Our mission at Growthink is to support all entrepreneurs and small business owners regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, economic status and other diverse backgrounds.
We have created this resource, in addition to other resources such as our simple business plan template, to help black business owners and entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge and resources necessary to achieve as much success as possible.
On This Page:
Networking, Support & Advocacy Resources for Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
The first step in starting your business is to find networking resources and other resources for black-owned small businesses to help your business succeed. As a black entrepreneur, there are specific organizations out there that you can use.
A comprehensive list of such organizations is included below.
The Black Upstart educates aspiring black business owners and entrepreneurs on how to start a successful business through a culturally-relevant popup school. The organization focuses on teaching business fundamentals and community building. Their newest initiative, Skillhouse U, is catered specially to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners whose businesses make less than $50,000. Here, students can come together to learn how to build their wealth and assets through courses on monetizing skills and developing sales strategies, seeking investors, handling paperwork, creating financial plans and more.
First Founders is dedicated to helping early-stage entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds successfully launch their startups. Through their accelerator programs, community support and access to educational resources, First Founders is committed to removing any and all barriers to entry for black entrepreneurs and other minority business owners. Their website includes a community portfolio in which you can take a look at the members and their minority- and black-owned businesses.
Melanance provides a space for entrepreneurs of diverse backgrounds to connect and share. Connections are facilitated by their team, with over 2,000 connections made to date. Through Melanance, you can create a profile, select your meeting availability, and then wait to be matched. These matches are specific to business owners and entrepreneurs of color looking to grow their skills and build connections.
HubSpot Community is a platform that provides users with a place to ask questions, find answers and engage with professionals around the world. Through HubSpot, users can directly message each other, participate in virtual events, share meeting links and more. They have a social networking group dedicated to black professionals, Black@INBOUND, that works specifically to connect black business owners and entrepreneurs.
MORTAR strives to create diverse communities by enabling historically marginalized entrepreneurs to access the resources essential to starting and running a successful business. They provide a 15 week course that helps both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners build a business canvas and learn about business management. After completing the program, alumni are able to access new customers and opportunities for additional funding, as well as mentorship networks of business leaders. 87% of MORTAR’s members are people of color, and 67% of alumni are black women.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council creates and advances business opportunities for minority-owned businesses. They provide educational opportunities as well as organize collaborations between corporate members. The National Minority Supplier Council focuses specifically on promoting MBE business opportunities through facilitating (Minority Business Enterprise) MBE-to-MBE partnerships. They successfully do this by matching their 13,000 minority-owned businesses to a vast network of corporate members interested in purchasing their products, services and solutions. Their corporate membership includes several of the largest public and privately-owned companies, as well as healthcare companies, colleges and universities.
Minority Business Development Agency, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is solely dedicated to the growth of minority-owned businesses. The Minority Business Development Agency offers a minority business development program to minority and black business owners and entrepreneurs including business training and guidance on how to get funding, compete for corporate and government contracts and make products export-ready.
The Gathering Spot is a private membership club for black professionals in several US cities. Their online platform, TGS Connects, allows members to live stream events, catch up on previous programming and connect with other members globally.
Currently operating in 14 cities, the University of Notre Dame Keough School of Global Affairs has collaborated with a growing set of partners who work with individuals in low-income, disadvantaged and other adverse circumstances to form the Urban Poverty and Business Initiative (UPBI). This initiative promotes programs across the country which serve to help the poor start and grow businesses of their own. While each program is operated independently, and tailored to reflect local circumstances, their goal is to support the launch of hundreds of entrepreneurship and adversity programs in urban areas across the globe.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) network of minority-owned businesses provides access to the U.S. SBA programs and services. Through this, the network focuses on empowering the minority business community by directing outreach and inclusion.
Funding Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs
Below are funding opportunities available specifically to black business owners and entrepreneurs.
