Small Business Grants For Minority Business Owners

Setting up a business from the scratch can be a tough choice for enthusiastic entrepreneurs, especially if they fall in the minority section. Arranging for the funds and dealing with the expenses can be risky and daunting. The government has thus, initiated varied assistance programs for the minorities interested in small businesses, assisting and boosting them for their endeavor.

There are numerous plans, programs, monetary funding and aid for you under the Federal Assistance for Minorities’ Small Businesses. Go through the list and apply today to accomplish your dreams of having an independent career.

Financial Assistance for Minorities’ Small Business Owners

Firms and business owned by the minorities are offered financial aid in the form of loans, grants, counseling, assistance and training to help them run, expand and compete in the federal marketplace. The aid programs for enthusiastic minority business owners are listed below:

SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

The Business Development program helps firms to qualify by providing training workshops, counseling and technical and management guidance. The program also helps these businesses to compete in the federal marketplace by providing opportunities in the government contract space.

For program qualification some minority groups have already been categorized as economically and socially disadvantaged. These groups include:

• Native Americans

• African Americans

• Subcontinent Asian Americans

• Hispanic Americans and

• Asian pacific Americans

Apart from these groups, other individuals can also be considered for the program if they can provide substantial documentation and evidence suggesting racial discrimination and economic disadvantage.

SBA supports the certified firms by providing business development assistance. It also provides a Mentor-Protégé program which pairs the mentor firms with protégé firms so that mentor firms can provide assistance.

Small Business Administration’s Minority Owned Program

The SBA’s Minority Owned Program offers varied federal resources for the success and growth of your business. It helps in the initiation, financing for the startup, strategically developing and then the overall growth of business.

SBA’s HubZone Program

The program is engaged in promoting for the economic development and growth of underdeveloped areas through the expansion of small businesses in these specific sectors. It encourages in attaining more of federal opportunities and support if your business in located in these distressed areas.

Business Loans

Eligible women business owners, recognized by the government, can receive low-interest loans by SBA, provided they belong to the minority section. The loans are attainable even with bad credit history report and can be repaid after a long duration of time. Enthusiastic minority women can now avail the financial assistance for their startups.

USDA Grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers funding to grantees up to $150,000 in rural sectors through the Rural Business Opportunity Grant. The funds facilitate in providing technical and training assistance to nonprofit corporations and cooperatives for their business development and growth.

Georgia-Pacific Grant

The program, initiated in 1927, helps minorities’ small businesses to set off and expand eventually through the funding program. The grant program usually funds business plans, ventures or projects for entrepreneurship that benefits the lives of the community. Minority business owners with these criteria qualify for this program.

Amber Foundation Grant

The program is targeted towards women entrepreneurs seeking to venture into the business world and accomplish their dreams. Commenced in 1998, the program offers funds to commemorate the death of a 19 year old woman who could not fulfill her aspirations. Amounts ranging from $500 to $1,500 are granted to women from different cultural groups to cover the expenses of starting and setting up a business.

In addition to small business startup grants, minority business owners can also look for assistance from their individual state governments, nonprofit organizations and government accredited agencies to kick-start their business. Make the endeavor with the finances available for a successful venture.

Business Grants For Women

I started researching business grants for women when I decided to start a small home based business in late 2008. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to create a steady income so I wanted to know what my options were.

I found that most government grants, as well as those funded by non-profits that are tagged as being for women, are often made available only as part of a need to reach an underserved population (like the disabled, minority serving institutions, etc.). For example, when “women” is used as the search term on grants.gov ( a great place to find a full list of government grants) the grant titles in the search results rarely have to do with women or business. If women are mentioned specifically, it’s usually for a study related to pregnancy.

Further digging revealed that different counties and cities may offer grants to locally owned businesses, without regard to ownership, that have some payback in terms of economic development. These funds become available fairly randomly, and usually carry some expectation about the improvement of “Main Street.”

I learned that the Small Business Administration hasn’t had any start up grant programs for women since the 1980’s.

It soon became apparent that “women business grants”  were usually specially packaged and marketed loans for “for profit” initiatives.

After just a few phone calls, I learned about several local resources for entrepreneurs that could not only help me make my way through all the funding options, but would also help me grow my business, provide me with a mentor, and connect me with other small businesses who might  need my services. Wow, I thought. Maybe all that would get me to a place where I could be self sufficient and wouldn’t need “free money,” much less borrow it. Here are some of the national and local resources I found that offer advice, resources and expertise, all for free:

The Government funded Small Businsess Administration (SBA), is not a funding source for grants, but does a tremendous amount of financial assistance through a variety of loan programs, including loan guarantees with participating lenders and micro loans. We have several locations in the Kansas City area.

