5 Best Minority Small Business Grants in 2021

Minority-owned businesses face a unique set of challenges when it comes to securing adequate funding for their small businesses and organizations. Fortunately, small business grants provide free money to support minority entrepreneurs and their communities.

If you’re looking for a grant for your business or project, but you’re not sure where to start, we are here to help. With our top small business grants for minorities, you will be on the right path toward obtaining your next grant in no time.


Top Small Business Grants for Minorities

The first step toward securing small business grants is to find the right grant for your business or project. With a myriad of grant options available, applying for the grant that most closely matches your needs increases the chances of you being the grant winner.

To get started, here are the top small business grants for minorities that we’ve broken down according to three factors.

Our Approach:

Choosing the best business grant comes down to three things:

  1. The type of business you have
  2. The needs of your business
  3. What you want for the future of your business

Our Top 5 Business Grants for Minorities:

  1. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the best resource to stay updated on minority small business grants. The MBDA compiles extensive resources and tools for minority-owned businesses, including grants and other funding sources.
  2. The First Nations Grantmaking Program offers the best grants for Native American projects and organizations. For Native Americans with projects and organizations in need of funding, the First Nations Grantmaking Program provides funding options multiple times a year to support their goals.
  3. The Asian Women Giving Circle is best for Asian American women business owners in NYC. Asian Women looking to positively impact their NYC community through arts and culture can receive funding from the Asian Women Giving Circle to support their efforts.
  4. The National Black MBA Association® Scale-Up Pitch Challenge is best for innovative black-owned startups. The National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge offers innovative Black-owned startups and entrepreneurs the chance to pitch ideas and concepts for funding to grow their startup company.
  5. NASE Growth Grants are best for smaller minority-owned businesses. NASE Growth Grants are awarded to small businesses in need of a little extra funding to purchase equipment or cover small business expenses.

Best Resource for Minority Grants: MBDA Grants

Grant amount: Varies based on the grant

The MBDA serves as a resource for minority-owned businesses to find grants, receive consulting services, and other forms of business assistance. Unlike others on this list, the MBDA operates by providing grants to their Minority Business Centers located across the US. By searching for the Minority Business Center near you, you can find grants that your business qualifies for as well as a litany of other resources available to minority-owned businesses.

Overall, the MBDA offers the most diverse range of grant opportunities and services for businesses of all types and sizes.

To apply for an MBDA grant, you need to meet the following criteria/eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must obtain a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) to have their application tracked.
  • Applicants must be a minority-owned business.
  • Applicants must register their application with the System for Award Management Registration (SAM).

Pros

  • The MBDA serves as a resource not only for grants but a multitude of other business services for minorities.
  • There are Minority Business Centers all over the US ready to help minority-owned businesses.
  • The mission and purpose of this organization is to support minorities in maintaining their small businesses to promote a successful community of entrepreneurs.

Cons

  • Since the MBDA doesn’t issue grants itself, finding grants can be a little more challenging.
  • The application process can be competitive for these grants, which means accessing funding can be difficult.

Best for Native American Projects and Organizations: First Nations Grantmaking Program

Grant amount: Varies based on the grant

Since 1980, the First Nations Organization has provided grants of all kinds to Native American organizations and projects. Rather than offering a singular grant, First Nations manages a wide range of grants, from projects to fight food insecurity to organizations that empower Native American youths.

Due to the variety of grants managed by this organization, Native American projects and organizations are able to more effectively find funding or technical assistance necessary to accomplish their goals.

To apply for a First Nations Grant, you need to meet the following criteria/eligibility requirements:

  • Board members must have tribal affiliation.
  • Applicants must serve a rural or reservation-based community.
  • Applicants must be 501(c)(3) certified or have a fiscal sponsor that is certified.

Pros

  • Grants from this organization are available for a range of projects.
  • The First Nations allows applications from religious or faith-based organizations.
  • Within reason, funding is able to be used on overhead organization costs.

