While it is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to look to lenders for business financing, it can be especially challenging for minority women to find funding. For instance, if you have poor credit as a result of past financial mishaps, it can be difficult to qualify for a conventional business loan that is offered at a fixed interest rate for a set period of time. Instead, you can turn to nonprofit lenders or community financial development institutions (CDFIs), which offer loans with flexible requirements. Another option is to borrow from the crowd through Kiva, a social lending platform that allows you to pitch your business idea to thousands of lenders who can lend funds directly to you.
Many large corporations and businesses also provide small business grants to help minority, Black, Latino, and women owned businesses. These grants are not only a great source of free funding, but they can also give you business advice and mentoring support.
Some of these companies, such as the SBA 8(a) program, can give you a federal grant that is matched with funds from other lenders to minimize lender risk. Other lenders, such as the Brooklyn Cooperative and Accion Opportunity Fund, work with borrowers from low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.
Finally, you can also seek out state-specific programs. For example, the Empire State Development (ESD) program offers financing for minority- and women-owned businesses to help them grow and become a more integral part of New York’s economy. loans for women in business