Top Financial Resources For Minority Business Owners
As a small business owner, you know the importance of cash flow to the stability and growth of your company. Moreover, you likely recognize how difficult it is to apply for and secure loans and other financial assistance when you need it.
According to the Minority Business Development Agency, the number of minority-owned businesses doubled between 2002 and 2012.
Yet, minority business owners experience a higher rate of loan rejection and are approved for smaller loans with more onerous borrowing terms.
If this growth is to be sustained, there needs to be improved access to minority loans and other resources.
Keep reading to learn about the five top financial resources for minority business owners.
Small Business Association
The Small Business Association (SBA) is the go-to source for all small businesses. While not functioning as a lending entity, the SBA’s loan guarantees create an attractive opportunity for lenders. There are no SBA 7(a) loan programs specifically targeting minority-owned businesses, but the SBA 8(a) program was established to strengthen and empower minority business owners.
The mission of the SBA 8(a) program is to help these specific business owners secure government contracts. The means of securing government contracts, a healthy source of capital, is confusing, intimidating, and arduous. It can be particularly challenging for minority business owners that are competing on an uneven playing field. The SBA 8(a) program addresses these inequities.
To qualify, you must fit the SBA definition of a ‘small business’ and at least 51% of your business must be owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. If you are accepted, you receive SBA 8(a) certification that is valid for nine years.
Minority Business Development Agency
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is housed within the US Department of Commerce. Its mission is “to support the growth of minority-owned businesses by building partnerships and collaborations with domestic and international corporate leaders, policymakers, and elected officials.”
The Agency itself does not provide minority loans or grants to launch or expand businesses. Through its network of MBDA Business Centers, minority business owners are linked to contracts, market opportunities, technical assistance, and funding sources such as women’s small business loans.
Earlier this year, the MBDA launched the Minority Business and Technology Initiative, a new collaboration with Amazon Business. The goal of the initiative is to strengthen the ability of minority business owners to engage in global e-commerce.
Participants receive technical and management support to help them maximize the power of the internet to expand their consumer base, particularly in the nine countries where Amazon Business operates.
Many cities have established business development programs for the benefit of minority business owners. The Women/Minority Business Enterprise Program in Tampa has a special program to help minority business owners compete for government contracts. It functions like the SBA Business Development program.
The Dayton Chamber of Commerce hosts a Minority Business Partnership initiative whose goal is to create supply chain opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses.
Participating small businesses are paired with large buying organizations, vastly increasing their purchasing power.
New York City’s Corporate Alliance Program is run out of the state’s Small Business Services office.
It provides mentorship, access to contracting opportunities, and workshops designed to build management and operational skills.
Your local economic development office and Chamber of Commerce can tell you what funding opportunities are available.
Minority Chamber of Commerce
The Minority Chamber of Commerce (MCC) was founded in 2000 to support minority businesses, generate jobs in these communities, and create mechanisms for achieving income parity.
The MCC ensures minority-owned businesses can successfully compete for government contracts in the US, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. It provides technical assistance, mentoring, and management support.
MCC uses its extensive connections with funding organizations, including the US Department of Commerce, World Bank, US Import Export Agency, and USAID to help minority business owners. Participating businesses have immediate access to resources and opportunities. The organization helps minority-owned businesses write winning applications and presentations that secure contracts.
The mission of SCORE is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. It does not provide resources for minority business owners specifically, but as a resource partner of the SBA, it can afford to provide extensive free resources for entrepreneurs.
Through SCORE, minority-owned businesses learn how to prepare so they are more competitive in the lending market. SCORE provides mentoring to help small business owners identify the best small business loan lenders, grants, and seed capital opportunities.
There are online workshops and webinars on a range of topics, including how to start a business, write business plans for loan approvals, conduct strategic planning, and market products and services. Small business owners can access on-demand courses and make use of an extensive online library.
While there is little doubt as to the uneven playing field that minority business owners find themselves facing, there are federal, local, and private-sector initiatives dedicated to reversing this reality.
Ultimately, these exceptional resources for minority business owners help small businesses identify the best funding opportunities and write winning applications.