do a quick online search or contact the nearest community business development center for more information.
Make sure to check specific eligibility criteria before applying for any grant.
Interactive US Map for Small Business Grants