Finding grants specifically targeted to African-American women can be challenging. A better way to begin searching for start-up funds is to look for funds targeted to minorities and women. When searching for funds, read through the grant eligibility section to ensure the business meets grant requirements. African-American women can also look at industry-specific grants.
The Amber Grant was started to help women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Every month one winner is given a $500 grant and at the end of the year, one of the twelve winners is awarded an additional $1000. There is also the potential opportunity to get further angel investors and mentors. The application only requires giving a small introduction of your business or idea.
Business Owners’ Idea Café Small Business Grant
A small business is awarded a grant of $1,000 plus advertising opportunities with this grant program. It is open to anyone who currently owns a business in existence for at least six months. There are no entry fees and a complete business plan is not even required.
To locate grants through the federal government, a great place to begin is with their grant database website, Grants.gov. Searches are conducted by category, agency and Recovery Act opportunities. Many of the grants offered to businesses are given to nonprofits helping businesses in their communities and to organizations and companies that do business with the federal government as contractors. Another place African-American women business owners should consider is the federal government’s Minority Business Development Agency, which has local offices around the country and may help business owners find local grant sources.
State and Local Grants
When trying to locate local business grants, African-American women can start with their state’s grant office. These offices have lists of all federal, state and local grant opportunities in the state for everything from housing and education to business. Business owners can locate their state’s office through a link on the U.S. Economic Development Administration website. Many state and local grants are given to companies that will produce jobs and further the economic growth of industries in that state. The state and local governments also have similar grants to those offered by the federal government that they award to companies that can work with the state or local government as contractors. They will also have a list of companies and foundations in the state that are awarding grants targeted at minorities and women.