Out of 46% of Black firms that applied for financing, 39% received none or only a portion of the funding they sought, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Banks. With shortfalls like this, where can you turn if you’re a Black entrepreneur in need of business capital? Here are a few great loans for Black-owned businesses as well as grant opportunities for which you could qualify.
10 of the Best Black-Owned Business Loan Providers
Consider the following providers of funding for Black-owned businesses:
1. Community Development Financial Institutions
There are 1,000 certified community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that can participate in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. This program awards funding to CDFIs to promote the development of minority and low-income communities through access to affordable credit and capital.
CDFIs can be banks, credit unions, loan funds, microloan funds or venture capital firms. Find a CDFI near you to review their available loan programs for Black entrepreneurs.
2. SBA Community Advantage
The Community Advantage program is a pilot loan and business counseling initiative backed by the Small Business Administration. It serves entrepreneurs in underserved communities and was designed with minority, women and veteran entrepreneurs in mind.
Loan amounts are available up to $250,000. Terms extend up to 10 years for working capital loans and 25 years for real estate loans. Interest rates are capped at the prime rate (currently 7.5%) plus 6%. The program is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2024.
3. Minority Business Development Centers
While the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) does not offer small business funding, some of its minority business centers partner with organizations that do. For example, Pennsylvania’s MBDA Business Center is operated through the Enterprise Center Capital Corporation program, which offers microloans and traditional small business loans up to $500,000.
4. Accion Opportunity Fund
Accion is another funding provider offering loans for Black entrepreneurs and other entrepreneurs of color as well as financing for women and low-income business owners. Loans are available from $5,000-$100,000, with interest rates starting at 5.99%
5. NMSDC Business Consortium Fund
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Business Consortium Fund has been in operation since 1987 when it granted its first loan to a chemical distribution company owned by a woman of color. Today, it offers financing to minority business enterprises, with African-Americans making up 68% of approvals.
To qualify, applicants must have earned NMSDC certification and have been in operation for at least 3 years. Two types of funding programs are available: senior loans up to $750,000 with terms up to 5 years and mezzanine debt and equity from $750,000-$2.5 million with terms up to 7 years. Funds can be used for expansion or permanent working capital.
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6. Founders First Capital Partners
This is another option when you’re researching providers offering loans for Black-owned businesses. Founders First Capital Partners offers revenue-based financing to entrepreneurs who are Black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) as well as other minority business owners. Funding is available up to $1 million with an average interest rate of 15%.
7. Kapor Capital
If you’re a tech-driven early stage business seeking small business startup loans for minorities, consider Kapor Capital. This provider is particularly interested in fostering growth in African-American communities, and funding is available across every sector at pre-seed and seed round stages. Currently, 59% of the businesses funded here have a founder who identifies as an underrepresented person of color or a woman.
8. Accompany Capital
Black entrepreneurs who are immigrants or refugees with businesses located in New York City’s 5 boroughs could qualify for a business loan here. Funds are available for starting or expanding business operations. Refinancing programs are also available.
Additionally, Accompany Capital offers training in business, finance, marketing, technology and credit building. Networking opportunities are available as well.
Another place to find Black-business loans is RUNWAY, which provides early-stage funding and support for BIPOC entrepreneurs, prioritizing Black entrepreneurs. To qualify, you must operate in the Bay Area or Northern California (i.e., Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties) or in Massachusetts.
Both 3- and 5- year loans are available at a 4% fixed interest rate. Funding ranges from $2,500-$20,000, with an interest-only period for the first 1.5-2 years.
Completion of a local business incubator or training program, or equivalent experience, or nomination by Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative is required to qualify. Additionally, you must be generating business and have a strong business model and financial plan tested and validated.
UnionBank’s Business Diversity Lending program provides minority loans and lines of credit up to $2.5 million as well as financing for women- and veteran-owned businesses. To be considered, you must have at least 2 years in operation and your sales can’t exceed $20 million. Repayment terms extend to 7 years for loans secured by equipment or a Uniform Commercial Code lien or up to 25 years for real estate.
Alternative Small Business Loans for Black Business Owners
In addition to the above Black-business funding programs, consider these highly accessible alternative financing options:
Grants for Small Black-Owned Businesses
If you prefer funding you do not need to pay back, consider grants for Black entrepreneurs, such as the following:
BOSS Impact Fund
BOSS Impact Fund offers small business grants for women of color. The organization’s goal is to provide funding for more than 500 Black women entrepreneurs over the next 3 years. Awards provide $10,000 in investment funding and a 4-year scholarship in BOSS Business University. Access to 1-year mentorship programs is also available for winners.
Black Girl Ventures
If you run a Black-owned business, grants are available through Black Girl Venture’s live crowdfunding pitch competition. Participants have 3 minutes to pitch and 3 minutes to answer questions from the audience.
Eligible applicants are Black or Brown-identifying women and founders of tech-enabled businesses generating less than $1 million in revenue. Awards include $10,000 for first-place winners, $6,000 for second-place winners and $3,000 for third-place winners.
Additional benefits include:
- Networking opportunities
- Consultation with a lawyer and an accountant
- 1-year membership to Black Girl Ventures’ Connect Incubator
- Discounts or access to platforms, such as HubSpot, Canva and Salesforce
Power Forward Small Business Grant
This African-American business grant is a $1 million partnership between Vistaprint, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and the NAACP. The program awards funds of up to $25,000 on a rolling basis.
Qualified applicants must be Black-owned small businesses with 1-25 employees. Additionally, they must be based and operating in one of the following:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- Select areas of Connecticut
Coalition to Back Black Businesses
Applications for this program offering grants for Black entrepreneurs will begin taking applications in the fall of 2022. Grants of $5,000 with mentorship opportunities are available, as are enhancement grants of $25,000 to the most promising grantees.
Interested Black-owned enterprises in a qualifying industry must employ between 3 and 20 people, be located in an economically vulnerable community and have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
This annual members program has been granting funding for Black-owned businesses since 2017. Available awards include $50,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, $7,500 for third place and $1,000 for the People’s Choice winner. This year’s pitch competition challenge is to create a scalable startup, the tagline being “Make Big Ideas Bigger.”
SoGal Foundation’s Black Founder Startup Grant provides several $10,000 and $5,000 small business grants for Black women of color or nonbinary entrepreneurs. To qualify, you must have a legally registered business, intend to seek investor financing to scale and have the next billion-dollar business idea.
Related: Small Business Grants