Small Business Loans for Minorities

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

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Jason Smith

Senior Author

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Small Business Loans for Minorities Options

Business owners who draft a solid business plan will inevitably require access to capital. There are many loan options available, and these offers are made through various lending institutions. Minority business owners have the option of applying for loan programs designed to make financing readily available. Qualifying for credit is usually a tedious process, so always document the financial statements of the business prior to applying for a business loan.

Minority-Owned Business Loans

Small Business Loans for MinoritiesIn addition to being recognized as a minority business owner, these loans also require the business itself to meet certain eligibility requirements. This includes the length of time the business has been operational, and there may be limitations on the total amount available for borrowing. In addition, some lenders may place restrictions on the use of this capital.

Always review the terms and conditions of the loan, and ask questions to the lender if any item seems unclear. All loan contracts involve interest rates, so many business owners will compare the different terms to determine the best loan for the situation.

Access to capital is an ongoing problem for all business owners. The Small Business Administration released a study showing that minority-owned businesses struggle disproportionately when attempting to get access to capital. This funding is necessary to start any business, but it is also necessary in order to grow the enterprise. Minority business owners often face daunting obstacles when it comes to traditional credit markets. The study concluded that minority-owned small businesses require targeted loan programs in order to provide a level playing field in the realm of entrepreneurship and small business development.

Leveraging Capital

Access to capital can make a significant impact on the health of the minority-owned business. This includes start-up capital as well as start up business loans that are available to use for daily operational costs. Lenders can offer programs through the immediate institution, but some funds are also available through federal programs as well.

Searching for a lender who will issue a minority-owned business loan can be time-consuming, so always check with agencies like the Small Business Administration to see if there is a directory for minority-owned business loans. This can save time and expedite the process of completing the loan application. Community programs are often available to serve the lending needs of local businesses.

Although there may be restrictions on some of these loans, most programs are designed to allow the business owner to spend the money on items that are recognized by the generally accepted accounting principles as necessary expenses. This includes anything that falls into the categories of property, buildings and equipment. For example, the money can be used to buy essential equipment or purchase a piece of property. However, if there are any concerns about the way loan restrictions may operate, simply check with a certified public accountant to ensure that the money is being used on qualifying assets.

Additionally, there are many community programs that offer short term funding solutions to help out with things like an unexpected and large order, a rush order, or covering payroll during a slow month. These programs are designed to cover short-term cash shortfalls, and can help make the difference between a business being successful and growing or shutting down. Short term loans and cash advances can be a better option for many small businesses because they don’t have the same commitment that term loans have. After all, if your goal is only to meet payroll until a client pays a large invoice, there’s no reason why you’d want to take out a five year term loan.

These funding solutions also usually disburse funds faster than traditional small business loans, so they’re a good option if you need cash but don’t have time to wait for a traditional loan application process or disbursement period.

Community based programs are also advisable for several other reasons. First, since they exist to help the community that your business is a part of, they’re more likely to recognize the importance your business has to the community. Moreover, community based programs also help to facilitate the growth of the community around you with the interest on the payments you make. This means that you’re re-investing in your community, and thus investing in your customer and client base. When the community’s economy is doing better overall, your business will also do better. Thus, using community programs for your small business funding can have a feedback effect that can benefit your business in the medium to long term.

Terms and Conditions

All loans provide a contract that specifies the amount of the loan, the interest rate and the total amount available for borrowing will depend on the condition of the financial statement presented by the business owner. Even the loans set aside to promote growth in the minority business sector is still competitive. The lender might make a determination of award based on the viability of the business plan, statement of cash flows or clarity of the market analysis. Most lenders will assess the prospects of a successful enterprise based on these types of metrics, so preparation is essential for ensuring a dynamic application.

In addition to assessing the overall business plan, many lenders will want proof of revenue, access to your books, bank statements, credit reports, and other paperwork. Getting this paperwork together ahead of time can help to simplify and expedite the application process. In addition to making the process faster, assembling this paperwork is a great way to evaluate your business to determine its overall health.

Many small business owners have reported that the process of getting ready to apply for a loan helped them realize the best way to spend their loan, and also helped them understand where they can help make their business more efficient and profitable. Some have even stated that they realized they didn’t actually need a loan at all.

Some of the terms and conditions you’ll want to check include what kinds of fees and charges you’ll incur for the loan. For example, some lenders charge an origination fee for small business loans. This fee can be as high as 3%, so if you take out a $100k loan, you’ll only receive $97k. This can hamper your plans for your business’s growth and development. The example of origination fees make it clear why it’s so important to carefully analyze any loan paperwork before you sign it, and why it is important to get clear descriptions of the fees and charges that you’ll face as part of the loan process.

