Top grants for minority small business owners


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Minority small business grants are designed to provide funds and opportunities to business owners who belong to historically marginalized communities. Unlike loans, these grants offer capital you don’t have to pay back. Plus, many grants also provide free coaching and other forms of support.

Read on for a closer look at how small business grants for minorities work, key places you can find these grants, and how to apply for a small business grant. And, since competition for grants can be stiff, we’ll also take a look at other funding opportunities for minority-owned small businesses.

How Small Business Grants for Minorities Work

Minority business grants are for people who identify as Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Latinx, Native American, Black, multiracial, and other non-white races or ethnicities. They are designed to provide financial resources to individuals who may otherwise find it difficult to get ahead in the business world. 

The funds granted do not have to be paid back the way a loan would. Depending on the source, this money can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Startup costs
  • Equipment
  • Marketing
  • Payroll
  • Office space
  • New product line

Applying for small business grants for minorities (and any other type of grant) will likely require some legwork. However, those willing to put in the effort could be rewarded with an injection of capital that could help their businesses thrive.

Where to Find Small Business Grants for Minorities

New grants for minority business owners are created all the time. Here’s a list of options that can serve as a jumping off point.

1. NAACP Black-Owned Business Grants

The NAACP partners with other companies and organizations to offer several grants. Since the group is continually looking for new partners, small business grants for Black entrepreneurs change from time to time — so keep an eye out for new ones.

A good place to start is the Hello Alice and NAACP partnership site, where you can find a running list of Black minority business grants.Qualifications vary by grant, though all require that businesses be Black-owned.

2. GrantWatch

GrantWatch provides a database of small business grants that allows you to search by grant topics. When using the group’s search function, you can select “small business” as the recipient and “BIPOC” (which stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) as the category to home in on grants designed specifically for minority business owners.

As GrantWatch rounds up thousands of grants, including those for nonprofits, individuals, and small businesses, there isn’t one standard set of qualifications.

3. Galaxy Grants

Galaxy of Stars is a community of minority and women business owners offering support to entrepreneurs. Additionally, they provide a grant opportunity for minority business owners worth $3,750 to start or grow a company. Unlike many other grant options, you only need to fill out a brief form with the absolute basics to enter. Any and all women small business owners are encouraged to apply.

They offer additional grants or financial awards on occasion, so you may want to bookmark this site and check back from time to time.

4. First Nations Development Institute

The First Nations Development Institute offers grant opportunities to Native Americans in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and American Samoa. Their grants change throughout the year, and not all grants are specifically for small business owners, but some can support small business ventures or business-minded students. New grants opportunities are posted periodically on the website.

5. Coalition to Back Black Businesses

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses offers $5,000 grants annually (through 2024) to Black-owned businesses that employ between three and 20 people, are located in an economically vulnerable community, and have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to grant funds, they offer mentorship and training. Plus, select grantees will receive $25,000 enhancement grants the following summer.

6. National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

The NBMBAA Scale Up Pitch Challenge awards cash prizes up to $50,000 to support wealth- building opportunities for members, with a focus on startups with the potential for rapid growth. The Pitch Challenge also provides entrepreneurs with a chance to connect with early-stage investors and venture capitalists who are ready to invest. To be eligible, you must have a founder who is Black (of African descent) and your team must include at least one active member of the National Black MBA Association. Applications are typically due in the summer and awards are made in the fall.

7. IFundWomen

IFundWomen is a funding marketplace exclusively for women-owned businesses. The platform provides access to small business grants from corporate partners, along with expert business coaching, and connections to other women business owners. By filling out the IFundWomen Universal Grant Application, you put your business in the running for all the grant opportunities that come their way. In addition to upcoming grants, you will be the first to hear about new funding opportunities, and receive additional resources from the IFundWomen community.

Are There Federal Grants for Minority Small Business Owners?

