Black-owned businesses are on the rise in recent years, but there are still plenty of challenges for minority entrepreneurs when it comes to securing the funding they need to run their own small business.

In the face of financial challenges and uncertainty, small business grants can be a lifesaver. Unlike loans, small business grants don’t have to be repaid. And, while the competition for grants can be tough, they’re a huge leg up for Black- and minority-owned businesses looking to grow.

To help you find the funding you need for your business, we’ll share the steps to take before you apply for a grant, as well as the best grants for minority and Black business owners.

What to Know Before You Apply

Before applying for a minority business grant, make sure you’re prepared.

Certified Financial Planner and CFO for FindThisBest, Alex Williams, laid out for us exactly what small business owners need to know before they apply for a minority business grant. Here’s what he suggests:

1. Get certified by the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).

A Minority Business Enterprise is a business that’s at least 51% minority-owned and -operated by a U.S. citizen who is of at least 25% African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latinx or Hispanic, or Native American descent. Having your MBE certification can open up financial opportunities to secure funding and increase revenue for your business. 

2. Draft a comprehensive business plan.

If you don’t already have a business plan in place, now’s the time to write one. Basically, a business plan is a document that lays out how you plan to start your business, and it’s crucial to getting your business up and running.

Pro tip: Need a hand with your salon business plan? Schedulicity has you covered! Check out our All-Inclusive Guide for (finally) writing yours!

3. Research grant options and eligibility requirements.

Researching and finding prospective grants and funding opportunities is the first step to receiving financial aid. While there are plenty of online search tools to help you find a grant, you still need a level of strategy and thoughtfulness when hunting down the best grants for your small business. 

4. Put together your essential documentation.

Having all your financial and business documentation ready to go is extremely helpful when it comes to grant applications. So, be sure you have the following documents on hand before you apply, especially for federal grant opportunities: 

  • Financial records
  • Tax returns
  • MBE certification
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship

5. Apply well before the deadline.

Alex’s last piece of advice for grant hopefuls is to submit your application way before the actual deadline, so make sure to check (and double-check!) the deadlines in your research. Also, keep in mind that a lot of application processes are “rolling”, meaning applications are evaluated as they’re received

8 Small Business Grants for Black Business Owners

We reached out to several experts in the field about the best grants for Black-owned and minority-owned businesses. From CFOs to fellow small business owners, here are their suggestions on funding opportunities.

Invoice2go

Paul Mallory is the co-founder of ConsumerGravity, and he recommends Invoice2go’s grant program. Invoice2go is a private enterprise dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses in the US and attaining sustainable economic growth. 

“In addition to a juicy cash handout of $15,000,” Paul pointed out that “grantees also get access to training services in core business aspects like financial management and marketing.”

FedEx

Paul also let us know about FedEx’s small business grant program for minorities. While Paul warned us the application process is highly competitive, “this more-demanding application process is accompanied by a bigger reward. Grant money can go up to a million dollars,” which is a lot of financial aid for a small business.

Caress Dreams Fund

Product manager and founder of The Alfam, Shauna Graham was full of great advice on grants. As a small business owner herself, Shauna “scrubbed high and low for grants that support the Black community and Black-owned businesses.” 

She suggested the Caress Dreams Fund, which offers dozens of business grants for only women of color. The Fund also provides “opportunities to pitch, plus the coaching and creative services they need to execute successful fundraising campaigns.” 

SBA Minority Resource Center

Shauna also recommended the Minority Resource Center, which falls under the Small Business Administration. With a focus on the “development and growth of minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs from underserved communities,” they’re a valuable resource for Black business owners. 

While the federal government doesn’t provide grants to start a small business, it offers funding opportunities to grow and expand, as well as options for disaster recovery like COVID-19. 

“You can learn more about funding options for small businesses, including those targeted at minority and underserved communities, and get connected with SBA-approved lenders” should you need a small business loan. 

Bridge the Gap Fund

Another great financial resource from Shauna is the Bridge the Gap Fund from Rebuild the Block. It’s “an organization that serves as a community liaison that bridges Black entrepreneurs within our communities with reputable resources to infiltrate generational wealth and capital in the Black community.”

The goal of this fund is to provide financial assistance to “Black entrepreneurs who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and/or looting destruction.”

Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator

Ruben Gamez is the CEO and founder of SignWell, and he suggested Amazon’s grant and resource program. 

In addition to cash grant opportunities, Ruben pointed out that Amazon’s program “also gives business owners a $500 credit to help with startup costs, [up to $3,000 in] ad credits, free imaging services, strategic advisory services, free educational resources, and more.”

The program is continuously growing, as Amazon announced investment partnerships with the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency and U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., so bookmark this opportunity for the future.

Coalition to Back Black Businesses

CFO Alex Williams shared with us how to prepare for grant applications, and now he’s introducing us to the Coalition to Back Black Businesses. This grant is specifically for Black-owned businesses that suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are in need of financial help. 

After a competitive award process, Black-owned small businesses are awarded $5,000 and are eligible for a $25,000 reward in the following year. (Bookmark this funding opportunity ASAP.)

Like Amazon, the Coalition is investing in large brand-name partnerships with American Express, ADP, and Shopify; non-profits; and government organizations “over the next four years to provide over $14 million in grants, training, and resources to empower Black-owned small businesses in distressed communities that have long been struggling with economic growth.” 

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program

Harry Gallagher is the CTO for a retirement company called Life Part 2, and he suggested the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program for financial aid. With a goal to help small business owners create jobs and long-term economic opportunity, Goldman Sachs’ program can be a valuable source for cash grants, education, and other support services.

Also, in partnership with Black women-led organizations, Goldman Sachs started the direct investment initiative, One Million Black Women to build wealth, equalize entrepreneurship, and reach “Black women sole proprietors with the tools necessary to turn their business potential into business growth.”


At Schedulicity, our businesses represent the best parts of who we are. Together, we work to create a safe space in order to empower and educate our small business owners and entrepreneurs. 

We’re proud to celebrate Black Business Month this August with our incredible clients, who show up and show out, every month.