Four Programs That Make Access to Capital More Inclusive

It’s no secret that a key ingredient to the expansion and growth of a business is access to capital. However, for certain underrepresented groups, this has proven to be a hurdle — making it difficult for minority, woman and veteran entrepreneurs to stay competitive and be successful. According to CNBC, while minorities own about 15 percent of small businesses in the U.S., and women own about 29 percent, it can still be more difficult for these individuals to secure small business financing.

There are several organizations and programs committed to supporting minority-owned businesses. And while there are many types of business financing available, it’s important that your business is prepared to receive the investment (whether loan or grant). Below we’ve profiled four programs that exist within federal, local and nonprofit organizations to help minority businesses successful access capital.

Programs Specifically for Women

Within the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) is dedicated to service women entrepreneurs. The OWBO’s programs include business training and counseling and assistance with accessing credit and capital resources. Each year, OWBO hosts the SBA InnovateHER Challenge, which awards three formidable female entrepreneurs a total of $70,000 in prize money through a nationwide business competition. Through this program, SBA seeks to showcase products or services that fill a need in the market. The SBA also provides an online database for female business owners, helping them find organizations that assist to women on a local level to successfully navigate the business environment.

The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program awards up to 10 grants each year with a minimum grant of $10,000 for each recipient. There are several eligibility criteria, including that businesses be majority-women owned or led, business creates environmental or social change and revenues do not exceed $1 million in year prior to application.

Financing Opportunities for Minority Business Owners

Are you having trouble obtaining a loan from a traditional lender? Take some time to check out the Business Center for New American — an organization that provides financing options to minority business owners. BCNA specifically works with immigrants, refugees, women and other minority entrepreneurs.

Resources for Veterans

The Veterans Business Outreach Program is an OVBD initiative that oversees Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOC) across the country. Within this office, the resources include business counseling, entrepreneurship funds, grants, opportunities to do business with the government and access to innovation labs.

Topic: BIG Update