Business grants for minorities are one of the better-funded segments of the grant community. Many private grantors, non-profits and the Federal government all provide grant opportunities for minority-owned businesses.
Typically, Federal minority business grants are not listed with that wording; that is, you can’t use “minority business grants” as a search term. The minority preference will be listed as one of the groups eligible to receive application forms or funding under a grant heading. Think first about your business model. If your firm manufactures medical devices, check under both the Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Health websites, and then go to the eligibility sections to see if there is a set-aside for minority funding.
Information on grants of this type can often be found on the U.S. Department of Commerce website. One of the blog entries (http://www.mbda.gov/blog) gives insight into the logic driving these grants:
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is one of eleven awardees in a Small Business Teaming Pilot Program designed to help small businesses work together to compete for federal contracts, grow, and create jobs….”
Minority business grant funding should not be confused with low-interest loans from the Federal government. One of the interesting things about the example above is that it is a grant from what is typically the U.S. government small business lending agency, the Small Business Administration (SBA). This example also illustrates that one of the criteria that will drive a grant award. The government is looking for a program that will have wide reaching, replicable and sustainable benefits for the eventual grant beneficiaries.
Minority business grant information is often available from private foundations, particularly those already grounded in service to minority populations. If there is a local chapter of an organization in your area, contact the community outreach person and request assistance in finding business grants for minorities. Another resource could be your local Chamber of Commerce. There are grant writers who specialize in specific areas, such as SBIR/STTR or manufacturing assistance grants.