Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a new blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of Black business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they’ve grown or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures within their companies, or created side hustles, and how their stories can inspire and inform your own success.
When it comes to starting a business, securing capital is often one of the greatest challenges for Black entrepreneurs. Less access to banking in Black communities and a history of discriminatory lending practices have made it harder for Black founders to secure loans or financial assistance.
And once your business is open, unexpected disasters like a pandemic can wreak havoc on even the most established business’ bottom line. While many businesses struggled in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19, Black businesses were hit even harder.
According to a Stanford report on the impact of COVID-19 on small business owners, between February and April 2020 there was a 41% drop in the operation of Black-owned businesses. The fallout from the pandemic left many businesses urgently seeking funding to stay open.
The need for sustainable funding resources is an urgent need to support the future of Black businesses. In recent years, a number of nonprofits, private equity firms, and grant programs have developed with the sole focus of supporting Black businesses.
This guide compiles the top resources to fund your business with programs for loans, grants, and private equity firms known to support Black-owned businesses. Whether you’re looking to scale up or get started, there’s a resource for you.
While this list has been compiled with the intention of helping Black business owners, many of the financial programs are also open to non-black people of color, and those with other marginalized identities, such as veterans, women, and the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities.
In addition to this list, the HubSpot YouTube team produced the video below outlining helpful strategies Black business owners can implement to secure business funding.
Accion International is a global, non-profit micro-lender that provides financing to disadvantaged populations. They connect low-income entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, and women to affordable capital, educational resources, coaching, and business networks.
DreamSpring is a nonprofit serving entrepreneurs in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. They offer access to credit, loans, and provide support to help you re-start and re-open your business.
Founders First Capital Partners offers flexible revenue-based investments for service companies led by minorities, veterans, and women founders, with a focus on preserving business ownership. In addition to investments, they offer business accelerator programs and a learning platform that can help business owners.
National Minority Supplier Development Council is a corporate member organization with a mission to advance business opportunities for minority businesses. They offer a Business Consortium Fund where eligible businesses can receive financing and advisory services.
Pursuit Lending is a financial organization serving business loans to New York, New New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. They have more than 15 loan programs, including programs to help you start a business and develop working capital.
This investment firm provides Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs in the Bay Area, Northern California, and Massachusetts with early-stage funding and holistic business support. Their program includes"friends and family" style funding, weekly coaching, and access to a network of other entrepreneurs of color in their portfolio.
The SBA is a U.S. government agency that provides support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Whether you’re looking for investment capital or a loan, they can match you to the right programs and products to help your business.
If you’re looking for help keeping your business open in light of COVID-19, look into their Paycheck Protection Program. Their new guidance aims to prioritize minority-owned businesses among other underserved communities.
Union Bank is committed to serving underserved communities with its Diversity Lending program. This program is designed to support minority, women, and veteran business owners with flexible credit guidelines and access to capital.
Business For All is a grant program offered by Hello Alice in partnership with Verizon. This program offers 18 total grants comprising $285,000 to Business for All applicants. Thirteen of the 18 grants will go to businesses led by women, people of color, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, military-connected business owners, and entrepreneurs with disabilities.
iFundWomen is a crowd-funding platform for women-owned businesses. They offer an exclusive program for women of color, as well as access to grants, guides to crowdfunding, business coaching, and support.
The MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses. They do not directly disburse funds, however, MBDA Minority Business Centers can connect you to the right resources for capital.
The NASE offers a Growth Grants Program with micro-grants up to $4,000 to the organization’s members. This program is not specifically for Black business owners but may be ideal for small business owners looking for alternative funding.
This e-learning platform for women of color entrepreneurs offers education, access to resources, and mentorship in response to the COVID-19 crisis. After program completion, participants will have an opportunity to develop a pandemic business recovery plan and pitch for $100,000 in funding.
These grants are powered by the Small Business Administration and fund a diverse portfolio of startups and small businesses across technology areas and markets to stimulate technological innovation, specifically in research and development. Entrepreneurs of color, women and people with disabilities living in the United States and U.S. territories are encouraged to apply.
Flatirons Fund invests three months of product development and UX/UI design resources to businesses run by underrepresented founders. Their goal is to get founders to a place where they can go out and successfully raise funds or hit their next big milestone.
StartEngine is an equity crowdfunding site that allows startups and investors to find their perfect fit. If you want to maintain control of your capital and your company this option might be for you. Equity crowdfunding allows your biggest fans to become your backers.
Backstage Capital, led by Managing Partner and INBOUND speaker Arlan Hamilton, invests in companies led by underestimated founders, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ founders. They welcome businesses at any stage to apply and have invested in more than 150 companies.
This New York City-based venture capital firm is on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship. Harlem Capital Partners has set a lofty goal to invest in over 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. They focus on disruptive companies solving important problems.
Hustle is a venture capital fund investing in early-stage startups operating in B2B, software, fintech, and digital health industries. Just getting started with your business? No problem, Hustle Fund invests in pre-seed and seed rounds. Their core mission is investing in “hilariously early start-ups.” Hustle founders are CEOs themselves so they know what it takes to hustle.
Kapor Capital is an impact investment fund committed to investing in diverse entrepreneurs creating large-scale social impact. They’re looking for diverse tech-driven companies focused on closing opportunity gaps.
This investment platform provides grants and investments to Black-owned businesses in Oakland, CA with the goal of addressing gaps in access to capital and real estate. In addition, OBBF has a $10M relief fund to help Oakland businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Reign is a Black woman-founded early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on Seed and Series A stage investment opportunities. They believe in investing in women and minority-owned businesses and have a commitment to build a portfolio with at least 50% women or minority founders.
As we uncover more resources for underrepresented founders we’ll continue updating this list.
Originally published Jun 4, 2021 7:45:00 PM, updated August 18 2021