Intro to Small Business Grants for New Black Entrepreneurs

By Imani Williams

 You started your small business. And you’re committed to its growth. It was a bold choice, filled with excitement, challenges, and countless opportunities. Of course, there is a unique set of challenges for black entrepreneurs. But there are also unique opportunities in our favor!

Small business grants, can provide crucial funding and support to take your business to the next level! 

We know you want to make an impact and create a lasting legacy with your business and we want to support you all the way. So if you're a new Black small business owner looking to secure a grant, here's a guide to help navigate the process.


What is a Small Business Grant?

Small business grants are financial awards given to entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them start, grow, or sustain their ventures. These grants are like lifelines for many budding entrepreneurs, offering financial assistance and access to resources and networks crucial for success. 

Particularly for Black entrepreneurs, these grants play a pivotal role in bridging the gap in access to capital and opportunities. In a landscape where funding disparities persist, small business grants can help even out the playing field and make success and innovation more accessible.

So how do you tap into this? Here are some tips to help you secure a small business grant!



1. Define Your Purpose and Goals

Before diving into the world of grants, take the time to clearly define your business's purpose and goals. What problem are you solving? Who is your target audience? What are their specific pain points and challenges? And how will your business be the solution? A solid understanding of your business will help you identify relevant grants and craft compelling applications.


2. Research Grant Opportunities

Grants come from various sources, including government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and non-profit organizations. Conduct thorough research to identify grants that align with your business sector, location, and objectives. 

Be sure to check your local government websites in addition to the grant opportunities listed here!

Each grant has specific eligibility criteria that you must meet to qualify. These requirements may include factors such as business size, industry focus, location, minority status, and revenue. 

Carefully review the eligibility criteria for each grant opportunity to ensure your business qualifies before investing time in the application process.


NAACP Grants

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909. Their mission is to ensure the political and educational equality of black citizens of the US. 

The NAACP stands firmly behind Black entrepreneurs, collaborating with multiple organizations and actively working to offer grants tailored to support and uplift Black-owned businesses. Check-in with them regularly to see grant opportunities and stay up to date with application deadlines.


Wish Local Empowerment Grant

Black-owned businesses can seek grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 through the Wish Local Empowerment Grant program. Eligibility requires applicants to be at least 18 years of age, operate with a staff of 20 or fewer individuals, maintain an annual average revenue below $1 million, and possess a physical storefront within the United States. Applications are continually accepted on a rolling basis, ensuring accessibility and flexibility for interested candidates.


HerRise Microgrant

In its eighth year, the Yva Jourdan Foundation and HerSuite Spot continue to provide monthly $1,000 HerRise micro-grants to women of color entrepreneurs. To qualify, businesses must be majority-owned (at least 51%) by women of color and registered as for-profit entities in the United States. Submission deadlines for applications fall on the last day of every month, ensuring a consistent opportunity for eligible candidates.


CCWC Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant

The Corporate Counsel Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant bestows five grants worth $2,500 each to women of color-owned businesses. Eligible businesses must have been founded on or before January 1, 2020, and have accrued over $25,000 in total revenue. Applications for the 2024 grants are presently open and will be reviewed continuously on a rolling basis.


BGV Pitch Competition

Hosted by Black Girl Ventures, this pitch competition welcomes female business owners from underrepresented backgrounds. The top prize grants $15,000 to the first-place winner, with $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place. For the 2024 cycle, applications are being accepted from businesses based in Chicago (deadline: June 14), NYC (deadline: Oct. 9), and Los Angeles (deadline: Nov. 6)., a website managed by the federal government, serves as a platform for over 1,000 funding opportunities, catering to small and minority-owned businesses among others. These grants originate from federal entities such as the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Upon registration, users gain access to a comprehensive database, enabling them to explore and identify grants that align closely with their business objectives.



3. Prepare Your Application

Start prepping by gathering all necessary documentation required for grant applications. These include business plans, financial statements, tax returns, resumes, and other relevant materials. Make sure your documents are accurate, up-to-date, and well-organized to streamline the application process.

Next, your proposal! Your grant proposal is your opportunity to make a compelling case for why your business deserves funding. Tailor your proposal to each grant opportunity, highlighting how your business aligns with the grantor's mission and objectives. 

Be concise, persuasive, and transparent in your proposal, addressing key areas such as your business model, impact, sustainability, and budget.

If you're unfamiliar with the grant application process or need assistance crafting your proposal, consider seeking guidance from professional consultants, mentors, or organizations that specialize in supporting small businesses, particularly those owned by minorities.


 4. After Submitting Your Application…

Once your application is complete, submit it according to the grantor's instructions and deadlines. After submission, follow up periodically to inquire about the status of your application and address any additional questions or requirements.

Grant funding is competitive, and rejection is a common experience for many applicants. If your application is not successful, don't be discouraged.

Take the opportunity to seek feedback, learn from the experience, and refine your approach for future applications. Persistence and resilience are key attributes of successful entrepreneurs.


While grants can provide valuable funding, they are just one of many financing options available to small business owners.

Explore alternative funding sources such as loans, crowdfunding, investment partnerships, and business competitions to diversify your funding strategy. Click here for the Top 10 Strategies to Raise Capital for Your Business!

As you navigate the journey of entrepreneurship and secure funding for your business, remember to pay it forward by supporting and uplifting fellow Black entrepreneurs.

Share your knowledge, resources, and experiences to help build a stronger and more inclusive business community.


Securing a small business grant as a new Black entrepreneur requires dedication, perseverance, and strategic planning. By following these steps and leveraging available resources, you can increase your chances of obtaining the funding needed to fuel your business's success.

Dream big, stay focused, and believe in the power of your vision to create positive change in your community and beyond.

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