Useful Business Resources

Learn more about some of the resources available for Small and Minority Owned Businesses to help business owners operate their business more efficiently and scale, especially amid the pandemic.

Fast Break for Small Business

Black-owned and diverse businesses can seek grant funding through the Fast Break for Small Business program, which is sponsored by LegalZoom as well as the NBA, WNBA and NBA. The program aims to distribute grants to more than 5,000 small businesses for a total of $6 million in cash awards. Grants come in $10,000 increments, and winners will also receive $500 in LegalZoom services.

The next round of grant applications opens in the spring of 2022. You can sign up online for updates regarding future funding opportunities.

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First Nations Development Institute Grants

Since 1993, First Nations has been offering grants to help support Native American organizations and projects, totaling $51.6 million in grants, along with technical resources.

Past grant opportunities include programs for Covid-19 response, native youth and culture support, college scholarships and a native youth business plan competition, among others. Visit the First Nations website to learn more about new grant opportunities when they become available.

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National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge

If you have an idea for a Black-owned startup that is scalable, it might benefit you to research the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Scale-Up Pitch Challenge. NBMBAA designed a competition to “Make Big Ideas Bigger.” The competition aims to give eligible startups the opportunity to connect with venture capitalists and other early-stage investors.

NBMBAA’s judges will also select three finalists to receive cash awards. The grand prize is a small business grant worth $50,000.

When the application process is live, eligible businesses can make a virtual pitch to a panel of judges by sharing their business idea. Finalists will later have the chance to make a live, three-minute pitch to the judges explaining why their product or service should be considered for the grant.

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FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Many small businesses have struggled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In response to the crisis, FedEx created the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. For the year 2022, 10 small businesses (defined as having less than 100 employees) will receive one of the following grant award packages.

  • Grand Prize: Three winners will receive a $50,000 grant, $4,000 in FedEx Office credits (for business and print services) and more.
  • First Place: Seven winners will receive a $20,000 grant, $1,500 in FedEx Office credits and more.

Eligible businesses can create a FedEx account and enter the 2022 grant contest until February 28, 2022. The voting period and when FedEx announces the top 100 winners runs from March 22-31, 2022. The final winners are announced May 4, 2022.

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The Indiana Small Business Development Center

The Indiana SBDC is committed to creating positive and measurable impact on the formation, growth, and sustainability of Indiana’s small businesses by providing entrepreneurs expert guidance and a comprehensive network of resources.

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The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grants Program

The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grants Program allows business owners to apply for a grant useful for financing a particular small business need. Past recipients used their grant for computers, farm equipment, to hire part-time help, marketing materials and more.

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Through the site, business owners can view over 1,000 federal grant programs, conduct an in-depth search, learn about the application process and ultimately apply.

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Accion is a nonprofit organization that provides loans, access to resources and connections to diverse business owners and entrepreneurs. Its application for minority-owned business loans is available on its site.

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The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that aims to assist minority-owned businesses across the country.

It provides a number of grants and loans for minority-owned firms, including: the Entrepreneurship Education Program for Formerly Incarcerated Persons Grant, the Enterprising Women of Color Grant and the Minority Business Enterprise Inner City Innovation Hub Grant.

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Foundation for Business Equity (FBE)

The Foundation for Business Equity’s Business Equity Initiative supports and provides funding for Black and Latinx business owners.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the FBE created a “response strategy team” to advise these businesses and created a “Covid-19 emergency fund” aimed to provide flexible loans and crisis response support teams to Massachusetts-based Black and Latinx businesses with revenues of at least $250,000.

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The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a non-profit organization that aims to revitalize communities in need through its programs. It supports Black- and minority-owned businesses across the country through its Small Business Relief grant program, which will open for applications on August 31.

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The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is a non-profit corporate membership organization that supports minority-owned businesses. The NMSDC has a grant program called the Business Consortium Fund, which is intended to support certified minority-owned businesses.

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Backstage Capital

Backstage Capital is a venture capital fund that invests in women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. Its Entrepreneur Investment applications are viewed on a rolling basis.

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The Coalition to Back Black Businesses

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a partnership of several brands that have come together with the goal of empowering Black-owned businesses.

The Coalition is supplying $14 million in minority grants, resources and training over a span of four years through 2023 that is meant to help small businesses recover from pandemic-related setbacks. The Coalition includes American Express, ADP, AIG Foundation, Altice USA, Dow and the S&P Global Foundation.

Select businesses will qualify for grants in the amount of $5,000 each fall, in combination with training and mentorship benefits. When the summer arrives, a few initial grant recipients will receive additional $25,000 enhancement grants as a means of additional funding and support.

Eligible businesses must be Black-owned enterprises located in economically distressed communities. You can apply on the Coalition’s website in the fall when the application process opens. The grant committee will select 400 or more eligible applicants at random to receive cash awards and other benefits.

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