It’s no secret that identifying funding for small businesses can be like finding a needle in a haystack. As entrepreneurs grow their business from side hustle to a sustainable business, additional financing is necessary. Black entrepreneurs are three times as likely to struggle with growth and profitability as a result of lacking financial capital, found the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s recent report, “State of Black Entrepreneurship in America.” However, several private organizations and public agencies have initiated grants and pitch competitions to support Black-owned businesses. Here are four grant programs with upcoming deadlines.
Nav Small Business Grant
If additional funding will help you take your business to its next stage, check out the Nav Small Business Grant. Every quarter, financial tech company Nav launches a simple contest in which you share your business with your social media following. Nav will select the top 200 businesses, which will then be chosen. The winner receives a grant for $10,000 and the runners-up each will receive $5,000. Applications can be found here. Entries will be accepted until Jan. 11, and will be announced in early March.
Black Girl Ventures Pitch Competition
The Black Girl Ventures Pitch Program is not your average pitch competition. The Black Girl Ventures team is taking it to the next level for participants. The organization coaches entrepreneurs in the pitching process and hosts live crowdfunded pitch competitions. At the pitch, each business owner will have three minutes to share their pitch and another three-minute Q&A from the audience. Audience members will vote for participants with funds through the Raisify platform. The entrepreneur with the most votes wins. All participants will have the opportunity to connect with business professionals who can provide additional support. The deadline is Jan. 31, and applications can be found here.
Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant Program
The Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant program will provide small business grants up to $250,000 for entrepreneurs in the Chicago area needing funding necessary to grow their businesses. Larger grants are also being offered up to $5 million. The grants can be used for commercial, mixed-use and industrial projects focused on construction, renovations and other building costs. Business applicants located in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods will receive priority and can apply here. The first-round deadline is Jan. 31.
California Competes Grant Program
The California Competes Grant Program is available to entrepreneurs who want to relocate or grow their business in California. This grant program is open to businesses of any size within any industry or location. Grant awardees will be chosen based on 12 evaluation factors, including the number of full-time employees, importance to the state or region as well as investments already made to the development of the business. Application information is available here. The deadline is Jan. 24.