Minority StartUp Grant Toolkit

According to Census Bureau data, the number of minority-owned firms doubled over the last decade. This being said, however, although minorities are majorly driving the growth of entrepreneurship in this country, minority business owners still face a multitude of challenges when trying to start and finance their businesses. Minority entrepreneurs are sometimes challenged to get funding, which is a key predictor of a business’s future success.

Luckily, in addition to traditional financing options, like business loans, there are a variety of alternative funding solutions that minority entrepreneurs can explore, like small business grants

What is a business grant?

A business grant is a sum of money given to a business in order to help them further their business. They’re usually distributed by governments, corporations, foundations, or trusts. Unlike many other types of business funding, grants don’t have to be paid back and business owners aren’t required to give up equity in exchange for a grant.

How to Apply for Grants

Once you’ve got a handle on the grants you want to apply for, the next thing to do is get all the needed documentation ready. This pile of paperwork usually includes your financial documents, articles of incorporation, credit score, bank documents, and your business plan, which lays out the products or services you offer to customers.

These documents will be the meat of what you use to write your grant proposal, so having them ready to go saves you a lot of time trying compared to trying to track them down later.

Create your grant proposal

With everything gathered and reviewed, it’s time to start the grant writing process. Craft your document and tie in the capital needed for your business operations, plus how you expect to spend the money and track the results.

Something else to consider as you prepare your grant proposal: Make sure you’re paying particular attention to the organization’s stated needs and goals. It’s usually the reason why they are giving out the money. The more you can align your proposal with their goals, the better your chance of standing out from the crowd.

Here are some grant opportunities that are specific to minorities. At the bottom of this guide, there is a Grant Toolkit to help you take advantage of these opportunities.

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) is a nonprofit community lender, specializing in small-business loans coupled with business advisory services. Financing available to small businesses for assistance with recovery from the effects of the wide-spread virus. ACE has created the Emergency Loan to provide financial assistance to small businesses to speed recovery

For more information, click here.

NOW Corp

NOW Corp’s flagship service, NOWaccount® enables businesses to get paid immediately—in a way that feels like accepting a credit card for payment (no loan or factoring) even when a card is not offered and an invoice is required. NOW Corp offers nontraditional sources of capital if your other financial tools are unable to. For more information, click here.


BeyGOOD is on a mission to spread hope. The goal is to provide a lifeline for small businesses at the epicenter of dual pandemics. NAACP has teamed up with the BeyGOOD to expand economic opportunity by awarding grants of $10,000 on the 15th of each month through the end of 2021. For more information, click here.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

An investment of $2.5 million from Verizon is making it possible for LISC to begin offering critical relief and resiliency-building support to small businesses facing immediate financial threat because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will go to make grants of up to $10,000, especially to entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.

For more information, click here.

Stacy’s Rise Project

The Stacy's Rise Project, created by the makers of Stacy's Pita Chips, is an annual grant and mentorship program supporting women in business. In 2020, the project partnered with Hello Alice, an online community for business leaders, to award a total of $150,000 to 15 Black female entrepreneurs.

For more information, click here.

New Voices Foundation

The New Voices Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering “women of color entrepreneurs unprecedented access, capital, and expertise to build, grow and scale their businesses with purpose.”

The New Voices Foundation will provide up to 60 grants to women of color founders through the organization’s pitch competition program. Each competition will award $100,000 in grant money (with individual grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000), and grant recipients will also gain access to ongoing coaching, mentoring, and business development opportunities. For more information, click here.

Rebuild The Block

Rebuild The Block is a nationwide non-profit fund providing financial assistance to Black-owned businesses. Their mission is to “rebuild the block through the organic growth of resources by redistributing wealth and knowledge to the Black community.” To date, Rebuild the Block has raised $189,000 (with a fundraising goal of $1 million) and awarded six grants to Black-owned businesses across the US. For more information, click here.

Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program (WAMS)

The purpose of this program is to support research, education/teaching, and extension projects that increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in STEM. NIFA intends this program to address educational needs within broadly defined areas of food and agricultural sciences. Applications recommended for funding must highlight and emphasize the development of a competent and qualified workforce in the food and agricultural sciences. WAMS-funded projects improve the economic health and viability of rural communities by developing research and extension initiatives that focus on new and emerging employment opportunities in STEM occupations. Projects that contribute to the economic viability of rural communities are also encouraged.

For more information, click here.

Amber Grant Foundation

WomensNet formed the Amber Grant Foundation in 1998 to honor Amber Wigdahl, an aspiring businesswoman who died at age 19 before she could realize her dreams. The foundation awards $10,000 in Amber Grants each month, plus a year-end grant of $25,000. The application is fast and simple and has a $15 application fee. For more information, click here.


Perpetual systemic discrimination, the unwillingness & inability of Silicon Valley and venture capitalists to effectively diversify their investments, the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on entrepreneurs of color, and generations of inequities against Black people are absolutely inexcusable. SoGal Foundation has teamed up with Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, and other sponsors to make a small step towards progress by providing several $10K and $5K cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs. For more information, click here.

IFundWomen of Color

The go-to funding resource for diverse, early-stage entrepreneurs. IFundWomen of Color was created with our founding partner Caress to help diverse entrepreneurs bring their dreams into reality through raising capital via crowdfunding and providing grants, coaching, and the connections needed to launch and grow successful businesses. For more information, click here.

Jane Walker • IFundWomen First Women Grant Program

Jane Walker has team up with IFundWomen, together with a network of powerful icons, to support 15 groundbreaking women-owned businesses across Entertainment & Film, Music, Sports, Journalism and Hospitality on their journey towards a monumental first. Each recipient will receive a $10K grant plus a one-year IFundWomen Annual Coaching Membership. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis through June 2021. For more information, click here.

Gusto • IFundWomen 2021 Jumpstart Grant Program

Gusto and IFundWomen have teamed up to support four (4) early-stage women-owned small businesses, each with a $2,500 grant to help them jumpstart a year of growth in 2021. In addition, all qualified applicants will receive three (3) months of free Gusto payroll services. For more information, click here.

American Express • IFundWomen of Color 100 for 100 Program

In partnership with IFundWomen of Color, American Express has launched the 100 for 100 program, providing $25,000 grants & 100 days of resources to 100 Black women-owned businesses. For more information, click here.

Comcast RISE

Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment. These are the cornerstones of Comcast RISE, a multi-year commitment to provide complimentary marketing, creative, media, and technology services to qualifying small businesses owned by underrepresented groups, beginning with a focus on Black-owned businesses.

If your business qualifies, you’ll have the opportunity to receive complimentary marketing consultations, media placements, commercial creative production services, or technology services from Effectv and Comcast Business. Currently, only Black business owners are eligible to apply, but others from underrepresented groups will be eligible beginning In November. Future applicants will also have the opportunity to receive grants. For more information, click here.

This toolkit will help you create a grant proposal!

StartUp Grant Toolkit
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