Many federal government agencies offer grants to businesses, including minority-owned businesses. Here are two resources that can help you find federal grants. This is a database that helps grant seekers find and apply for federal funding opportunities. It stores information on more than 1,000 grant programs offer by a range of federal grant-making agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). To apply, you’ll need to create an account, as well as a unique entity ID, which lets you apply for federal grants and bid on government contracts.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grants

Though not limited to minority business owners, the USDA provides financial backing and technical assistance for rural businesses to create quality jobs and improve the quality of life in rural areas. USDA Rural Business Development Grants are available to small and large for-profit businesses, as well as nonprofit and tribal entities. The funds can be used for a wide range of projects, from agriculture innovation to housing, water quality, health care and rural job creation in general.

How Do I Apply for a Small Business Grant for Minorities?

Small business grant applications vary widely. Some grantors require full grant proposals, while others only ask for a small amount of information. Here are some steps that can help you get started.

1.  Check the grant’s requirements. These are often very specific so be sure you meet the basic program requirements, including location, business size, industry, and any founder requirements. Some may even require that you have a membership to a specific organization before applying.

2. Collect all of your documents. You’ll likely need to supply a business plan that lays out why you’re applying for the grand and how you plan to use the funds. In addition, you may need:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • DUNS number
  • Revenue history
  • Organizational chart, including the number of employees
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • List of contracts your business holds

3. Fill out the application. This is typically the most time-consuming part of the process. You may need to answer multiple questions about why you need the funds and your plans for their use and how your business contributes to the community.

Other Resources for Minority Business Owners

In addition to the above grants for minority business owners, here are some other helpful resources you may want to tap.

National Minority Supplier Development Council

The National Minority Supplier Development Council strives to provide business opportunities for certified minority businesses through training, networking, and funding opportunities.

SBA Microloan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) microloan program provides up to $50,000 to new and existing startups. It is fully funded by the SBA but administered by an intermediary network of nonprofit community-based lenders, rather than traditional banks. 

Unlike many traditional loans, SBA microloans are available to small-business owners with no credit history, as well as lower incomes. The program is also geared toward businesses otherwise underserved by traditional banks, including women- and minority-owned businesses and those in low-income communities. Exact eligibility requirements vary by lender. To apply for a microloan, work with an SBA-approved intermediary in your area.

Operation Hope’s Small Business Development Program

Operation Hope’s Small Business Development Program is a 12-week intensive course providing training in business basics like financial counseling, personal development, and access to professional services.

SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program aims to help socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities by assisting in applying for federal contracting opportunities. They also offer mentoring and business training.

Small Business Loans

If grants aren’t available for your business right now or you need faster funding, you may want to look into different types of small business loans. While banks typically have strict qualification requirements, such as at least two years in business and a minimum amount of revenue per year, online lenders tend to be more flexible, as well as faster to fund (though rates are typically higher).

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Small business grants for veterans

Small business grants for veterans

After serving in the military, many veterans turn to small business ownership. The appeal of creating something from scratch and doing what they love has attracted millions of vets to become entrepreneurs in the United States. But as you know, running a business typically has a hefty price tag attached to it. 

Funding one can include small business loans for veterans as well as small business grants for veterans. There are pros and cons to both types of funding, and small business owners may rely on a combination of the two. We’ll cover information to help you better understand small business grants for veterans, including:

  • What small business grants for veterans are
  • Where to find small business grants for veterans
  • How to get a small business grant for veterans
  • General eligibility requirements
  • Other funding options for veteran business owners
  • Additional training and resources for veterans

Related: Pros & cons of working after retirement

Drazen Zigic / istockphoto

When it comes to finding money to help you launch or grow a business, you have a few options. One is a business loan, which needs to be paid back over time. You can also seek investors who, in exchange for giving you capital, will typically then own a piece of equity in your business. Your third option is a small business grant. 

Unlike a loan, a grant doesn’t usually have to be paid back. It is essentially debt-free financing that allows you to have the capital you need to start or grow a business. Almost any business can apply for a grant, but there are some grants specifically geared toward veteran-run businesses. Given the amount of competition the average federal grant sees, you may have more of a fighting chance of getting one if the pool is limited to only veteran business owners.

