Women and minorities have traditionally faced barriers to entry when seeking funding for their ventures. However, there are some grant opportunities available to level the playing field. Some opportunities are just for women or founders of color. And some are specific to certain geographic regions. Here are some current opportunities for businesses to consider.
SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant
SoGal has an ongoing grant opportunity for Black women or Black nonbinary entrepreneurs who plan to seek investor funding. The SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant intends to help businesses that are often left behind from other funding opportunities with $10,000 grants. Businesses should be scalable and offer high-impact ideas that have potential to become billion-dollar ventures.
WomensNet Amber Grant
WomensNet offers its Amber Grant each month to honor Amber Wigdahl, a young woman who died at 19 before realizing her entrepreneurial dreams. The program includes grants of at least $30,000 every month. There are also specialized opportunities like marketing grants and two $25,000 Year End Grants. Women business owners can apply to all grants by simply submitting an explanation of their business. Grant winners are announced the 23rd of the following month.
IFundWomen COVID-19 Relief Grants
Online funding platform IFundWomen provides COVID relief to small businesses in the form of grants. The program operates on a rolling basis. So there is no set deadline. They provide microgrants to women-owned businesses affected by the pandemic.
EnrichHER Grant Contest
EnrichHER, the Black woman-owned fintech lender, is currently hosting a $5,000 small business grant contest. The $5,000 grant is open to U.S. businesses owned by women or founders of color. And the winner can use funds to cover various operating expenses. Applications are due by February 3. And a winner will be announced by March 31.
Voodle Visionaries Grant Contest
Video messaging platform Voodle is offering its first-ever founder grant. The contest is open to women, non-binary, and BIPOC founders. To enter, submit a 60-second video about how your company is changing the future of work. The prize is a $10,000 grant and a featured spot in an upcoming podcast campaign. Initial submissions are due February 25. At that point, videos will be displayed on Voodle’s website. And the ten videos with the most views and likes will move to the final round, with a final winner selected by judges on March 31.
Small Business Deals
Fast Break for Small Businesses
LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League partner to provide grants to small businesses twice per year. The program supports businesses in underrepresented communities, specifically those owned by women and minorities. Recipients get $10,000 grants and up to $500 in LegalZoom services. The program recently announced the winners of its winter 2022 round. And the next round will begin accepting applications this spring.
Chicago Founders First Grants
Chicago’s Founders First organization is providing 30 grants to local businesses. The funding pool includes a total of $100,000. And businesses also get access to an accelerator program. The program is open to companies with between two and 20 employees in B2B sectors and revenues between $100,000 and $3 million. And the founder must be Black, indigenous, a person of color, a woman, veteran, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The application period ends February 4.
Connecticut Equity Match Grant Program
Connecticut’s Women’s Business Development Council has partnered with JPMorgan Chase to give $300,000 in grants. The Equity Match Grant Program offers grants of between $2,500 and $10,000 to cover operational costs or expansion opportunities. Since these are matching funds, businesses must provide the other half on their own. The deadline is February 13.
Iowa City Matching Grant Program
Iowa City is offering matching grants to select small businesses in the city. While all small business owners can apply, priority is given to women, individuals with minority status, veterans with service-connected disabilities, and individuals with disabilities. Businesses without employees may qualify for up to $2,000. And those with employees may be eligible for up to $5,000. The deadline to apply is Feb. 4.
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