Looking for the best minority small business grants to power your next venture? Here is a list of the best grants for minority small businesses in 2021.

SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

Best for Small Businesses Seeking Government Contracts.

The SBA 8(a) program is a nine-year development undertaking that aims to provide small businesses with a level playing field. This is particularly vital for small businesses competing to get elusive government contracts. According to the SBA, at least 5% of the federal government’s annual contracting budget should go to small businesses, 51% owned and operated by economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs.,

Groups designated as socially disadvantaged include Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Economically disadvantaged small business owners are socially disadvantaged persons who lack the funding and technical know-how to compete in a free enterprise system due to reduced access to credit facilities and capital. The net worth of the said small business owner must be less than $250,000.

Key Features:

  • Small businesses stand to win sole-source contracts awarded to eligible businesses without any competition.
  • Small business owners get access to dedicated professional help when navigating government contracting procedures.
  • Small business owners may form joint ventures with other already established business entities thanks to SBA’s mentor-protégé program. The program aims to further increase the chances of small businesses landing set aside government contracts. The larger established businesses provide protégé small businesses with expert business guidance delivered through a close, personal relationship.
  • Small businesses receive additional technical and management assistance that includes business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development.

The SBA program Essentially aims to provide participating small businesses with the necessary tools and funding they need to make the most out of economic opportunities.

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

Best for Emerging Small Minority-Owned Businesses.

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), is a non-profit organization, and America’s premier resource center for small businesses and micro-enterprises. Although NASE doesn’t exclusively exist to offer minority small business grants, their grant programs focus on small businesses that may be economically disadvantaged. By definition, being economically disadvantaged places most small businesses in a vulnerable/minority position.

The organization is dedicated to driving the continued growth of small enterprises which form a vital segment of the American economy. NASE offers a Growth Grants Program that allows member businesses to apply for grants worth up to $4,000 per grant.  NASE grants may be used for any variety of business purposes that may include

  • Equipment purchases,
  • Staffing, training or
  • Marketing purposes.

NASE grants are offered monthly with applications being reviewed quarterly.

The NASE Growth Grants® program offers small business owners access to capital for specific business needs, without which the business would lack the necessary financing to carry out its operations and meet its goals.

Key Merits:

  • The main advantage of any small business grant is that it is essentially free money. You do not need to repay the sum offered. This makes them an invaluable asset to any small business enterprise. The best part is some grants available may offer larger amounts of money, depending on the ideas proposed.
  • Access to information is incredibly important to any small business. NASE connects small businesses to vast networks of supporting associations and groups. Business owners gain access to tons of resources and information vital to their growth and prosperity.
  • The best part about the NASE growth grants program is that once a small business has been awarded a grant, it is likelier to receive others. Other organizations will view the said small business as a reliable candidate for their grant programs as well.
  • NASE Growth Grants® program helps small businesses grow their credibility: Grants do more than just providing the basic benefits of simple free money but also promote the business owner’s ideas, allowing your work to get noticed. This significantly increases brand visibility.

Small businesses who are members may apply for up to $4,000. Since 2006, when the growth grants program began, NASE has awarded member small businesses more than $650,000 in grants.


Best for Small Minority-Owned Businesses Supporting Development and Management of Government Projects.

Grants.gov does not solely exist to offer minority-owned small business grants, but rather, is a federal portal resource for finding grants applicable to a business’s specific industry. Grants.gov offers small businesses application information, eligibility guidelines, and application deadlines on over 1,000 available small business grants.

Federal government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, NASA, and others offer minority small business grants. Such grants are posted on the Grants.gov site.

Key Benefits and Features include:

  • A key benefit of government grants is that you don’t have to pay back anything. Consider it free money for your small business. This takes the pressure off your shoulders leaving you to focus on other important aspects such as improving the quality of products/services offered and so on. Government agencies willingly take on risks that regular investors or banks simply wouldn’t especially when a small business is just getting off the ground.
  • The small business grants are made available in a wide range of categories such as health, science and technology, commerce, and education. Minority small businesses can use the funds to expand their business operation and generate more income. Additionally, there is no limit to how many grants a single small business can apply.
  • gov additionally provides access to industry-specific resources and mentoring which helps small minority-owned businesses grow and gain traction.