Grants provide capital that can be used for many purposes in a business, from covering startup costs to allowing you to hire employees. You could use the funds to buy equipment or technology that helps you work more productively — it all depends on the grant itself.

Olivier Le Moal / Getty

There are many government small business grants available to veterans. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look in order to find the right one for you and your business. Whether you’re seeking small business startup grants for veterans or business grants for disabled veterans, here are some resources to get a start on your search. is a large database of all the federal grants available to anyone, including vets. You can search by agency, category or eligibility. Each grant has different eligibility requirements, and only certain types of organizations may apply. It’s important to read those requirements carefully to make sure you qualify.

Another database to spend some time on is GrantWatch. Here, you can find grants from federal, state and local government agencies, as well as foundations and corporations in each state.

Most states have web portals with resources for veterans living in that state. For example, California’s CalVet lists resources for veterans and service-disabled vets, which may include self-employment grants for service-disabled veterans. You can also find local Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) by zipcode here.

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There are small business grants for veterans in a variety of situations, from disabled vets to those starting a brand new business. Requirements will vary, but most require you to be a veteran, reserve or transitioning active duty member of any branch of the U.S. military. Some grants are also open to spouses or children of military members.

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To apply for a grant, first review the eligibility requirements to ensure you meet them. Pay attention as well to deadlines so you don’t waste time filling out paperwork for a grant that’s already closed its window for applications.

Gather the required paperwork, which might include a business plan, financial statements or mission statement. Next, allot plenty of time to write your grant proposal and/or fill out the application. You may be asked how your business started or what you plan to do with the funds. Answer honestly, but don’t be shy about singing your company’s praise. This is your opportunity to display what is unique about your business.

Finally, carefully review your application and make sure you included everything required. Proofread your proposal, maybe asking a colleague to provide a second set of eyes. You want your application to be as flawless and engaging as possible.

You may also consider hiring a grant writer. This is someone who fills out grant applications for a living. They will likely be more familiar with the process and what reviewers are looking for in an application.

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Grants are often difficult to get, with so much competition for each of them. You may still have other financing options, many of which are also geared specifically for veterans.

istockphoto / yacobchuk

While you may qualify for any business loan, when applying for small business loans, look for those that offer preference to vets. StreetShares, for example, offers both small business loans and lines of credit at low rates for veterans.

The SBA provides a variety of small business loans for veterans, including the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides capital to eligible small businesses to cover expenses it couldn’t otherwise cover because an essential employee was “called up” to active duty in the military reserve. There is also the Veteran’s Advantage Guaranteed Loans program, which provides up to $150,000 fee-free loans to veteran-owned businesses.

When evaluating loan options, it’s important to look at interest rates and terms. This includes how long you will be paying back the loan and how much you will spend over the length of that loan.

Angel investments or venture capital can provide another option for financing. Hivers and Strivers is an angel investment group that funds early-stage startup companies founded and run by graduates of the U.S. Military Academies. In addition to investing capital, the organization also provides useful contacts, industry experience and mentorship.

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If you happen to be a female vet, you may have even more resources at your disposal. There are small business loans for women, as well as small business grants for women, that can help you find the capital you need to grow your business. 

Some cater specifically to female vets, like StreetShares Foundation’s Female Founders Veteran Small Business Award. This award gives three women $25,000 in total and provides them with the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors.

To qualify for StreetShares Foundation’s grant, you must be a veteran, reserve or transitioning active duty member of any of the United States Armed Forces, a spouse of a military member or the child or immediate family member of a military member who died on active duty. 

You must be 21 and own at least 51% of the veteran-owned business. The grant is given to qualified applicants who lack financial means to start or grow an early-stage business or non-profit.

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Beyond grants and loans, there are resources that can help you plan, launch, and grow your veteran-owned business.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development provides resources and small business programs as well as training, counseling, and mentorship, as well as information on Federal procurement programs for veterans.Who is eligible for these services?