Cons

  • Eligibility is dependent on the project serving rural or reservation-based communities, so if you are providing services to a city-based community, you are unlikely to receive funding.
  • This organization receives a high number of funding requests, so grants are competitive.

Best for Asian American Women Business Owners in NYC: Asian Women Giving Circle

Grant amount: Up to $15,000

The mission of the Asian Giving Circle is to provide resources to Asian women-led projects in NYC that use arts and culture to create positive change, empower Asian women and girls to be leaders, and raise awareness about pertinent issues Asian women and girls face to find creative solutions.

Grants from this organization are issued once a year. Applicants must submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) between January and March for consideration.

To apply for an Asian Women Giving Circle grant, you need to meet the following criteria/eligibility requirements:

  • Applicants must be either a certified 501(c)(3) organization or an artist with a certified fiscal sponsor.
  • Applicants must submit a project with a clear social justice impact that highlights women’s roles.
  • Applicants must prove a clear commitment to a specific community in NYC.

Pros

  • All artistic disciplines are considered for this grant.
  • All projects that qualify for this grant are developed to empower the community and bring social change through the arts.
  • Asian artists and organizations can find adequate funding to complete projects that will impact their immediate community.

Cons

  • This grant is only available to projects in New York City.
  • Grant money cannot be used to fund any other costs for the organization.

Best for Innovative Black-Owned Startups: National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

Grant amount: $50,000

The National Black MBA Association offers a grant for Black-owned startups known as the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge. To compete, applicants only need a startup idea or concept. The top three finalists compete in a pitch challenge in front of judges and audience members for the chance to win $50,000 of grant money as well as a multitude of business services to support their startup idea.

This grant offers innovative Black entrepreneurs an opportunity to receive funding for a great idea without fully realizing their business yet and requires no specific business type to compete.

To apply for the National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge, you need to meet the following criteria/eligibility requirements:

  • Ideas and concepts submitted must be in the early stages of development.
  • Applications must include at least one founder that is Black (of African descent) who maintains an equal stake in the startup.
  • One member of the pitch team must be a member of the National Black MBA Association.

Pros

  • You can get this grant with just an idea for a startup company.
  • Applicants can be either individuals or teams of up to three people.
  • Winners receive funding, mentoring, business consulting, and partnership development.

Cons

  • Finalists will make their pitch in front of judges and an audience, which can be difficult for some.
  • There is only one winner for this grant, meaning the competition is high.

Best for Smaller Minority-Owned Businesses: NASE Growth Grants

Grant amount: $4,000

The National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) is an organization that provides monthly $4,000 grants for self-employed individuals such as small business owners. To apply for NASE Growth Grants, you must register for an account on their website.

These monthly grants are great for minority-owned startups that need a little extra funding to hire help, buy equipment, or pay for any other business expenses. Specifically, this grant is great for startups that are looking for extra capital to grow their business.

To apply for an NASE Growth Grant, you need to meet the following criteria/eligibility requirements:

  • Your business must be a member of the NASE and must be in good standing for at least three months.
  • Supply a resume and business plan along with your application.
  • Demonstrate a business need that could be met with the grant money and a detailed explanation of how your business will use the funding.

Pros

  • There are grant opportunities every month, which makes obtaining funding easier than annual grant programs.
  • There is a lot of freedom with what you can use this grant for. Whether it’s payroll, equipment, or software, this grant allows you to support your business in whatever way is needed.
  • Being an NASE member has perks such as tax assistance and database management.

Cons

  • You must be a member of the NASE to apply, which can cost up to $120 annually.
  • Since the NASE Growth Grant is only $4,000, it isn’t ideal for startups looking for a large amount of funding.

Final Thoughts

Faced with unique challenges to receive funding for their small businesses, startups, and projects, minority small business grants offer minority-led businesses the opportunity to receive free funding for a variety of goals and projects.

If you’re still not finding the right grant for your business’s needs, there are alternatives, such as business loans or lines of credit that can help minority-owned businesses succeed.

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