If you’re a woman or racial minority running a small business, you may benefit from several small business grant programs. These initiatives often aim to level the playing field and support groups that have traditionally faced barriers to funding. Read about several current and ongoing grant opportunities in the list below.
MBDA Capital Readiness Program
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency is launching a nearly $100 million grant program to support female and minority entrepreneurs. The Capital Readiness Program is directing grants of between $2 million and $3 million to business incubators and accelerators run by companies, nonprofits, and universities. So the funds will not go directly to small businesses from the federal government. But recipients must use the funds to provide services that can help women- and minority-owned startups overcome structural barriers. The program will focus on several high-growth industries, including health care, climate technologies, and infrastructure. Applications for this round are due via Grants.gov by February 28.
Ladies Who Launch
Ladies Who Launch is an annual grant program that provides funding to women and non-binary small business owners. This year, 20 such businesses will receive a $10,000 grant and six months of educational support. This funding round focuses on consumer packaged goods businesses with an annual gross revenue of between $100,000 and $499,000. March 31 is the deadline to apply for the current program.
Fearless Strivers Grant Contest
Mastercard is partnering with Fearless Fund to support Black women-owned businesses. Eligible companies can now apply for $20,000 grants, along with digital tools and mentorship opportunities. The application portal is now available online, and the program closes August 31.
The Amber Grant
The Amber Grant is a monthly grant program for women-owned businesses. Each month, WomensNet provides a grant of at least $30,000. And the organization hosts themed grant contests throughout the year as well. The organization has one application form available online that will automatically enroll eligible women founders in every program they qualify for. Then, grant recipients are notified of their awards on the 23 of each month.
Hello Alice is a digital platform that connects diverse small businesses with resources, including grants. The organization works with various corporate and nonprofit partners on various programs and initiatives throughout the year. For example, Hello Alice is currently part of the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program, working alongside the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to help Hispanic and minority entrepreneurs navigate supply chain issues and similar challenges.
IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database
IFundWomen offers various grant programs throughout the year for businesses owned by women and people of color. The organization offers a universal grant application that eligible businesses can use to apply for all programs at once. You can even store your information and sign up for updates, allowing you to easily apply once new programs launch.
Fast Break for Small Business
LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League join together to offer the Fast Break for Small Business grant program during each basketball season. The program has already provided more than $3 million in grants and other support services to eligible businesses. And minority entrepreneurs receive priority during the application process to reach as many underserved groups as possible. The next funding round is scheduled to start over the summer.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
Cartier’s Women’s Initiative Award is an annual grant program that has run since 2006. The program supports women-owned and women-run businesses globally, providing grants of up to $100,000. The company is adding even more award opportunities in 2023, including several regional awards and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award, which will be open to underserved entrepreneurs of all genders.
Tory Burch Fellows Program
The Tory Burch Foundation offers a fellowship program to support early stage women-led startups. The program features a digital education program, peer to peer network, and $5,000 grants for fellows. The next program officially begins in summer 2023. And the foundation will accept applications for the following year in fall.
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