Starting a minority-owned small business offers a variety of benefits. Many state and federal agencies (as well as Fortune 500 corporations) want to do business with minority-owned businesses. You can also receive a variety of minority-owned business grants and other opportunities. If you’re a minority and you have thought about starting a business, there are a few things to be aware of to get started.

Getting Started

You will want to get started in the most organized way possible. This means taking the time to identify all of the steps needed to get started.

  1. Write out a business plan.
  2. Get certification as a Minority-Owned Business
  3. Understand opportunities
    There are quite a few resources to help you along the way to understanding minority-owned business grants and opportunities. You will want to start with the U.S. Small Business Administrationas you will be able to learn about how to write an effective business plan, obtain various educational resources, learn about government contracting, and even tap into SBA loans. You will also want to explore the various tools and opportunities available from the Minority Business Development Agency.

Requirements

There are a few different requirements in order to be identified as a minority-owned business. You must be a US citizen and at least 51% of the business must be operated and controlled by our minority. Additionally, you must be located inside the United States or one of the trust territories and be a for-profit enterprise.

Minority-Owned Business Grants

It’s important to understand that the average minority business owner will experience higher borrowing costs and receive smaller loans. However, there are a variety of grants that will help minority businesses get started. Many of these grants, particularly across different industries, do not have to be paid back. This allows you to explore specific opportunities while receiving free money in order to do so.
Quite a few grants are available for you to explore, including:

  • The NASE Growth Grants Program,
  • The Miller Lite Tap the Future Business Plan Competition,
  • The Dare to Dream Grant Program, and
  • The DOT DBE Program.

Grants.gov is a great resource that provides you with access to over 1,000 minority-owned business grant programs. When you fill out a grant, you will want to make sure to read through all of the guidelines, requirements, and deadlines. Be sure to identify all of the details of your business and think out all of the responses. Depending on the grant program, you could be competing against hundreds or even thousands of other minority-owned businesses in order to receive the offered funding.

The Certification Process

There are a variety of benefits and minority-owned business opportunities that exist. You will want to certify your business to achieve the minority status so that you can access government contracts and receive additional funding opportunities.
The most common certification is from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). However, you can also receive certification from the Department of Transportation as well as an array of state agencies.

The Benefits of Certification

Aside from obtaining a minority-owned business grant, you should ensure that you are properly certified. You have the ability to strengthen competitiveness in America by becoming a minority-owned business. There are a number of high-growth industries as well as emerging markets that you can perform in. You can reduce the trade deficit and even leverage a variety of unique assets as a minority. You will also have the ability to generate more jobs and help strengthen the US economy.

There are going to be a few struggles that you face as a minority, which is all the more reason to go through the certification process. Minority firms are commonly denied loans and forced to pay higher interest rates. However, there are many government agencies that are required to do a percentage of business with minority firms. This will give you access to capital as well as large contract sizes.
Once you are able to get your minority-owned business grant, certification and are up and running, you can then begin to explore premium accounting software that will help you with budgeting and many other aspects of your operations.

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