The Best Resources for Minority Small Business Owners
Minority-owned businesses have been driving growth among U.S. businesses in recent years. Nationwide, more than 29 percent of all businesses are owned by minorities, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.
While this is true, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) reveals that only 11 percent of minority-owned businesses have paid employees. According to its study, some of the unique challenges faced by minority business owners involve access to capital, large contract sizes, network access and marketplace inequalities.
Having the right tools and resources to help your business succeed is crucial. Keep reading to learn how to find them.
Resources to launch your business
Here are some of the best resources for minority small business owners when it comes to launching, funding and growing your business.
National Minority Supplier Development Council
The NMSDC is a corporate membership corporation with 23 regional councils nationwide. Its main purpose is to connect other businesses with diversified suppliers. If you’re thinking about getting a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification, you’ll want to consider becoming a member, as you can gain the connections and leads you need to launch your business successfully and to start getting clients.
The council also offers ongoing educational resources for MBEs and scholarship funding opportunities to complete those different programs.
U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency
The MBDA is a top resource that minority small business owners should be taking advantage of.
The agency works throughout the U.S. to connect minority-owned businesses with capital, contracts and the materials they need to grow. It also assists with the advancement of public and private sector programs by providing research and advocacy.
According to its 2015 report, the MBDA was able to help minority-owned businesses secure contracts valued at nearly $6 million total and create 26,896 jobs as a result.
Operation HOPE Small Business Development Program
Operation HOPE is a community dedicated to empowering lives with financial dignity. Its Small Business Development Program helps aspiring entrepreneurs in underserved communities obtain business training and financial counseling.
This 12-week training program includes workshops on business development, as well as access to professional services and financial resources to help launch your business.
Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Certification
If you have an MBE in the transportation industry, you may want to participate in the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The program helps businesses increase their participation in state and local transportation projects that are funded by the department through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
State Agencies and Programs
If you’re a minority and thinking about starting a business, there are many state agencies that are available to provide resources and tools to help you.
You can start looking here for local agencies to help you launch your business.
Resources to fund your business
U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers grant and loan opportunities for new and current business owners. It also provides a ton of resources to help educate you on starting a successful business.
The SBA works with some lenders to offer guaranteed loans to some business owners. This means the SBA guarantees up to 85 percent of the loan amount. Business owners can borrow anywhere from $500 to $5.5 million for various different financial needs.
National African American Small Business Loan Fund
The National African American Small Business Loan Fund is a joint effort between JPMorgan Chase and the Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC). Borrowers must be:
- An existing business in operation for more than two years
- 51 percent owned or controlled by one or more African Americans
- Principally managed by one or more African-Americans located in Chicago, Los Angeles or New York
- Have 1 to 200 employees
- Revenue up to $2 million
Loan amounts range from $35,000 to $250,000 with rates up to 6 percent. There is no collateral required for loans under $50,000.
Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined
The Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined program is funded by the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. The program sometimes offers workshops to help minority millennial business owners develop strategies to launch their businesses, but it also provides funding as well.
Minorities who have an emerging business with less than $10,000 in capital and/or revenue are eligible to compete for a $5,000 equity-free investment in their venture through the Young, Gifted and Funded Business Plan and Pitch Competition.
USA.gov provides information on various different government-funded or backed grants and loans for small business owners. Whether you’re looking for state or local assistance or even funding opportunities specifically geared toward minority business owners, you’ll find options here.
Looking for business funding? Learn more about small business loans here.
Resources to grow your business
U.S. Minority Chamber of Commerce
Growing your business is just as important as all of the processes you’ll go through to get started. It’s important to connect with other business owners and potential partners in your niche. Joining the U.S. Minority Chamber of Commerce can help with that.
U.S. Minority Chamber of Commerce members get access to resources like a business center hotline, access to more than 5,000 new business contacts, training opportunities, event discounts, certification and technical assistance and more. Annual memberships start at $995 for small businesses.
SCORE is a nonprofit organization where volunteer business professionals offer mentorship and education to help others grow their business.
It serves all business owners, but also focuses on helping minority business owners succeed. SCORE is a great resource to use if you’re looking for a mentor or workshops and classes to help you grow your business.
SBA 8(a) Business Development Program
The SBA 8(a) Business Development Program seeks to help minority and economically disadvantaged businesses thrive and grow. The program provides one-on-one counseling, training workshops and marketing and tech assistance to minority small business owners whose personal net worth is below $250,000.
Capital One Catapult Program
The Capital One Catapult Program focuses on propelling diverse businesses through digital innovation. The intensive seven-month program allows a select number of business owners to compete to solve a critical business challenge. Applicants must have a business that is diversely owned, has been in business for three or more years and has an annual revenue between $500,000 and $3,000,000.
This is an annual competition geared toward promoting growth among diverse minority businesses. The winning business receives:
- One year of business coaching
- A cash grant to implement the proposed solution
- Branding consultation
- Tuition for an advanced minority supplier education program
- Registration to the next Annual NMSDC Conference
The bottom line
If you’re a minority business owner, you don’t have to overcome every obstacle on your own. There are plenty of resources to help you launch, fund and grow your business while making an impact on others.
The variety of quality resources currently available can only help minority-owned small business stats increase, especially as new organizations and programs are developed.