Caress Dreams Fund Awards Small Business Grants to Women Entrepreneurs of Color

small business grants for startup founders and student entrepreneurs

Getting started is one of the most challenging periods for a small business owner. It’s also the time when many entrepreneurs have access to fewer resources. So small business grants can be especially useful for new and prospective startup founders. This week, two new opportunities for startup business grants were launched, including one specifically for young founders. Read about these grant opportunities and others below.

Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant

Business filing service Incfile is offering grants to support new businesses. The Fresh Start Business Grant is open to those just getting started as well as seasoned entrepreneurs starting new ventures. The contest’s winner will receive $2,500 to put toward startup expenses as well as free formation services from Incfile. Applicants must be at least 21 and reside in the U.S. The process includes an online application, a short video, and a sample business plan. The first deadline for 2022 is June 30, but there are additional rounds ending September 30 and December 31 as well.

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Incfile Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant

In addition, Incfile is also launching a grant program for student entrepreneurs. The Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant will award $2,500 to a high school senior, undergraduate, graduate, or trade school student in the U.S. To qualify, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and an interest in starting a business. Interested students will need to submit an online application, short video, and sample business plan. Then, money goes toward continuing education toward your business goals. The deadlines for 2022 are June 30, September 30, and December 31.

Caress Dreams Fund

The Caress Dreams Fund is an ongoing grant program that supports businesses owned by women of color. Run through the IFundWomen of Color platform, the program includes a $1 million investment from Caress. In addition to grants of $5,000, the program also includes a business accelerator, coaching, creative services, and educational resources. IFundWomen of Color operates multiple rounds each year. Applications for the fall session are open now through July 8.

Nashville and Davidson County Small Business Grant and Loan Program

Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee recently unveiled an $18 million grant and loan program for small businesses. Pathway Lending will administer the funds, which are available through federal American Rescue Plan Act allocations. To qualify, businesses must have a physical address within Davidson County, annual revenue of between $10,000 and $1,000,000, and no more than 50 full-time employees, among other criteria. Applications are available now, and the deadline to apply is July 31.

San Antonio Small Business Grant Program

San Antonio, Texas recently approved a new small business grant program funded through the American Rescue Plan Act. Under the new program, small businesses can apply for between $15,000 and $35,000. Overall, City Council designated $17 million for the program. To qualify, businesses must be able to show a loss of at least 20 percent in gross revenues between 2019 to 2021. The full details, including an application deadline and full criteria, have not yet been determined. But the city hopes to distribute all funds by the end of the year.

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NJ Small Business Fund

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority originally launched the NJ Small Business Fund back in February. The program is still offering grants that cover up to $50,000 or 50 percent of costs for eligible improvement projects. To qualify, businesses must be small businesses or women- or minority-owned companies in New Jersey that own or operate a physical location. Businesses must also be creditworthy and not in default with any state assistance programs. The program is still open and will accept applications on a rolling basis until all funds have been distributed.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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  1. I have tried to create a small business a couple of times. Each time I had no idea what I was doing and no way to fund it. I’m a disabled adult who creates handmade products and for some reason most business professionals feel that these types of businesses do not need or qualify for funding. I’m also a woman and yet I have not found any type of grant available for myself. I’m not a veteran and so I feel that many people just won’t help someone like myself. I seriously need direction and assistance. I am in contact with SCORE now and I’m hoping to speak with them soon. How can I get the assistance I need to succeed?