If you are an entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur, then you know that starting and running a business is no easy feat. For those who haven't started, frustrations can arise from having a great idea and business plan, but not enough money to get it off the ground. For those who have started, it can be a struggle trying to scale your business when funds are limited.
There are various ways in which you can fund your business, but in this article, I will be going over some grants that you should apply for in 2020. Who doesn't love a good grant?! Unlike a loan, it is money you don't have to repay. All you have to do is follow the application process, understand all the qualifications, and apply. Seems easy enough, right? Different grants will have different application requirements, but some general advice is to have a comprehensive business plan ready, make sure your business is registered (if already started), know your WHY, and allow your personality and passion to shine.
In addition to recurrent grants, I have included newly formed grants and relief funds that aim to help small businesses stay afloat during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Again, all of the opportunities listed below are strictly grants/free money & services that you do not have to pay back. I will write a different blog at a later time that highlights small business loans and venture capital opportunities.
COVID-19 GRANTS & RELIEF FUNDS
1. Facebook Small bUSINESS Grant
Facebook is offering $100,000,000 in cash and ad credits to businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries will receive the grant. Applications are not yet open, but will be very soon. Head to the website to read more about eligibility and sign-up to receive updates.
2. Shea Moisture Community Commerce Fund
Shea Moisture recently announced their $1 Million fund to support entrepreneurs of color and small businesses. The fund is broken into three different categories:
- Unsung Business: The first $100,000 of funding will be given to small minority businesses that have been stepping up to support their communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Black Business Relief Fund: Shea Moisture is teaming up with We Buy Black to provide awards up to $100,000 to We Buy Black’s top Black businesses that are in jeopardy of going bankrupt or closing.
-Women of Color E-Lab: The fund will create an e-learning platform for women of color entrepreneurs to continue to gain education, access to resources, mentorship, and advice on how to prepare for the economic downturn.
Applications open APRIL 8TH. Click below to learn more and apply.
3. James Beard Relief Fund
The James Beard Foundation is launching a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need. Applications have not yet opened. Click the link below to find out more.
4. Alice COVID-19 Emergency Grant
Alice is an information technology company that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners launch and grow their companies. Right now, they're offering $10,000 grants to small business owners impacted by coronavirus. Once your application has been approved, funds will be distributed immediately. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community. Click below to apply.
Grants for minority business owners
1. Essence "Your legacy" grant
ESSENCE has partnered with Pine-Sol to help you take your business to the next level. They are awarding $100,000 to one lucky recipient. This grant is only for Black women who own a registered business.
Application deadline is APRIL 15TH
2. Black Girl Ventures
The Black Girl Ventures pitch is a crowdfunding meets pitch competition. At their annual fundraising gala, the audience votes with their dollars via their tech platform to determine the winner. The person with the most votes wins. Each founder has 3 minutes to pitch and a 3 minute Q&A from the audience. The audience votes using the SheRaise platform and the winners are chosen. There is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner, and they receive funds collected from the audience, as well as other exciting prizes. Click below to learn more and apply.
Corporate Small Business Grants
1. FedEx small business grant
Every year, FedEx awards small businesses with over $200,000 of cash and FedEx services. The application period usually opens in late January and runs until March. This is a grant contest to bookmark and keep your eye on every year! Check out their website to see the breakdown of their prizes and view this year's finalists.
2. Intuit National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Grant
In partnership with Intuit, NASE awards $4000 to small businesses to help them with specific needs. In order to apply, you have to have a membership with NASE ( membership fees are as low as $10/month and go up from there). Click below to find out more about the association and the grant.
3. Visa Everywhere Initiative
The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a global, open innovation program that tasks start-ups and fintechs to solve payment and commerce challenges of tomorrow, further enhance their own product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners. To date, the program has been activated on six continents—touching more than 100 countries. Click below to find out more details.
Application deadline is APRIL 13TH
4. Nav's small business grant
Nav is a business credit monitoring company that runs a small business grant competition. The reward helps entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. The first place price is $10,000, second place prize is $2000, and third place prize is $1000. Click the link below to apply.
