Minority Business Grants

With unemployment nearing 10% overall, and among minorities reaching up to 22%, an individual may decide the best course of action is to start his or her own business. Entrepreneurs have been doing just this for many years, and now the time has come for minorities, especially, to take a similar direction, and forge ahead to create their own businesses.

Minority business grants are available to Native Americans, African Americans, women, Hispanics, and others classified as minorities in the United States. There are, after all, unparalleled opportunities for the minority business owner to seek and obtain business grants. While it is generally recommended that a current or future minority business owner visit the Small Business Administration (SBA), please note that the SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. There are exceptions to this rule, but the exceptions are for certain industry types. These industry types involve research through two separate programs with stringent requirements. These requirements include: a) meeting all R&D federal objectives and b) must have a high potential for commercialization, if successful. If a minority business owner believes that his or her research may meet these criteria, then researching minority business grants through the SBA is highly recommended.

If, on the other hand, the minority business does not meet these stipulations, yet the owner desires to start a business, a good place to initiate research is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Although this catalog covers more than just minority business grants, it is a compendium of all federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to Americans.

Recognize, as well, that numerous internet sites offer services to minority business owners to assist in obtaining grants. However, as with most on-line services, fees apply. If the site charges, don’t bother with it! As a minority business owner conduct your own research, and learn from the professionals…while the SBA might not provide business grants to a minority small business, it does offer invaluable information to help launch or expand one.

Conduct research for minority business grants at the state level. Review carefully, however. While many states have minority small business divisions, oftentimes grants are not available, only low-interest loans or bond programs.

Another idea…if you are a member of a minority, and seek to redress a social issue, perhaps a good way to do so is by starting a non-profit. This avenue may seem off the beaten track, so to speak, but the returns could be life-changing. Non-profit organizations can, by law, apply for grants at the federal, state, county, and city levels, as well as seeking funds through foundations. Of course, there are many nuances to running a non-profit including adhering to all federal and state laws that regulate it, but again, if the minority business owner hopes to alleviate homelessness, domestic abuse, establish programs for at-risk youths, or any other worthwhile endeavor, this may, in fact, be the course to take. Research this option; it just might be the best one!

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