Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of underrepresented 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.
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. According to a recent study, Black founders only managed to use 1% of venture capital in 2022.
It’s an unfortunate truth, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t funding out there for Black founders to make use of. In this piece, discover 37 funding resources for Black-owned businesses that can help you put your best foot forward.
Table of Contents
- Small Business Loans
- Online Business Loans
- Equity Crowdfunding
- Private Equity Firms
- Additional Resources
Small Business Loans
This program offers everything from mentorship programs to microloan and even a hubzone program that offers small business owners access to funding based on their needs. They connect low-income entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, and women to affordable capital, educational resources, coaching, and business networks.
Business Consortium Fund Loan programs are for minority-owned businesses that cannot lock in financing through other avenues and are certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Amounts range from $500 to $50,000.
Interest rates are capped at 3%, and loan repayment terms can extend for seven years. To qualify for the Business Consortium Fund Loan, your business has to be certified with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and have a vendor-supplier relationship with an NMSDC corporate member.
This fund is part of the U.S. Treasury Department. CDFIs are financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, loan funds, microloan funds, or venture capital providers.
These institutions provide residents and businesses loans funded by the U.S. Treasury Department to create economic opportunities in low-income communities. Head here to find a local CDFI in your neighborhood that can provide business assistance.
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.
This fintech platform offers small business loans tailored for women-owned businesses. EnrichHER connects pre-qualified companies led by women and founders of color to capital, coaching opportunities, and community networks to help their companies succeed.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs in the Bay Area, Northern California, and Massachusetts can obtain funding from Runaway Growth Capital. This program offers “friends and family” style funding, including weekly coaching sessions and access to a network of other founders of color to add to their portfolios.
7. Union Bank
Minority, women, and veteran business owners looking for access to capital with flexible credit guidelines are the focal point for Union Bank‘s Diversity Lending program. It continues the company’s commitment to serving underserved communities across the nation.
If you're looking for an alternative for minority business loans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has options through its Small Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program.
To qualify, your business must be located in a rural area, defined as a town with fewer than 50,0000 people. Funds can be put towards various business requirements like working capital, real estate financing, business, expansion, and more.
Online Business Loans
Along with short-term loan options and lines of credit, BlueVine also offers invoice financing, making them a flexible lender to work alongside for all your business needs. Qualifications include a minimum credit score of 625+ and at least $40,000 in monthly revenue.
Borrowers can get up to $250,000 in business loans through BlueVine's short-term loan and line of credit products. Additionally, the company can factor in up to $5 million in monthly invoices.
Through Fundation, qualifying borrowers can secure medium-term loans and business lines of credit that offer up to $500,000 in capital.
To qualify, borrowers will need a minimum credit score of 660. However, Fundation does offer affordable financing through interest rates that start at 8%.
This alternative lender offers loan options for those who need a company that will work across a broader credit spectrum. Short-term loans or business lines of credit are available to borrowers with a minimum personal credit score of 625 and $100k in annual revenue.
If you're looking for capital for any of your business needs, OnDeck offers up to $50,000 in financing.
This crowd-funding machine is tailored specifically for women entrepreneurs. It provides an exclusive program for women of color that includes access to grants, how-to guides to tackle crowdfunding, support, and business coaching.
Shea Moisture offers $1M grants annually to small, Black-owned businesses across the health and beauty sector. It also offers education, access to additional resources, and mentorship for entrepreneurs.
This program awards 20 female founders of color with funding awards that equal $25,000. Recipients must be located in New York City, and the overarching goal is to help them overcome the early-stage funding gap that women of color often face.
Legal Zoom has partnered with the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League to offer a grant opportunity for Black-owned businesses worth $10,000. They will also receive $500 worth of legal services provided by LegalZoom.
Launched in 2012, the packaging company's annual small business grant contest has given approximately $1.5 million in cash prizes to over 100 small businesses.
Every year, ten businesses can win up to $30,0000 in funding to grow and develop their business. In addition to that, each winner is matched with a mentor and will receive $1,000 in print credit at FedEx. One grand prize winner, who must also be a U.S. Veteran, will have the chance to win an extra $20,000. You can sign up for contest date notifications here.
Businesses led by underrepresented founders can receive three months of both product development and UX/UI design resources to get them to a place where they can go out and successfully raise funds or accomplish their next big milestone on their own.
Grants.gov, a federally operated website, offers more than 1,000 funding opportunities for entrepreneurs, including those in the small and minority-owned category. Signing up on the website takes less than 10 minutes, and once you're in, you can search for available grants provided by federal agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce.
This small business grant and mentorship program focuses on women and non-binary small business owners. The number one goal is to remove barriers to access that prevent them from succeeding through capital at up to $10,000.
Once each quarter, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers business grants of up to $4,000 to small business owners through its Growth Grant program. Funds can be used for specific business needs that include but aren't limited to marketing, advertising, hiring employees, expansion, and more.
This grant program is up for grabs for 25 Black women entrepreneurs who will receive $10,000 in funding as well as training, mentorship, and networking opportunities thanks to a collaboration between the online community helping to advance the career development of women of color and the Sage Foundation.
Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) joined forces to create the Small Business Growth Fund to provide four small businesses with $25,000 in funding.
This private small business grant is a joint effort between corporations like American Express, ADP, AIG Foundation, Altice USA, Down, and the S&P Global Foundation.
Businesses that qualify will receive $5,000 in grants and mentorship, and training. Only a select amount of entrepreneurs will be tapped for their $25,000 enhancement grants.
Following its inception in 2021, the Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund, led by SIA Scotch Whisky, has given $10,000 in grants to entrepreneurs of color working in the food and beverage industry.
Much like the loan mentioned earlier, this program offers grants to the same qualifying businesses operating in rural areas that aim to improve their community.
This lending program is a nonprofit made with nontraditional borrowers in mind, and it’s an online lending hub that connects entrepreneurs to crowdsourced lending.
Both startups and investors can use this platform to find their perfect match, focusing on small business owners who wish to maintain control of their capital.
Private Equity Firms
If you’re looking to build a sustainable, innovative business, Collab Capital is the investment fund for you. The platform is geared toward supporting Black founders.
Based in New York City, this program has set a goal to invest in more than 1,000 diverse founders over 20 years, focusing on companies that intend to disrupt traditional business standards by solving important problems.
3. Hustle Fund
This venture capital fund is geared toward early-stage startups within B2B software, fintech, and digital health industries. They not only invest in seed rounds, but they’ve got your back in pre-seed too.
Calling all diverse tech-driven companies who aim to close the opportunity gap. This impact investment fund is committed to investing in diverse entrepreneurs currently making strides toward creating large-scale social impact.
This is a private equity firm that invests in both diverse founders and organizations.
This is a seed fund and a national network of angel investors whose main priorities are entrepreneurs and activists who aim to create innovative approaches to causing progressive change.
For Black-owned businesses based in Oakland, California, this investment platform provides grants and investments to organizations with a goal of addressing gaps in access to capital and real estate.
These organizations offer training and resources to help promote the interests of local businesses.
2. Farm Aid
This platform is a nonprofit organization offering an annual grant program that funds family farms and rural service organizations. In 2022, Farm Aid assisted Black and other minority farmers and groups working to demand change for racial justice and social equity.
Completely run by a network of volunteers, this organization has provided resources like education and mentorship to small business owners since 1964.