The SBA created the Women’s Business Centers specifically for female entrepreneurs. They also are not a funding source, but do provide advice on business planning, financial needs assessment, and information on the different kinds of funding available in the local marketplace. In my town, we have two Centers.

SCORE – The Service Corps of Retired Executives is a national organization with many local offices that matches industry experts with startups. The mentors are matched with an entrepreneur in their area of expertise.

KCsourcelink.com is a local non-profit business resource center. It currently being used as a model for a number of national networking organizations.

The Business Information Center, also affiliated with the SBA, is another resource for people trying to build a business. They provide over 200 sample business plans and information on dispelling myths of funding.

Women In Business – Do It For Yourself Or Climb The Corporate Ladder?

Recent trends suggest that women account for the next biggest trend in business start-ups as well as representing a significant percentage of the mainstream business sector workforce. More and more women are choosing to turn their backs on corporate life and go alone. It is not entirely clear whether this is a drive to move away from the constraints and disappointments of being an employee or a direct result of a need to become their own boss.

From a personal perspective I believe the answer is a mixture of the two perspectives but also encompasses other aspects like a desire for an enhanced work life balance, greater flexibility of work and increased personal autonomy, fulfillment and job satisfaction and respect. Whilst the world of work has changed significantly over the years with the introduction of more family friendly policies and a larger proportion of part-time flexible work there are still many problems. It is well recognised that you have to be a consistently good performer to get greater flexibility and lifestyle choice as an employee. Essentially you get leverage when you become indispensable to your company but in doing so you have had to make sacrifices in terms of time with the family.

This is hardly clever and arguably sets women up to fail in terms of their remit at home. Many part-time roles in existence are poorly paid reinforcing the pay inequality gap between men and women. Despite many initiatives to promote women to main board positions there has been little movement over the last decade reaffirming the clear existence of the glass ceiling. Smart accomplished women are no longer talking about climbing the corporate ladder.

For years this was seen as the clear path to success for all employees and women bought into that belief. The female baby boomer generation aspired to be and have what their mothers could not and they sought freedom from the shackles of the home in business and professional life. These social changes have given rise to a highly educated, accomplished and independently wealthy group of women who have significant clout as consumers and opinion formers in their own right. Many studies have highlighted the significant differences of the sexes when leading and motivating others.

It is generally well accepted that men are more overtly competitive, take more risks and don’t hold back on self promotion. Women by comparison are the relationship builders, with highly developed empathy and intuitive qualities. They will be more cautious to risk-taking and can often get over looked in promotion terms because they fail to find their voice, push themselves forward, hoping instead, to be recognised for their hard work and efforts. Without a strong mentor and sponsor it is easy to see how women end up feeling over-worked, over stressed and under-valued.

There are many exceptions to this rule and notable examples of high profile women who have managed to break through to the top. The interesting factor here is that most of them have had to mimic male traits and conform to the dominant culture to get on, compromising their feminine traits and arguably their overall happiness and well-being. Many women do not want to become male clones.

Many conclude that it is just not worth the effort or the struggle and they choose to leave for a job that allows them to be more of who they want to be or increasingly with a vision to start their own business. Becoming your own boss enables;

  • Greater flexibility to juggle work and home responsibilities without the guilt trip especially important for working mums. This is very evident within the sphere of home based businesses and online business opportunities which are exploding due to the growth of social media. This plays to women’s core relationship building capabilities.
  • The chance to increase your overall earnings with no cap whilst minimising child-care and ancillary costs of being away from the home.
  • The opportunity to be truly authentic and play to your strengths.
  • The chance to grow and evolve and ultimately increase your overall job satisfaction as work becomes more meaningful to your values and purpose.
  • The chance to really make a difference as you become the employer and grow new talent.
  • To lead your way and to enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with this.

There is now a prolific amount of women’s networks that support aspiring female entrepreneurs and provide collaborative ventures, sponsorship and mentoring that makes the transitionary step to self employment easier than ever before. Ironically there has never been a greater time of need for women to step into their power within the workplace.

Recent economic chaos and the break-up of out-dated power structures and models only serve to reinforce the need for a more feminine leadership style to begin to really transform businesses. One thing is clear though, companies need to rethink how they bring about the much needed work life balance for all their employees, males and females alike if they are to reduce executive burnout.