Debt, Venture Capital & Other Equity Funding Resources
Below are several sources of debt and funding for black entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Black Girl Ventures provides black women founders with access to community, capital and capacity building. They fund tech-enabled, revenue-generating black-owned businesses who make less than $1 million. They host the BGV Pitch Program, which has become the largest pitch competition globally for black women. Here, BGV coaches entrepreneurs and then connects them to a community of professionals to support them on their journey. BGV has held more than 200 programs and funded more than 260 women. BGV pitch participants have collectively generated over $10M in revenue and supported 3,000 jobs.
Vertical 404 is a venture capital firm dedicated to investing in early-stage black, latino and women business founders. Investing between $150,000-$450,000 in businesses, Vertical 404 specifically focuses on companies that use cloud-based technology to promote advancements in work, finance, health, and media. In order to receive funding, businesses must agree to a diversity hiring agreement, hold c-corp status, and demonstrate a three-month recurring revenue of $10,000.
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund seeks to expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities. As part of the U.S. Treasury Department, CDFIs are financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, loan funds, microloan funds, or venture capital providers. These institutions provide local residents and businesses small business loans funded by the U.S. Treasury Department to create economic opportunities communities and serve the underserved.
Runway provides black, indiginous, and people of color entrepreneurs with early-stage funding and holistic business support in order to bridge the racial gap between black people and their local communities in the Bay Area, Northern California, and Massachusetts. They offer flexible capital for early-stage and growing businesses, tight-knit network of peer minority- and black-owned businesses in California and Massachusetts, weekly one-on-one business advising, bi-monthly peer business coaching and access to expansive funding & resource networks.
Union Bank is dedicated to serving underserved communities through its Diversity Lending Program. This program is specifically designed to empower women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses. Union’s Diversity Lending Program provides flexible capital guidelines as well as access to capital.
One Million Black Women, an initiative from Goldman Sachs, has committed $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic support to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that black women face. In partnership with black women-led organizations, the initiative focuses on key moments in black women’s lives. These investment areas include education, housing, healthcare and small businesses, all dedicated to equalizing opportunity gaps.
The Lemon-AID Foundation, founded by entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis, helps entrepreneurs and small businesses in underserved communities through loans and equity investments.
Advancing Black Pathways, an initiative from JPMorgan Chase, provides capital and technical support for founders to establish and grow their business. Additionally, ABP provides financing options to invest in company growth through access to working capital and cash, capital expenditures, and commercial real estate purchases.
The Black Angel Tech Fund was created to help fund the youthful black genius and tech talent that will produce successful next-generation technology companies. They provide early investments for high-growth tech companies along with an international support network.
Below are several sources of grants available to black business owners and entrepreneurs.
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a grant making initiative that provides financial assistance and support for America’s black small businesses and owners. Grants are solely available to black individuals who own at least 51% of a small business in an economically vulnerable community. The coalition aims to award 300 grants per year. They have several big-name corporate sponsors including American Express, AIG Foundation, Stanley Black and Decker, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
NAACP is an organization that believes in the power of Black entrepreneurship. They provide a number of resources for black business owners and entrepreneurs, and have also partnered with several organizations to provide grants including BeyGOOD, Vistaprint and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Diversity Capital, Hello Alice, and many more to support Black entrepreneurship and black-owned businesses.
The SoGal Foundation is the largest global platform for diverse entrepreneurs and investors. They have supported black female entrepreneurs who are equipped to solve some of the world’s largest unmet needs and have a legacy of reinvesting in their communities to create intergenerational wealth. Because black women entrepreneurs are met with the greatest barriers to accessing capital, they have created the Black Founder Startup Grant to provide funding and help navigating the fundraising environment so that they will have a more equitable opportunity at scaling the next billion dollar idea.
The BOSS Impact Fund is a program by The BOSS Network focusing on investing in black women led businesses and preparing these black female entrepreneurs build scalable, growth aggressive companies. Their goal is to assist black entrepreneurs in accessing the resources needed to pitch to investors, get the funding they need and a mentorship program provided to founders to even the playing field and help them grow into successful black entrepreneurs and business owners.