Minority-owned small businesses can narrow the grant search based on the specific category the said small business fits in. Individual eligibility criteria may involve search terms such as African-American, Native American tribal organization, Non-profits, and more.

Operation Hope’s Small-Business Empowerment Program

Best for Community-Based, Small Minority-Owned Businesses.

This small business empowerment program is tailored to aid aspiring entrepreneurs in disadvantaged, low-wealth neighborhoods comprising mostly minority groups. Besides access to funding, the program also combines other aspects such as business training and financial counseling. Participating small enterprises complete a 12-week training program, attend workshops on money management and business financing, and credit.

Business owners are trained in the language of money and get to work in cooperation with Operation HOPE financial wellbeing coaches. The aim being to create established financial mindsets, develop customized action plans for various business operations, raising their credit scores, or buying mortgages. Simply put, the goal is to make small business owners better money managers.

Key Features and Perks include:

  • Every HOPE Inside grant comes with FDIC, U.S. SBA, CFPB, HUD, EITC, consumer credit counseling certification, FEMA applications, and partnerships.  Minority small business owners are often unable to start or grow their enterprises on account of limited access to financial services, poor access to credit facilities, and lack of capital.
  • The empowerment of small minority-owned businesses is a key focus of HOPE’s program that focuses on workshops and an intensive approach to entrepreneurial training. The HOPE program, besides providing funding in the form of grants, also helps small businesses master business basics, create and maintain strong business plans, as well as provide access to resources needed to grow their business.
  • The program includes an 8-week Entrepreneurship Training course; a practical curriculum tailored to empower small business owners with all the tools and skills needed to successfully navigate the path to running a profitable venture. The program combines business training, personal development, access to professional services, and financial counseling in one solid package.
  • HOPE’S 12-week entrepreneurship Training builds on top of the 8-week program by providing additional access to professional services, and financial counseling via partnerships with direct networks of professionals and mentors.

Operation Hope Small-Business Empowerment Program graduates are a class of confident, enlightened business owners ready to offer high-quality products and services across a diverse spectrum of industries and specialties. This delivers an infusion of innovation that ultimately works to the benefit of their local communities and the nation’s economy.

Sephora Accelerate

Best for Small Minority-Owned Businesses in The Beauty and Cosmetics Industry.

The Sephora company is a signatory to the Fifteen Percent Pledge that proposes committing at least 15% of shelf space to minority-owned small businesses. Sephora goes on a step further by providing aspiring business owners access to grants through the Sephora Accelerate program.

Successful applicants go on to complete a six-month program that entails:

  • Two all-expense-paid trips for program events,
  • A hands-on mentoring boot camp.
  • A monetary grant after which the small business may be eligible for additional funding.

Sephora aims to ensure that products created by successful participants are launched in all Sephora stores after completion of the program.

Key Features and Perks.

  • The goal of the Sephora Accelerate program is to provide small minority-owned enterprises with consistent, cohesive in-person and digital resources. Small businesses get the unique opportunity to build lasting networks in the skincare and cosmetics community and its ecosystem. The ultimate perk is an opportunity to launch with the Sephora brand.
  • The Sephora program kick-starts with a hands-on boot camp experience designed to improve your business. In the boot camp, small business owners are aided in structuring their business models, branding, marketing, and growth plans to ensure successful launches with Sephora.
  • Through personalized one-on-one mentoring from industry experts and Sephora staff, small businesses learn how to tackle business hurdles and grow.
  • A monetary grant is made available to successful minority-owned businesses that become automatically eligible for additional funding.

The Sephora Accelerate program is dedicated to empowering a community of innovative, inspirational business leaders in the beauty industry. With an added focus on people of color, Sephora’s 15% pledge aims to ensure their brands are a representation of all races, colors, and ethnicities that make up America.

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