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Minority Business Loans

Minority business loans are becoming more popular with lenders. These business financing options help minority small business owners and minority entrepreneurs access the funding they need to cover business expenses ranging from stocking inventory to purchasing technology that boosts efficiency.

Small business loans for minorities

Loans for minority-owned businesses can offer a quick and easy way to access small business funding. The working capital that a small business loan affords can help entrepreneurs and small business owners cover all the financing business costs they need to succeed.

Business loans for women

Women are a minority of business owners in the U.S., making up about 21% of all business owners. Small business loans help women-run businesses pay for business- related expenses and provide access to the working capital they need to remain strong competitors within their specific industry. Small business loans for women can help cover equipment, payroll, and marketing, among other expenses.

Veteran business loans

About 5.6% of all businesses in the U.S. are run by veterans. Loans for veteran-owned businesses provide working capital to help sustain and grow their small businesses with easy loan terms.

How do I qualify for a minority business loan?

Most lending and financial institutions, including the Small Business Administration, have certain requirements that must be met to be considered for a minority small business loan. For example, most lenders require the business is at least 51% owned by an economically or socially disadvantaged individual.

Lenders may have eligibility requirements based on many factors, including, national origin and race. Women-owned and veteran-owned businesses tend to also fall into this minority business loan category.

Being certified as a minority-owned small business can help you obtain funding for your business.

Other funding for minority-owned business

While loans are generally the most reliable way to secure funds, they can be supplemented with other types of funding options for minority business owners.

Eligible businesses can look into grants from federal, state, and local governments. There are also private business grants that tailor funds to certain minority demographics — for example, awards for Native American entrepreneurs.

Other options include raising capital through private investors, applying for a small business credit card, or even trying your hand at a crowdfunding campaign.

Funding from government agencies

The federal government doesn't provide grants or give preferential treatment to any one demographic group. That said, the SBA works to minimize lender risk and provide small businesses with easier access to capital. And it has programs that could help qualifying minority business owners.

The 8(a) Business Development Program, for example, gives a leg up to "socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses" through training and technical assistance. There's also the HUBZone initiative, which aims to award a minimum of 3% of federal contract dollars to companies in "historically underutilized business zones."

In addition to the SBA, there's also the Minority Business Development Agency (MDBA). This agency, within the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides minority- owned businesses with services that include:

  • Global business development
  • Access to capital
  • Access to contracts
  • Access to markets
  • Consulting

Apart from federal services, many state and regional agencies offer help with minority-owned business funding. Options vary by location, but the MDBA lets you search by state for its business centers, which are generally located in areas with large numbers of minority-owned businesses.

The SBA also lets you search for local services — including veteran's business outreach centers and women's business centers — by ZIP code. These services can help eligible owners apply for Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certifications, which can make it easier to get grants.


Federal, state, and local agencies can help minority-owned businesses secure small business grants. While grants don't have to be paid back and are often easy to apply for online, they may take longer to receive and are harder to obtain than traditional loans.

A good place to start is, which features a searchable database of more than 1,000 federal grants. Minority business owners may be able to secure federal funding for research, education, and technical assistance.

One example is the Rural Business Development Grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funds small businesses in eligible rural areas (regardless of being minority-owned) for areas including training, land acquisition, and business planning.

But since federal grants are so competitive, minority business owners should consider local government funds earmarked for economic development — like a grant for exterior renovations.

Beyond government funding, minority-owned businesses can also seek out private business grants, which are often more directly tailored to minority demographics.

For instance, Operation Hope 1 Million Black Businesses provides capital and mentorship to black-owned businesses, while the Amber Grant provides grants for women entrepreneurs. There are also grants for veterans, like funding from the StreetShares Foundation.

Other sources for minority-owned business grants include:


In addition to loans and grants, minority business owners can also seek out angel investors who buy into a business with the hope of receiving earnings from future profits. And some venture capital funds were expressly created to invest in minority businesses.

Backstage Capital, for instance, invests in founders who are women, people of color, or LGBTQ. Hivers & Strivers targets funds toward veteran entrepreneurs.

But keep in mind: an investor's stake in your business may come with strings attached. While VC funds can help you secure capital, they may also mean you have less control over your business, compared with funding from a loan.

Financing for minority business owners from American Express

All eligible small business owners, including minority business owners, may apply for an American Express® Business Line of Credit between $2,000 and $250,000.

Business owners, who have applied and been approved for a Line of Credit, have used their funds to:

  • help them hire to fill critical roles
  • expand their operations
  • pay for backend technology, like data management and web hosting costs
  • invest in growth marketing
  • and to help them scale their startup.

For more examples on how flexible access to capital has helped specific business owners reach their goals, go behind the business with these customers' stories.

Loans For Women
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Loans For Veterans
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