Although there are an estimated two million Black-owned businesses in the U.S., Black entrepreneurs are left behind when it comes to federal funding. A Guidant Financial survey found that 73 percent of Black business owners thought financial assistance was crucial to their businesses, especially during the pandemic. Yet 53 percent of the respondents said they didn’t receive any government pandemic assistance funds.
The bright spot is that there are many grants available for Black-owned businesses, including those outlined here.
Belle Capital Investment for Female-Led Businesses
“Black women have created new businesses at a rapid clip, far outpacing other racial and ethnic groups. But strong financial headwinds from the pandemic and a lack of access to new funding sources threaten to wipe out decades of economic progress, leaving Black female business owners in a state of perpetual uncertainty, waiting for relief they fear will never come,” according to Forbes.
But Black women can get much-needed funding through a program from Belle Capital Investment. The early-stage angel fund invests capital in female-led companies that are actively growing. Belle Capital is investing in companies that can reach $25 million in sales in five years. Applicants can pitch their business models and details about their businesses on the Belle Capital website.
America’s Seed Fund/Small Business Technology Transfer Grants for Science and Tech Companies
Minority-owned startups can get up to $2 million to develop deep technologies. Applicants have to submit a project pitch for this U.S. government grants programs. Focused on science and technology small businesses, America’s Seed Fund awards $200-plus million in research and development funding to about 400 startups across the U.S. annually. America’s Seed Fund is a program within the National Science Foundation, and housed within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships within the Directorate for Engineering. Startup owners can apply for the grants here.
Awesome Foundation Micro Grants for Small Businesses
Awesome Foundation Micro Grants offer $1,000 to local businesses helping their communities. The foundation has chapters worldwide, and each chapter supports “awesome” projects through micro-grants, usually distributed monthly. According to the website, every chapter interprets “awesome” for itself. Awesome projects can include initiatives in a wide range of areas, including arts, technology, community development and more. Business owners can apply at any of the worldwide chapters’ websites.
U.S. Bank Launches Programs to Help Build Black Wealth
U.S. Bank is also launching initiatives to close the wealth gap. The bank launched the $25 million U.S. Bank Access Commitment, which gives funds to Black business owners. As of June 2021, the bank gave $208 million in funds to Black business owners. Black business owners can email [email protected] for more information.
Lenovo Digital Transformation Grant for Canadian Entrepreneurs
Lenovo is offering grants to Black-owned businesses in Toronto, Ontario. The tech company is offering $100,000 Canadian grants to minority-owned small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Business owners must complete the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Recovery Activation Program to mentor entrepreneurs before applying for the grants. Small business owners can apply for the grant until Jan. 10, 2021, here.
Lyft Grants for Nonprofits
The rideshare company Lyft is giving ride credits ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 to nonprofit organizations. Applicants’ organizations have to serve a local area and meet other criteria. Nonprofit leaders can apply for the Lyft grants here.