  • Veterans
  • Service-disabled veterans
  • Reserve component members 
  • Their dependents or survivors

Here are some other funding options to consider.


The federal government has the aim to award at least 3% of all federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran businesses each year. The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses program assists service-disabled veterans in securing those government contracts. Their eligibility criteria is as followings: 

  • Small business
  • At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans
  • Have one or more service-disabled veterans manage day-to-day operations and make long-term decisions
  • Service-connected disability

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The Warrior Rising program includes the Warrior Academy, designed to help “vetrepreneurs” at every stage of business growth succeed. It also provides vets with mentoring, assistance in finding funding options, and a community of veteran business owners who offer one another support. Warrior Rising’s process includes:

  • Intake and tracking: Phone interview to understand your background and determine where you most need help
  • Instruction: Warrior Academy: Self-paced video modules with homework and feedback
  • Mentoring: One-on-one coaching in specific areas like marketing or accounting
  • Funding opportunities: Assistance helping you find the best grants or loans
  • Warrior Community: Connects you with other “vetrepreneurs” in your area

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Patriot Boot Camp provides educational small business programs, mentors, and a community of experts and peers to active duty service members, veterans and their spouses looking to start a business. Programs offered include:

  • 3-day bootcamps
  • Lunch and learn sessions
  • Webinars


Veterans Business Resource Center provides counseling and mentoring services for new veteran business owners, as well as training and webinars to continue their education. Services offered include:

  • Marketing plan assistance
  • Training and events
  • Financial analysis
  • Business strategy
  • Consulting
  • Government contracting assistance

Another entrepreneurship program, V-WISE IGNITE, targets women veterans looking to start a business. The one-day training event provides resources and support to help them on their path.Who is eligible for these services?

  • National Guard and Reserve components
  • Active duty women service members of any military branch, including National Guard and Reserve components
  • Women spouses/same-sex life partners of above (including widowed spouses/partners)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a program, Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Self-Employment Track, that provides assistance to veterans with service-connected disabilities or employment barriers. The program assists in creating a business plan, analyzing your business concept, and providing you with the resources you need to succeed. Who is eligible for these services?

  • Service member or veteran with an employment barrier or handicap
  • Service-connected disability makes it hard for you to prepare for, obtain and maintain suitable employment 

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Boots to Business (B2B) is a program created by the SBA and Office of Veterans Business Development, and it provides courses to help vets become successful business owners.Who is eligible for these services?

  • Transitioning service members (including National Guard and Reserve) 
  • Their spouses on military installations worldwide


The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) program is offered free of charge to post-9/11 veterans and their families. It targets businesses in early-growth mode, providing entrepreneurship and business management training. Programs available include:

  • EBV Accelerate: A bootcamp-style program that provides insight and education on financial, management, marketing, and strategic planning challenges established businesses encounter.
  • EBV Program: cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and business management for companies in early growth mode.
  • EBV-Families Program: Provides the same training to family of qualified veterans.


If you are interested in bidding on government contracts, explore the Vets First Verification Program. Run through the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), this program gives vets priority when bidding on federal and state government contracts, as well as better access to capital and tax relief.Who is eligible for these services?

  • Veteran owns 51% or more of the company
  • Veteran has full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making, and strategic policy of the business
  • Veteran has managerial experience
  • Veteran is the highest-paid person in the company 
  • Veteran works in the business full time
  • Veteran holds the highest officer position in the company

Small business grants for veterans provide a unique opportunity: access to capital free of charge that can help you realize your entrepreneurial dreams. Realize that the grant process may be slow, so it’s important to start your homework early to find the grants that you qualify for. In general, you can apply for and accept multiple grants.

You can also combine multiple financing options to launch or expand your business. This can mean a combination of grants and loans, and possibly investors as well. It’s a good idea to evaluate all funding sources to find what works best for you.

Learn more:

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