Resources for Black Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate List
Are you looking for resources aimed at supporting African-American entrepreneurs? Then look no further.
Starting a business is a labor of love for anybody, starting at any stage in their lives.
However, we’re more than aware that there is still an uneven playing field for African-American and Black owned businesses. Thankfully, change is coming.
According to the Small Business Administration, entrepreneurship within minority groups is increasing. As ecosystem builders, we believe that it’s important to match words to actions around diversity and inclusion and to do what we can to improve the accessibility of entrepreneurship.
To that end, we wanted to present a list of some organizations who are taking proactive steps to support Black entrepreneurs around the country, as well as within specific business niches.
The Founder’s Institute: Ultimate Black American Startup Resource List
As of 2020, only 1% of VC backed tech companies have Black or African-American founders.
To help counter this, The Founder’s Institute has created an open-source and collaborative Google Doc of accelerators, incubators, investors, and more – all of whom explicitly work with Black-owned founders.
Funding for Black American Entrepreneurs
1. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
The NASE growth grants program accepts ongoing applications for grants of up to $4,000. Membership to NASE is required, but their funding is designed to help across all aspects of setting up a business, from technology to hiring and marketing.
2. Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined
Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined is US Black Chambers Community Economic Development Corporation funded program for those aged between 18 and 35 who have an innovative idea for a business, and less than $10,000 in capital and/or revenue.
3. Accion International
Accion International has been providing financing for minority and disadvantaged groups since the 1960s. It’s a non-profit microlender that can provide financial assistance as well as advice, investing, and partnership services.
Development Assistance for African-American Businesses
1. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
The MBDA is the only agency dedicated to minority businesses and assisting their growth. It gives access to financing resources, as well as funding opportunities. However, it doesn’t offer grants to business owners or individuals.
Part of the MBDA’s commitment to encouraging black entrepreneurs is its workshop series for minority-owned businesses, the Capital Pathways program.
2. 8(a) Business Development Program
From financial assistance to access to capital, the 8(a) Business Development Program promotes businesses owned by minority individuals.
In order to be eligible, your company must be at least 51% owned by a US citizen who has been placed at an economic disadvantage due to race or ethnicity.
3. Small Business Empowerment Program
This 12-week training program is hosted by Operation Hope. It is designed for entrepreneurs and business owners who come from low-income neighborhoods, and provides training and resources as well as access to a vast range of small business loans.
4. National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council is focused on increasing the business opportunities and prospects of minority-owned businesses. The NMSDC also runs and operates the Business Consortium Fund, which is a not-for-profit development program offering financing and business advice to members of the council.
CATAPULT is a partnership between Capital One and the NMSDC. A seven-month program offers business development assistance to help train business owners in creating new businesses, products, and services.
6. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program
The Department of Transportation has the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, which helps to provide socially and economically disadvantaged small business owners compete for federally funded transportation contracts.
7. MWBE Consulting Group
Founded by Capalino+Company, the MWBE Consulting Group is aimed at helping minority-owned businesses secure government contracts in NYC. The aim is to ensure that businesses know city regulations and how to comply with them in order to achieve government contracts.
To be eligible, you must be certified as a minority-owned business. Find out more about how to qualify for certification here.
8. National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)
The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) provides both education and economic growth opportunities to its members.
The MBMBAA runs a year-round program of events to help introduce members to training, topics, ideas, and useful information. Membership is required to take advantage of the training opportunities.
There are 39 local chapters of the NBMBAA, with 280 Partners and 14000 members. Find out more about how to achieve membership here.
9. National Minority Business Council (NMBC)
The NMBC was founded in 1972 and is dedicated to providing opportunities, training, education, purchasing listings, and related services to hundreds of businesses around the country.
A full-service non-profit (501)(c)(3) corporation, the NMBC offers international trade programs, entrepreneurial boot camps, and executive management programs. Find out more about their offerings here.
10. Black Founders
If your business is based within the tech sector, then the non-profit organization Black Founders can help. A non-profit organization, Black Founders seeks to increase the number of successful African-American entrepreneurs working in tech through networking events, workshops, conferences, and hackathons.
Resources for Black Women Business Owners
When it comes to assisting the specific issues faced by African-American women entrepreneurs, there are a couple of organizations who work specifically to help your businesses to succeed.
1. Black Women Connect
Black Women Connect is a peer-run community and social network for Black women trying to build their businesses and develop their entrepreneurial spirit. It facilitates connections for jobs, business building, and networking among likeminded Black women.
2. Black Women Enterprises (BWE)
Through workshops, membership meetings, networking sessions, and business counseling, the BWE aims to remove the barriers that stop black women business owners from getting a foothold in private sector and government procurement.
BWE is mainly focused on African-American women business owners in the New York area who are members. However, membership is free.
We have a long way to go until there is an equal playing field for black entrepreneurs, but these organizations are all trailblazers in their own rights.