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Grants for diverse small business owners

Here are some grant opportunities for diverse, veteran, or woman-owned businesses.

Published: December 23, 2015
Updated: February 07, 2017

Whether you're a diverse business owner just starting out or have already built a successful company, consider seeking a grant to fuel your growth.

Many foundations and investors offer grants specifically for minority, women, and veteran, disabled-owned businesses. And unlike loans, grants typically don't need to be repaid.

Understanding grants for diverse small business owners

Grants are highly competitive, so it can be challenging to secure them — even those specifically intended for diverse business owners. Keep in mind these details to help improve your chances:

Grant applications usually require lengthy proposals: Each grant application has its own requirements, but in general, you'll need to provide a detailed business plan and extensive information about your finances, employee numbers, and ideas for future growth.

There is no normal size for a grant: Business grants come in all sizes. While some aim to provide the funding a business needs to get an idea off the ground, others are meant to help with long-term goals. They can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Look locally: Some of the best grants are targeted toward business owners in a specific city, state, or other community, as organizations like to support local entrepreneurs. Consider what may be available right in your hometown.

Finding grants for diverse small business owners

The Internet is the best resource for finding grants to diverse small business owners. Many grant search websites have filters for business type, geographical location, minority status, and more, making it easy to narrow your list. Grants.gov, BusinessUSA, GrantWatch and the Ford Foundation are great places to start your research.

Or consider these three top grants for diverse business owners:

1. For minorities

Miller Lite launched the Tap the Future® Business Plan Competition to help promote diverse business owners and entrepreneurship in urban communities. The competition has three phases — business plan submissions, semifinals, and national finals — and the grant recipient can be awarded more than $200,000.

2. For veterans

The International Franchise Association's IFA Educational Foundation and the PepsiCo Foundation teamed up to support the IFA's Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran) and assist the program's veterans with business grants. The VetFran Business Grant Fund, which offers grants of up to $10,000, gives veteran franchise owners the financial help they need for technical assistance, education, training, and business development.

3. For women

The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program was founded to empower female entrepreneurs working for environmental and social change. The program awards a minimum grant of $12,000 to up to 10 women, and it invites recipients to join in a two-day learning experience with the Eileen Fisher community.

If you're a minority, veteran, and/or women-owned business, learn more about the Small Business Diverse Segments Lending Study sponsored by Wells Fargo to gain insight into the financial needs of diverse-owned small businesses.

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