The early stages of launching a new business are exhilarating. Your mind may be racing with ideas and questions.
If you’re a Black entrepreneur just getting started on this adventure and looking for the right resources to help you navigate the essential steps of starting your business, you’ve come to the right place. Understand that this entrepreneurial journey may feel lonesome, but you’re never alone. There are organizations and programs that offer education, support, funding and grants specifically for Black-owned businesses.
Here are my top 10 resources that every Black entrepreneur can use to empower their growth and success:
This U.S.-based nonprofit organization provides workshops and training, loan opportunities, technical assistance, networking and matchmaking opportunities, and more. These initiatives are provided to small and medium-sized businesses throughout Connecticut and nationally. Memberships start at $250 per year.
This national nonprofit aims to eliminate the racial wealth gap for Black Americans. It provides networking opportunities for Black business owners, as well as business-related educational programs, activities, events, and funding through pitch competitions. On top of that, Black Connect also has a mentorship program that empowers Black entrepreneurs in launching their businesses. Membership fees start at $25.
With a special focus on helping Black-owned businesses selling clothing, accessories, and home goods gain publicity on a national level, Black Owned Everything is a retail site whose goal is to “elevate the visibility of Black-owned brands,” especially those still getting their momentum going. You may check out their Instagram account so you can apply to get featured on their site.
Starting small doesn’t necessarily mean starting slow. If your Black-owned business has only three to 20 employees and is based in an economically vulnerable community, you could be qualified to receive one of the grants extended by the Coalition to Back Black Businesses. These grants, including follow-up mentorship and training, can go a long way if your Black-owned business needs assistance.
This nonprofit initiative supports Black and Hispanic business owners with five or fewer employees through a partnership with the National Urban League’s Entrepreneurship Centers and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In addition to providing business owners with mentors, Elevate Together offers business workshops, technical assistance, cash grants, or product or service donations to the Black businesses they support.
Founded in 1970, the NBMBAA helps support Black entrepreneurs through networking opportunities, scholarships, training, pitch challenges, and important connections with business investors. It also offers scholarships and mentorship opportunities to Black business owners pursuing their MBA. Membership fees for Black entrepreneurs range from $100 to $200 depending on how long you’ve owned your business.
The AOF provides “fairly priced" business loans ranging in size from $5,000 to $100,000, educational resources, and business coaching and mentoring. The organization supports a diverse group of entrepreneurs, focusing on individuals of color, women, and low- to moderate-income individuals.
8. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Small business owners who need that push and support to get through the first phases of a business startup can get that from SBA. While the SBA is notable for its business loan opportunities, there are also learning resources to help business owners, including information on starting, maintaining, and growing your small business. The SBA’s minority-owned business resources may be a good place to start.
For minority-owned business owners who want to connect with larger corporations hoping to diversify their supply chains, the NMSDC is the link for this endeavor. Not only does it operate within the United States, it also works with international businesses to foster global business. There may be some fees required to complete a certification or get subscriptions. However, these fees can help open doors for a business just starting.
The MBDA is a U.S. Department of Commerce agency committed to supporting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses. The agency provides support to Black entrepreneurs in the form of accessing business capital, securing contracts, and even facilitating partnerships both within the country and abroad. It also offers customized business development and industry-focused services. The MBDA acts as a valuable bridge that connects minority entrepreneurs with opportunities for growth and success.
Use Resources to Benefit Your Black-Owned Business
Empowering Black entrepreneurs with the right resources is essential for fostering a diverse and thriving business landscape. By leveraging the 10 essential resources I outlined above, Black business owners can overcome obstacles, embrace opportunities, and pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future in entrepreneurship. SCORE mentors, business experts who volunteer through SCORE, can also help you navigate the stages of starting and successfully building your business. Together, we can create an ecosystem where every entrepreneur can flourish and leave an indelible mark on the business world.
Copyright © 2023 SCORE Association, SCORE.org
Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.