The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to small businesses and has hit minority-owned businesses especially hard. A report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last August found that in the wake of the pandemic, minority-owned businesses were more likely to report challenges obtaining loans, anticipate decreasing revenue, and fear permanently closing.
There are over four million minority-owned businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. These businesses create 4.7 million jobs and their annual sales total $700 billion. Thus, the recovery of these businesses is crucial, yet it is often more difficult for minority business owners to obtain financing.
But hope is not at all lost.
As the economy slowly comes back to life and businesses work to rebuild, there are many opportunities, both financial and educational, that can help minority business owners get back on their feet.
Education and development resources for minority business owners
The below are just a few of the myriad of groups throughout the United States that provide education, mentoring, and networking opportunities exclusively for minority business owners.
The Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. MBDA Centers across the country provide counseling, business development, and networking opportunities for minority business owners. MBDA’s centers are strategically located in areas with the highest number of minority-owned businesses.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) connects minority-owned businesses with corporations that are interested in utilizing their products and services. The group includes dozens of corporate members across all industries, as well as 23 affiliate organizations serving different areas of the US.
Members include but are not limited to American Airlines, Kellogg, Kroger, L’Oreal, Staples, Pfizer, Starbucks, Indiana University, Nike, Walgreens, Facebook, and Fannie Mae.
Currently, more than 13,000 minority-owned businesses work with NMSDC to bring their services to companies that need them.
This nonprofit focuses on supporting Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. The organization offers programming for businesswomen at any stage of the entrepreneurial process, from those with only an idea to those committed to growing their already established company.
Community Lending at Valley
We understand that minority-owned businesses are a valued part of the community. That’s why we created our Community Lending program, which is committed to helping underserved businesses through development and innovation. Learn more about the program benefits, our team, and more by clicking here.
Grants for minority business owners
There are so many private and public grants offered specifically to minority business owners. Here are a few places to find them.
Grants.gov is a portal that streamlines access to all grants being offered by government agencies. While the large number of offerings can be a bit overwhelming, the search function allows you to filter by industry as well as keyword.
Coalition to Back Black Businesses
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses was established specifically to help Black-owned businesses recover from the pandemic. Every autumn between 2020 and 2023, it will provide $5000 dollar grants to applicants, in addition to mentorship and training. A few lucky applicants will also receive a second grant of $25,000.
New Voices Foundation
The New Voices foundation offers grants to women entrepreneurs of color through pitch competitions. Subscribe to their newsletter to stay up to date on their events.
The FedEx Small Business Grant Competition
While not specifically for minority owned businesses, the annual FedEx Small Business Grant Competition awards businesses up to $50,000 in grants, as well as thousands more in FedEx Office print services.
U.S. Small Business Administration
While the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) does not directly provide funding for businesses, it can help you find loans, grants, and investors. The SBA does, however, provide its own low-interest disaster assistance loans, including loans to support those impacted by Covid-19.
Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship
The Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship offers ten $50,000 fellowships per year to Native Americans whose work benefits indigenous people.
Black Girl Ventures
Black Girl Ventures holds live, crowdfunded pitch competitions to support Black and Brown women entrepreneurs. It also offers a 9-month fellowship program that includes both development training and a $10,000 stipend.
National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants
The National Association for the Self-Employed offers members $4000 growth grants to help them cover smaller expenses. The organization also offers education scholarships for your dependents.
Where to go from here
The applications for many of these programs may have closed for 2021, since the year is coming to an end. However, now that you know about them, you can be ready the moment their applications open for 2022. Make sure to keep tabs on those that appeal to you.
If none of the resources listed above feel right, Google will surely be able to help you find more.
If you’re still struggling, though, another great place to find resources is through your local chamber of commerce, which will likely provide links to extensive resources for both small business education and financing.