The fees and charges associated with taking out a loan can be a great way to determine which lender is best for your business. Getting a clear picture of the different fees allows you to understand what the total cost of the loan will be to you, and thus understand what loan or financing product offers the most value to your small business given its specific and unique circumstances.

Additionally, you should be aware of any late payment penalties and ensure that you know whether the interest rate is fixed or adjustable. This is essential to setting aside the appropriate amount of money to be able to meet your payments.

A fixed rate loan provides an appealing predictability. The interest rate you’re charged will never change, so you’ll know how much each payment will be when you agree to the terms of the loan. An adjustable rate loan means that your interest rate can go up or down depending on global economic conditions and the prime rate set by the world’s financial institutions.

Companies that Offer Small Business Loans for Minorities

Accion U.S. Network

This network of lenders specializes in offering microloans to business owners that have a hard time getting capital through the standard means. As a result, they’re a great option for minority small business owners. They offer loans that range from $200 to $300,000. They work in all 50 states.

National African American Small Business Loan Fund

This organization is run by JP Morgan Chase and the Valley Economic Development Centers. They work in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The organization serves minority-owned small businesses in low to medium income communities. In addition to loans they also offer financial consulting and technical assistance.

Union Bank

Union Bank is one of the few banks that has specific minority business loans and lines of credit available. They have lower requirements than other loans and line of credit options. These financial products are open to anyone that meets the EEOC’s definition of minority. They offer loans up to $2.5 million.

Business Center for New Americans

The BCNA finances minority small business owners who can’t access loans at traditional banks. They’ll provide loans if you’re denied for a number of different reasons, including credit score, insufficient loan amount requested, or a policy against lending to startups.

The organization gives loans that range from $5,000 to $50,000 to minority business owners in the US. They also have specific programs for immigrants, refugees, women, and others.

Funding Circle

Funding Circle offers minority-owned businesses the capital they need to get started, get through tough times, and expand. They offer transparent rates and fees, and the application process is very streamlined. Their rates start at 4.99%. Loan terms go from 6 months to 5 years, and the loan amount goes from $25,000 to $500,000. You can get a decision on your loan in as little as 24 hours after all of your documentation has been provided.

Additional Information

Minority business owners must meet the basic definitions set in the Bureau of the Census or other regulatory agency. Minority business enterprises, or MBEs, qualify for preferential awards for contracts from government or corporate entities. The business must be owned, controlled, managed and operated by at least 51 percent of qualifying minorities. These groups include, but are not limited to, Asian, African-American, First Nations, Pacific Islander, Hispanic or combinations of these groups. The Minority Business Development Agency, or MBDA, and the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or DBE, offers funding for minority business owners who require second-round financing or who have the capacity to service large government contracts in airport, highway and transit infrastructure.

If you’re a minority small business owner, than the first place you should look for funding are government programs designed to help businesses like yours. This can be industry or racially specific programs, or programs that provide funding for small businesses in general. The more specific of a program to your business you can find, the better the odds that you’ll be able to secure the funding you’re looking for. This can help get your business off the ground, or give it the resources it needs to expand to the next level and set the stage for even faster growth.

In short, there’s no limit to the number of places that you can find a small business loan for minority business owners. The important thing to do is to weigh the options you have in order to get the best deal possible for yourself and your small business. Community-based programs are a good place to start, as are government programs designed to help minority business owners. However, you can also explore other avenues of funding like banks or online small business lenders. A business loan calculator can help you have an idea on the total cost and other fees.

FAQ

Below are the most frequently asked questions about minority-owned businesses. Here we have included short discussions getting grants and loans specifically for such businesses as well as other concerns such as getting certified and facing struggles that minority business owners face.

This section should also be able to let you take full advantage of the status of your business as minority-owned and use these advantages to leverage your business.

Qualifying as a Minority-Owned Business

In this section, we answer your questions about the nature of a minority-owned business.

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What qualifies as a minority-owned business?
A minority-owned business is at least 51 percent owned by a person or persons who are considered members of the minority.
What is minority certificate?
Minority certificate is just a layman’s parlance for MBE certification. It allows your business to apply for certain programs exclusive to the minority.
How do I become a certified minority-owned business?
Before attempting, make sure that your business satisfies all the requirements. You should then decide if you should apply for a national or local certification then submit all the requirements to the concerned organization or agency.
What does MBE certified mean?
MBE stands for Minority Business Enterprise. It is a company level certification guaranteeing that your business has fulfilled all the requirements and completed the application to be considered a minority-owned business.
Is a woman owned business considered minority-owned?

No. The minority does not include sex, only race.

Can a nonprofit be a minority women-owned business?

