Business grants for Black women

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    Chris Godfrey

    Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on July 11, 2024. Next review due October 1, 2025.

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    Business grants for Black women can provide free money to help women of color launch or build a business, access education, or pursue a creative or professional career. 

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      What are business grants for Black women?

      Business grants are a great way for Black women to finance their businesses and create opportunities that support their community. Provided by Government departments, corporations, foundations and other organizations, business grants can be used to support women of color in business, the arts, education, research and more. Best of all, business grants are effectively free money – there is no need to repay the funds if you use them as you said you would. 

      How do business grants for Black women work?

      Black women seeking a business grant should expect a lengthy application process, typically needing to meet strict guidelines, timelines and other qualifying criteria. Competition for this type of funding is often fierce and even if you qualify, the award sum may be small requiring you to seek additional finance. 

      Many business grants are tied to specific goals – entrepreneurial, educational, creative and motivational – and selection committees have full control of the award process and the sums distributed. To succeed, you will usually need a strong business plan that includes a feasibility study and an indication of how you intend to keep the venture going in the post-grant period. 

      If you receive an award, the money may come to you all at once, but more usually, it will come in stages – either based on a set calendar or on your venture achieving fixed objectives. Unlike business loans, grants do not need to be repaid, making them a critical financial resource for ventures that cannot sustain a large financial burden.

      Which business grants for Black women are there?

      There are many types of business grant for Black women. Award sums, qualifying criteria and selection committee objectives vary from source to source.

      Black Girl Ventures Pitch Program

      The Black Girl Ventures Pitch Program is an entrepreneurial fund-raising model for Black and brown female business founders. Using a hybrid pitch and crowdfunding system, participants have three minutes to pitch their opportunity to an audience of community and professional investors. The three participants with the most votes win at each event. First prize is $10,000, second prize is $6,000, third prize is $2,000. 

      To qualify, your business must be at least 51% owned by Black or brown women, have been operating for one year or more and be generating revenues. 

      HerRise MicroGrant

      Aiming to bridge the financial gap in funding for early-stage Black female entrepreneurs, the HerRise MicroGrant provides a monthly award of $1,000 to businesses that aim to positively impact their community. To qualify, your business must be at least 51% owned by women of color, be based in the US and have revenues of less than $1 million.

      Corporate Counsel Women of Color Grant Program

      The Corporate Counsel Women of Color Grant Program equips female Black and brown entrepreneurs with the tools to compete in the 21st century marketplace – awarding small business grants to individual applicants who are women of color business owners. The Counsel provides five grants of $2,500 each per year, with award winners announced every January. 

      To qualify, your business must be a legal for-profit entity, be based in the US and have generated more than $25,000 in revenues since 01 January 2020.

      NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant

      The NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant is an annual event held to celebrate Black Entrepreneurs Day. Since inception, the program has awarded more than $750,000 in small business grants. Black entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking financial support can apply for one of nine $25,000 grants awarded every year.  Winners also get access to professional mentorships and resources to help them take their business to the next level.

      Coalition to Back Black Businesses Enhancement Grant

      Having financially supported more than 1400 small businesses since the program began, the Coalition to Back Black Businesses provides several grants of $25,000 to Black-owned businesses per year. (There were 14 winners in 2023). The goal of the Enhancement Grant is to solidify the resilience and long-term success of the award-winning businesses and to help strengthen the communities that those businesses serve.

      TL Effect

      US-based lingerie brand Third Love offers the TL Effect Grant Program to support female-identifying entrepreneurs. The company awards one $20,000 grant per year, plus a mentoring program, access to dedicated workspaces and exposure to the brand’s large consumer base to help drive awareness and sales for the winner’s business. 

      To qualify, you must identify as a woman of color with an early-stage startup that is at least 51% female owned. You cannot apply if your business has already received venture capital funding.

      WomensNet Amber Grants

      Offering a total of $435,000 in awards per year, this is one the most generous grants programs. The WomensNet Amber Grants awards multiple grants per year, with $10,000 being offered monthly in three separate categories (total of $30,000 per month available).  Participants who win a monthly prize also automatically qualify for the draw for an annual $25,000 award – with three prizes available, one for each award category.

      You can apply for any of these grants by completing an online application and paying a $15 entrance fee.

      Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative

      Ferrero North America’s ‘Famous Amos’ brand and the US Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) have partnered to offer the Famous Amos Ingredients for Success Entrepreneurs Initiative, an annual national program that provides a total of $150,000 in cash awards, mentorship, and educational resources to Black early-stage businesses. The total prize pot is shared across three winners per year. To qualify, your business must be at least 90% Black-owned and in business for five years or less.

      How do I get a business grant for Black women?

      Women of color can improve their chances of winning a small business grant by preparing in advance. Key tasks to take care of include:

      • Identify your need for the grant. Why do you need the money? What will you use it for? You must present a strong case for funding to secure a business grant. No matter if you want to start a business, grow an existing company, conduct research or undertake a creative project, having a clear vision of what you wish to achieve with the grant money, is crucial
      • Search for suitable grants. Once your goals are set, you can search for grants that fit your mission objectives. Identify the qualification rules, time limits and any restrictions that may apply. 
      • Prepare your application. Few grant programs are the same. As well as the application forms, grantors may also ask you to provide a presentation deck, submit endorsements, create a financial plan, or write a detailed grant proposal. Make sure your ambitions are clear. Point out the benefits that receiving an award will deliver for your business, your community and everyone your venture will engage with.  Be positive but maintain feasibility. This is your opportunity to present your case for funding in the best possible light.
      • Submit your application. Check the submission guidelines – online, hard copy, or both, and submit your grant application well in advance of the posted deadline in case there are last minute issues with receipt.
      • Wait for a decision. Be patient. Grantors are often inundated with applications and the review process of all submissions can take time. However, you should at least follow up with the grantor to ensure your application was received and is being processed. You could also use this time to search for other funding options in case your application is not successful.

      What are the alternatives to grants?

      There are more ways than one to fund your big idea. Business loans can fill the gap if your grant award is too small or if your grant application was not approved:

      Term loans

      The most common type of commercial loan. You receive a single, lump-sum cash injection and then pay it back in regular instalments over a fixed period of up to 25 years. Collateral may be required.

      Business line of credit

      This is a business loan that functions like a high-value credit card. Withdraw as much as you want when you want from a loan facility up to the limit of your borrowing. You only pay interest on the sum you withdraw, not the whole line – which can significantly reduce your borrowing costs. Collateral may be required.

      Invoice financing

      Also known as account receivables financing. Borrow against the value of your unpaid invoices. The lender will usually provide up to 95% of the invoice value within a few days or even hours of the bill being raised.  Your invoices act as security for the loan, no added collateral required.

      Equipment financing

      Equipment loans use the asset you’re financing as security – so no added collateral is required. You use the equipment as you pay for it while the lender maintains a lien on the machinery. Once you pay the loan back, the lender releases the lien, and you own the equipment outright. 

      Merchant cash advance

      Available for businesses that accept customer payments by credit and debit card. Borrow against the value of your card sales. As your card sales increase, your borrowing limit goes up. Pay the loan back with a fixed percentage of your card sales on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Your sales act as security for the loan, no added collateral is required.

      Revenue-based financing

      Functions like a merchant cash advance but with higher borrowing limits. Based on the size and regularity of your total revenues, (not just your credit card sales), you may receive a lump sum and pay it back over a short-term schedule, typically by small deductions from their daily sales. This type of loan can usually be secured quickly as qualification rules are less intensive and credit scores are not so critical. No added collateral is required.

      SBA loans

      Nonprofit and community-based lenders can provide SBA Microloans to borrowers that may struggle to secure standard business financing. Available up to $50,000, these loans can be ideal for entrepreneurs who are seeking a smaller sum to start or grow their business. SBA microloans also come with more relaxed qualifying rules and can usually be secured with FICO scores as low as 500, or even with no credit score at all. Be aware that these type of business loans often require a personal guarantee that makes you personally responsible for the debt.

      Get started with Swoop

      Working with business finance experts can make all the difference when applying for grant funding. Contact Swoop to discuss your borrowing needs, get help with your application and to compare top quality small business grants and business loans from a choice of providers. Give your business the chance it deserves. Register with Swoop today.

      Written by

      Chris Godfrey

      Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Wells Fargo Bank, Visa, Experian, Ebay, Flywire, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of US consumer and business finance.

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