Black business owners looking for training and certifications, access to funding, and assistance with key business operations like HR and sales can unlock access to programs and opportunities geared to help them succeed. Fit Small Business has created a list of resources for Black-owned businesses in the following areas:
- Training and certifications: Get certified as a Black-owned business and become eligible for government and private sector programs and training.
- Organizations and associations: Become a member of organizations and associations that support the growth and prosperity of Black-owned businesses.
- Sales, marketing, and promotions: Take advantage of directories and websites created to promote the products and services of Black-owned businesses.
- HR and hiring resources: Use these resources to hire a diverse workforce based on race, sex, industry, and more.
- Tax credit for diversity: Apply for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) with this list of services that can secure minority-specific tax credits.
- Funding and financing: Resources for grants, loans, and investments, including information on Black-owned banks and similar institutions.
Read on for more information in each of these six areas, including easy-to-follow links on how to take advantage of these opportunities.
Training & Certifications for Black-owned Businesses
Getting certified as a minority-owned or Black-owned small business can open doors to certain government and private sector business and economic growth programs and opportunities. It can also open up access to financial resources to expand your business. Here is a list of training and certification programs and how to apply:
- U.S. Small Business Administration Minority-owned Business Certification: Use this process to get certified as an 8(a) minority-owned small business.
- HUBZone Business Certification: The HUBZone program helps small business growth in historically underutilized business zones.
- National Conference of State Legislators: You’ll find minority business development and state Minority Business Enterprise certification programs.
- Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Development Certification: The Department of Transportation’s for-profit socially and economically disadvantaged small business development certification is for those who contract with state transportation agencies.
- How to Get Certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE): This article from Fundbox explains how to get certified as an MBE.
Organizations & Associations for Black-owned Businesses
There are a variety of programs and organizations whose mission is to foster economic growth by supporting and advancing Black- and minority-owned small businesses. Their services range from providing one-on-one confidential business advising to promoting Black-owned businesses while connecting them to Black-owned business mentors. Check out the list below:
- National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC): The NMSDC advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members.
- African Business Roundtable: This nonprofit, non-partisan Black business organization promotes trade, commerce, and cultural exchange through education between the United States and countries of the African Diaspora.
- Black Business Association (BBA): The BBA advocates and promotes the development of African American-owned businesses.
- Black Founders: This group is “creating an ecosystem that stimulates tech entrepreneurship and fosters economic growth.”
- Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA): The nonprofit, charitable organization addresses equity and opportunity for the Black community in business, employment, education, and economic development.
- National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC): A nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of African American communities.
- America’s Small Business Development Centers: The centers offer a network of assistance for small businesses and are funded in part by the U.S. Congress and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Sales, Marketing & Promotions for Black-owned Businesses
One of the best ways to target customers specifically wanting to support Black-owned businesses is to list your business in a directory that highlights Black businesses. These apps and websites are a great way to market your business for little to no cost. See the full list here:
- Black Business Focus Group: This is a Facebook group designed to support Black-owned Businesses (BOB). Each member of the group can list their businesses, and other members commit to making three purchases a month.
- EatOkra: Submit your restaurant to this Black-owned eatery directory. There are over 2,600 restaurants and more than 150,000 users of this app.
- Black Wallet: Submit your business and events to the Black Wallet website and app for free. You can purchase web design, app development, and other business services directly from Black Wallet to help boost your brand’s aesthetic.
- Shoppe Black: This website profiles Black businesses and interviews entrepreneurs and professionals all over the world. In addition to serving as a resource for all things Black content, Shoppe Black also has a directory of Black-owned businesses.
- Support Black Owned: List your business for free in this Black-owned directory. You can also pay to have extended services like features on the home page, articles written about your business, and social media promotion.
- Squire: If you run a barbershop, use Black-owned Squire to help manage your business. You can use this point-of-sale (POS), payroll, customer relationship management (CRM), and scheduling tool whether you’re an independent barber, have multiple locations, or serve one location.
- Official Black Wall Street: For a lifetime membership payment of $50, list your business on both the website and the Official Black Wall Street app. Your membership also includes access to resources like webinars, pitch competitions, and features in listicles.
- WeBuyBlack: Use this platform to list your products and services for a commission fee of 10%. You can even migrate your Etsy or Shopify store using its CSV importer in under five minutes.
HR & Hiring Resources for Black-owned Businesses
Diversity is a hot topic in today’s climate, and businesses are answering the call. If you want your business to provide more quality job opportunities for Black candidates, consider registering with some of the top minority recruiting platforms. These sites target specific groups based on race and sometimes gender, industry, and more. Check out the resources below:
- Black Career Women Network: This site is aimed at supporting Black women with resources to help with professional development and career mentorship.
- Black Career Network: A diversity recruitment platform on which you can post job openings.
- National Urban League: You can partner with a local chapter to provide jobs to Blacks and others in underserved communities. The organization has initiatives focused on job re-entry, tech jobs, apprenticeships, youth candidates, and senior candidates.
- National Black MBA Association (NBMAA): Partner with NBMAA to post your open positions to a diverse candidate base. You can search resumes and load branding videos.
- National Society of Black Engineers: You can post jobs and internship opportunities as well as access recruiting tools to help you find Black engineers.
- Black Jobs: Promote your job openings to over 300,000 Black professionals, many of whom are new college graduates.
SMB Tax Credits for Diverse Businesses
As you hire a diverse workforce, you can qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which is a federal credit employers receive for hiring job candidates within groups outlined by the Department of Labor. Having a payroll service that automatically checks for these opportunities can save you taxes and help you employ someone who may find it hard to get a job.
These services also offer a ton of human resources (HR) support, such as consulting, training, and applicant tracking, in addition to payroll. Check out the options below:
- ADP: The software is flexible enough to support small businesses and mid- to large-sized businesses. It has eight different product plans you can choose from.
- Deluxe Payroll: These payroll services guarantee that your business will receive a tax credit, or you will receive a full refund of your filing fee.
- Paychex: You only pay a fee if the service finds credits.
- Paycor: The software integrates the hiring platform with the WOTC screening program.
- Paycom: Once you hire a candidate, all information collected for WOTC screening will automatically flow to your payroll records—you won’t have to manually organize and enter the information.
Funding & Financing Opportunities for Black-owned Businesses
There are many grants, loans, and investment programs geared toward financing Black-owned businesses. Whether you’re looking for a short-term working capital loan, minority grant program, or venture capital firm, there are options specific to helping Black- and other minority-owned businesses secure funding. See the list here:
- Minority Small Business Grants: What They Are and How to Get Them: Read this Fit Small Business article to find out information on 11 of the top minority small businesses grant opportunities.
- Minority Small Business Grants From Black Enterprise: This aggregated list has the top 10 grant opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA): This agency is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and offers loans and grant programs to minority businesses.
- Accion Minority Small Business Loans: A nonprofit community organization providing fairly priced and flexible loans to minority small business owners.
- List of Black Investors & VC Firms: This list from Bauce showcases over 25 Black investors and venture capitalists (VCs) who support Black-owned businesses.
- Backstage Capital: The investment firm is dedicated to funding underrepresented founders, including people of color.
- Interactive Map of Black-owned Banks: Use this U.S. map of Black-owned banks and credit unions to support your small business.
Additional Resource Lists for Black-owned Businesses
To help you find the most relevant resources for you and your business, we’ve also included some of the top lists here:
- Hello Alice’s Black-owned Business Resource Center
- SBDCNet.org’s Resources for Minority-owned Businesses