Applications close May 30th.
5. Kuvio Creative Grant
Kuvio Creative is a full-service web design and development company that wants to give back to those making a difference by providing them with free services. Their services include website & app development, website & app design, marketing, and branding. Two recipients will receive 80 hours of services and a 3 hour per month retainer for upkeep for 1 year after the project is complete.
Applications OPEN May 15th. Click below to sign up for alerts.
6. The Halstead Grant
Halstead is a full service jewelry supply firm that caters to both large and small studios in the jewelry industry. The grant program is designed to help jewelry entrepreneurs create a strategy to grow their business. The grant is given to emerging silver jewelry artists, with a grand prize of $7500 cash and other benefits. Click below to learn more and apply.
Application deadline is AUGUST 1st.
7. The Zach Grant
The Zach Grant was started by Fundera, a business that provides advice and comparison technology to help business owners easily identify their best-fit financial products and, ultimately, make better business decisions. Fundera will award $2,500 for the best video entry answering the question, "Why did you start your own business?" Click below to find out how to apply.
Application deadline is January 1, 2021
Grants for women
1. Cartier Women's initiative
The Cartier Women's Initiative is looking for committed women entrepreneurs heading businesses with the potential to grow significantly in the years to come. Businesses led by women entrepreneurs, in the initial stages of their development & growth operating in any country and industry are welcome to apply. The initiative rewards 14 finalists with $30,000 each and 7 laureates with $100,000 each, as well as ongoing support for the further growth and development of their business.
Click below to learn more about the initiative.
2. Eileen Fisher Grant
The Eileen Fisher Grant program has funded over 70 women-owned and women-led businesses that use their products and services, including clothing, beekeeping and electronics recycling, to create a positive impact on people and the planet. Every year, they give $100,000 to up to 10 recipients. Click below to read about their impact and application process.
3. Girlboss foundation grant
Girlboss is a platform that provides millennial women with the tools and connections they need to own their futures. The Girlboss Foundation has a semi-annual grant awarded to female entrepreneurs pursuing creative endeavors. Each grant beneficiary will receive $15,000 in project funding, plus exposure through the Girlboss platform and community. The winner will also receive two tickets to the upcoming Girlboss Rally. Click below to become a part of the Girlboss community.
The next application cycle opens June 1st.
4. Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation has a fellows program designed for women entrepreneurs that provides them with the community of support they need to connect, learn, and grow their business. Fellows receive a trip to the Tory Burch offices, a 1-year fellowship, a $5000 grant, and an opportunity to pitch their business to a select panel.
Applications will open up in the fall. Click below to read more about the application process and sign up to receive updates.
5. Woman Made Funding Challenge
WomanMade is a PepsiCo initiative committed to advancing female-founded businesses in the food and beverage industry. The WomanMade Community gives you access to resources, mentorship and support for your business. The first place winner receives $50,000, second place receives $30,000, and third place receives $20,000. Click below to read about the other prizes and the application process.
6. Business For All Grant
The Business For All grant is powered by Alice, an information technology company that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners launch and grow their companies. The Business for All movement is committed to elevating the voice of small business in the U.S. The grant program awards $250,000 to multiple small businesses in various industries. Click below to find out more info.
Applications close September 25th.
7. AMBER GRANT
The Amber Grant was launched in 1998, by WomensNet, to honor the memory of a young woman, Amber Wigdahl, who died at the age of 19 – unable to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams. Every month they award $2000 to a woman-owned business and at the end of the year they award an additional $25,000 to a past recipient. This year, the monthly amount has increased to $4000. There is a fee of $15 to submit an application. Click below to apply and learn more.
8. Idea Cafe
The Idea Cafe gives women $1000 grants to help grow their small business. The application is open to men, however, the recipients are primarily women. Click below to learn more.
Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment below with other GRANTS that you know of. Sharing opportunites is how we move forward as a community!
Until next time,