No. One of the requirements for certification is that your business must be a profit enterprise.

Are Filipinos considered minorities for minority-owned business?

Yes, they are. They’re Asian which is considered a minority group in the United States.

Are Jews considered minority-owned business?

No. Only Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American-owned businesses can apply as a minority business enterprise.

How much equity to be a minority owner in business?

At least 51 percent of the business total. This may be shared a few minority members or owned by only one person.

Is a hub business a minority-owned business?

It can be. The business you’re in is immaterial for as long as you meet the qualification requirements for the certification.

How do I remove a minority business partner?

It actually depends on the type of business (partnership, llc, etc.) and the agreement you have. However, if he owns a big part of the company, this move may just disqualify you from MBE certification.

The Benefits of Having a Minority-Owned Business

Aside from the connection within the same circle that comes naturally with any organization, your business would enjoy federal government-sponsored benefits along with others granted by non-profits.

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What federal assistance is available to minority businesses?

The Federal Government has different organizations that give loans and grants to minority businesses. There are also tax breaks and credits that you can benefit from.

Do minority business owners get tax breaks?

There are several, actually: IRS tax credit for retirement plan startup costs and for retirement savings contribution, as well as tax deductions on retirement plan contributions, to name a few.

Do immigrants get grants to start businesses?

Yes. While they come far and few in between, there are available grants for minorities to start a business, one of which is HHS’s Microenterprise Development Program.

Do minorities get subsidized business loans?

Yes. While not limited to minority-owned businesses, SBA does offer subsidized loans by guaranteeing a part of your loan amount.

What are the benefits of a minority-owned business?

Aside from those mentioned already, you can also leverage your certification to land government contracts.

Do businesses get tax credit for hiring minority?

Yes. However, hiring lots of minority does not make your business minority-owned. It’s important not to mix the two.

Qualifying as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

DBE and MBE are very close because what can be classified as one can usually be classified as the other. Here, we clear the distinctions of DBE:

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How do I get DBE certified?

A woman-owned or minority-owned business all qualify as socially disadvantaged for their personal net worth does not exceed $1.32 million. It must also be a small business that has average annual gross receipts not exceeding $23.98 million.

How long does it take to get DBE certified?

After you have submitted complete requirements, it will take a maximum of 90 days to get the result of your application.

Who is considered socially and economically disadvantaged?

While the definition in legal parlance is different, people belonging to minority groups (Asian Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, and women) are already considered socially and economically disadvantaged.

What qualifies as a small disadvantaged business?

A small disadvantaged business must have at least a 51 percent ownership belonging to individuals who are considered socially and economically disadvantaged.

Getting a Minority Business Loan

Below are the most common questions that people have about minority business loans:

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What is a minority loan?

A minority loan is essentially a loan specifically granted to members of the minority. It might come from microlenders, SBA, and non-profit agencies.

Who qualifies for a minority business loan?

Any business with an MBE certification can apply for a minority business loan. However, lenders may choose to limit the application to certain groups which may bar you from qualification.

What are small business loans for the minority?

Small business loans for minority are meant to help exclusively the members of a minority, especially given that they are three times more likely to be rejected for a loan. Aside from being part of a minority, the business should also qualify the lender’s description of ‘small business.’

What are the going rates for minority business women loans?

It depends on your credit rating as well as the lending institutions you will go to. It can be anywhere from 8% APR to 99% APR.

How to write a business plan for SBA minority loan?

As with any other business loan, it should be made clear how much you need, how you’re going to use it, and how you’re going to repay it. However, as a minority-owned business, you should also submit your MBE certification as well as other documentation that SBA requires.

How to get a business loan for minorities?

Aside from the options already available to the public, you should look into SBA and BusinessUSA to see which loans you qualify for. You should then complete all the requirements the organization asks for.

How to prepare a minority small business loan package?

It should include your business plan, business financial projections, financial information, personal tax statements, as well as relevant information about your business.

How to apply for minority business loans?

Applying for minority business loans is just the same as applying for any other loan. The only difference, however, is that your business must be a certified MBE.

How to get a minority business loan with bad credit?

A lender may require a certain credit score before offering funding. Aside from the SBA, there are a lot of microlenders that offer funding solutions to businesses with bad credit for as long as they meet certain requirements.

How to apply for a woman-owned minority business loan?

You should always consider sector- or group-specific loans like this to be just any other loan application. For as long as you have the certification necessary, you need only comply with the requirements indicated. You can apply small business loan offers.

Where to apply for minority business loan

Minority business loan is a general term referring to loans offered exclusively to minority-owned businesses. Once you see one, you should submit your complete application where you were directed to do so.

Where to apply for a women's minority business loan?

