Despite progress in recent years, women and minorities still face barriers to entry in the business world. In particular, these entrepreneurs are generally less likely to get funding from traditional sources. However, there are small business grants that aim to address these discrepancies. Here are several opportunities for women and minority entrepreneurs to consider.
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multi-year program that supports Black-owned businesses. The program officially launched in 2020 and will provide grants and training opportunities to qualified businesses through 2023. Each fall, the group distributes $5,000 grants to several businesses. Those recipients also get training and resources, along with the opportunity to compete for $25,000 enhancement grants.
Comcast RISE is a multi-year program that supports businesses owned by people of color and women. To qualify, businesses must be at least 51% owned and operated by a person of color or woman. Businesses also must be independently owned, registered in the US, and operating for at least a year. Comcast also generally focuses on specific cities and geographic areas for each funding round. The company was recently announced winners for the 2022 awards. The deadline for the next application round is October 14.
IFundWomen partners with several businesses and organizations to offer grant opportunities to women and people of color. Application periods have closed for most of their 2022 programs. However, the organization offers a universal grant database and application that allows businesses to easily find opportunities and store their information. Apply once and then receive updates when relevant opportunities become available.
Luxury brand Cartier offers an annual Women’s Initiative Award program to support women entrepreneurs. The program began in 2006 and provides awards to women-owned and women-run businesses across countries and sectors. Priorities are placed on those with a strong social or sustainable focus. First place winners get a $100,000 grant. Second place winners get a $60,000 grant. And third place winners get a $30,000 grant. Recipients also get mentorship, support, and resources to help reach their goals.
The Tory Burch Foundation facilitates a yearlong fellowship program for women founders of early-stage startups. The yearlong program features workshops, a peer-to-peer network, and a $5,000 grant to support founders’ business education.
LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League support underrepresented entrepreneurs through the Fast Break for Small Business grant program. The initiative provides $6 million in grants and support services, with ongoing funding rounds available. Eligible businesses can apply for grants of $10,000 along with free LegalZoom services. The program just awarded its latest round of grants, but applications will reopen again during the 2022-23 NBA season.
The Open for Business Grant is a current program through Wells Fargo and the City of Houston. Houston area businesses led by people of color can apply for grants between $10,000 and $65,000. Overall, Wells Fargo has dedicated $20 million for this round, which is part of its larger $420 million Open for Business initiative. The application portal opens August 9 and runs through August 23.
Ladies Who Launch is a nonprofit organization that provides grants and support programs to women and non-binary business owners. The organization recently announced recipients of its 2022 Launch Grant Program, which also includes a six-month community support program. The program is now in its third year and plans to continue offering future grants and resources.
National ACE, an organization that supports Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses, runs a series of grant programs with partners around the country. Typically, grants range from $10,000 to $25,000 and support businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. The application period has closed for this round of funding. But this is an ongoing program. So check the website or sign up for alerts to learn about future opportunities.
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