You apply for a women’s minority business loan of your choice to the company or organization that offers it. Make sure to submit complete requirements to lessen the chance of getting rejected.

Where do I apply for a small minority business loan to open up a business?

Usually, grants are made available to already existing businesses. Just keep yourself up to date with the latest loan programs until you find one for starting a business.

Is it hard to get a business loan?

It is generally harder to get a business loan in a traditional bank. However, thanks to the SBA, non-profit companies, as well as microlenders, the task becomes easier.

Getting a Minority Business Grant

Members of the minority enjoy certain privileges in their business such as grants. The most asked questions about minority grants are answered below:

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How can I get a small business grant?

Everyone likes free money, so there is always a lot of competition for grants. Your grant proposal should display not only the relevance and innovation that your company brings but also the stability of your business as demonstrated in your business plan.

How do I get a minority business grant?

Granted that your business is certified as minority-owned, the first step to getting one finding grants. A good place to start is are the MBDA, SBA 8a Development Program, BusinessUSA, and Grants.gov.

What is a minority grant?

A minority grant allows you to bridge the financial gap when starting out a business without any pressure of having to pay it back.

How to get a business grant or loan for minority women?

Minority women can get a business grant or loan through their network of minority-owned and woman-owned business. Moreover, you can also access loans that may not be specifically for minorities or for women but fit your line of business.

How to get a grant for a small minority business loan?

While it is not unheard of, it is very hard to get a grant to pay off a loan because grantors would rather invest in growing or more promising businesses. The best you can do is create a strong business plan that shows why you deserve the loan.

Reviewing Options of Business Owners with Bad Credit

Having bad credit definitely limits your options, but you would still be able to get a loan to leverage your business.

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Can I get a business loan with a 500 credit score?

Yes. However, even for SBA loans, the minimum credit score to qualify is 620. You can try alternative lenders, buy interest rates will definitely be higher even if you qualify.

How to get a business loan for a minority woman with bad credit?

First, you should understand that your options can be limited by bad credit. Aside from online business loans for bad credit, you can try the microloan program and the Community Advantage program, both of which are partially guaranteed by the SBA.

Where can I get a small business loan with bad credit?

SBA offers several loan programs for minorities such as the Business Development Program. Beyond SBA, you have Business Center for New Americans and Business Consortium Fund Loan, along with initiatives of different organizations and councils.

Minority Small Businesses

The previous sections show the intersection between two main groups (minorities and women) as well as the advantages of owning a minority-owned business. We have also dedicated one section to allow readers to revisit funding opportunities without taking out a loan.

Now that the more nitty-gritty has already been discussed, we go to the more general questions that are relevant to minority-owned small businesses as well as other business owners.

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What qualifies as a small business?

According to the SBA, small businesses have an annual revenue of $7 million or 50 employees, but it can be higher depending on the industry.

How can I start my own business with no money and talent?

Your best bet is a grant. There are different programs available for that such as the SBA InnovateHER Challenge, but you can also look into federal business grants.

Is a minority business worth it?

It will only be worth it if you actually take advantage of the benefits of your certification. Else, it’s just a piece of paper.

How do I identify minority owned businesses?

You may search for the business here. In that website, you’ll be able to search by company name, by industry, or by state. 

How do I start a minority woman-owned business?

First, you must have a business. Then, as minority woman-owned, you must apply for certification both as woman-owned and as minority-owned.

Can I be invested to a minority woman-owned business?

If the business allows it, yes you can. Depending on the terms of the contract, this may or may not translate to part-ownership.

How do you start minority HVAC business?

In the same way that you start any other business – transform your capital and knowledge of the market into a business. After that, you apply for the MBE certification.

Support for Minority-Owned Businesses

In engaging the capacity of minorities as entrepreneurs, the US government has created a series of support systems. Learn more about this below:

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How does the government support underrepresented minorities in business?

By expanding funding opportunities and by giving preferential treatment to minority-owned businesses. Some organizations open grants to particular segments of the minority as well.

What are minority business development centers?

They are the local branches of the Minority Business Development Agency responsible for bringing its initiatives closer to the community.

What does the minority business development center do?

The minority business development center provides solutions on how you can grow your business as well as promote and coordinate government activities to help minority businesses.

What is minority business utilization plan?

Put simply, it is the rule that 30% of the dollar amount worth of construction contracts must be awarded to minority-owned businesses.

What are minority business enterprise participation goals?

In federally-funded procurement opportunities, these entails how minority-owned businesses are included in the fulfillment of the project.


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Jason Smith


Jason is a Senior Author for SBL. He has been working with small business owners like you for the past ten years. He graduated with an MBA and began a career as an independent financial consultant for small businesses in his state. 

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