Free Grants and Loans for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in California

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022 by Danielle McDonald

Below is a list of California business loans and grants that might be available near you. A lot of lenders, non-profits, and government programs set out to provide funding for disadvantaged business owners. These lenders and programs are available for black-owned businesses, women-owned companies, Latinos, and other minorities. Therefore, these people can get help from business loans for minorities in California, or other sources of funding.

Business owners or anyone looking to start a business have various options available. There are low interest rate or interest free loans, or grants for Black-owned companies, women-owned businesses, LGBTQ+ businesses, Latinos, Asians, and other minorities, including veterans. The main cities in California, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, have the highest number of minority-owned businesses, so loans and grants are available. However, assistance programs are available throughout the state. It is also an important note that the funds can be obtained from local lenders, city or county, and not statewide.

Furthermore, the lender and program available determines the amount of money and the application process. Small and medium-sized businesses can receive loans or free grants. While minority or women entrepreneurs (MWBE), and Black, Indigenous, People of Colors (BIPOC) may get assistance from some lenders (or government programs).

Assistance is available if you need money to start or grow a business. You may continue reading to check the details of the programs.

Grants and Loans for Women or Minority Owned Small Businesses in the State of California

Below is a list of California grants and loans available for small businesses owned by women or minorities. The list is updated with up to the most recent assistance available. There are numerous California banks, community agencies, and government programs that continue to issue funds to Black, Latino, women, LGBT and other minority-owned or managed businesses.

Free Financial and Business Coaching Assistance Programs Ongoing, Year Round

The list contains details according to the general category. This includes California geography and/or whether grants or loans offer “priority” to a particular type of business. The important takeaway is that there is financial assistance for small, MWBE and veteran-owned businesses which are available both all year and monthly.

Statewide California MWBE Assistance Programs

Kiva Microloans

These microloans are available across the state of California. Even borrowers without or with limited credit history, or little to no revenue, can still get 0% interest rate loans. You can borrow up to $15,000 to start or grow a company. However, the main focus is on minority, Latino, veteran, LGBTQ, and women owned businesses. These businesses have historically had limited access to capital. This financial aid is also a peer-to-peer lending program. You can find details by region or city below.

Oakland Area

You may also try Mandela Partners. They offer access to Capital from Kiva loans, Entrepreneurs program, free one-on-one advising, and other business services. You can click the link to read further about this program.

San Jose and Santa Clara County Region

Northern California is also part of the San Jose and Santa Clara County regions. The Kiva loans focus primarily on technology companies. You can click the link to read further about this program.

Fresno and Central Valley

The Black Chamber of Commerce supports the central part of the state, which are Fresno and Central Valley. You can click the link to read further about this program.

Los Angeles and Southern California

This program focuses particularly on Latino owned businesses. Meanwhile, the City of Long Beach Economic Development Department helps entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Black Small Business Association

This association works throughout the state. They offer assistance and advocate for BIPOC-owned businesses. They also provide information about loan forgiveness programs, assistance in setting up businesses legally, offer free workshops and training, and a lot more. Click the link to find out more about the non-profit organization.

Northern and/or Central California MWBE Assistance Programs

Microfinance at Berkeley

Businesses in Berkeley and the Bay Area as assistance from the non-profit at Microfinance at Berkeley. This non-profit provides a range of assistance, from business workshops to access microloans from Kiva at 0% interest rates. Additionally, they offer free consulting, workshops in the area, and other free services. They can help all kinds of businesses, including MWBE. Click the link above to find out more.

California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce Foundation 

This foundation works in the Central Valley and Sacramento regions. They assist entrepreneurs and startups in accessing capital, marketing and revenue opportunities, bonding, and provide a Small Business Triage Center among other services. In addition, their goal is to assist Asian Americans in starting or growing a business. Click the link above to get more information.
This is quite similar to the Community Foundation that is one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in Arkansas.

Centro Community 

This includes the bay area and northern parts of the state of California. The organization offers free training, financial aid, information on grants, and a lot more to low-income households, minorities, and the “underserved.” You may also apply for 0% (interest-free loans) from the Kiva Trustee, or try the Basic or Advanced Entrepreneur Programs. An advisor program is also available. Details are available when you click the link above.

El Pájaro Community Development Corporation

The El Pajaro Community Development Corporation runs the Women Business Center, which assists women entrepreneurs and female-owned small businesses in Watsonville and El Pajaro. This non-profit assists women to start or run an existing business. There are many resources available, including free coaching, counseling and information about loans, grant programs, and other assistance. Click the link to read more.

Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce

The Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce offers interest-free loans to small businesses in Fresno. This particularly concerns those that are Latino, Veteran, Women, Black owned small businesses. The assistance works in conjunction with Kiva. Normally, you can borrow between $1,000 and $15,000 in general. Kiva is a non-profit that helps small businesses grow and start. It is also a crowdfunding platform for business owners. Additionally, all loans are at zero percent interest rates. Click the link above to apply.
This is a bit like the Kiva loans that are included as one of the Free Grants and Loans for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in Colorado.

Asian Business Institute and Resource Center

The Asian Business Institute and Resource Center can provide assistance for Asian-owned businesses in Fresno and the Valley. They provide a variety of free resources, such as help with marketing, technical assistance, referrals to fundraising programs ranging from equity to grants, and general “exposure.” This non-profit is focused on supporting Asian-owned businesses in the region. Click the link to find out more.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley

This is a non-profit organization that assists Latino-Hispanic entrepreneurs and business owners with a variety of services. The Chamber is a Kiva Trustee status, so loans up to which are interest free (0%) may be granted. You can get ongoing training for your business, free mentoring, legal or technical help for business owners, marketing guidance, and other assistance. These are provided based on your needs. Click the link above to find out more.

Kern County Women’s Business Center

Kern County Women’s Business Center can help small, disadvantaged businesses (both women and minority owned) in Bakersfield and Kern County. You may receive free advice from both professionals and volunteers. They also offer advice to business owners, and help them apply for funding (low-interest or forgivable loans, and grants). Additionally, they provide mentorship, getting government work from contracting, and a lot more. The Center was established in conjunction with Mission Community Services Corporation (MCSC). Click the link to get more information.

Mission Community Services Corporation

The Mission Community Services Corporation offers assistance for small businesses in Kern, San Luis Obispo and Monterey County. They provide assistance to entrepreneurs, minority and immigrant owned businesses. In addition, you can get free workshops to help you start or grow your business, and free consultation and coaching. They also provide information on financial assistance from loans or grants. Multiple offices are available. Click the link to read more.

Oakland Black Business Fund (OBBF) 

They provide (1) grant funds, (2) equity investment, and (3) technical assistance for Black-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups in the whole Bay Area. This includes Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, and nearby cities. You can also get grants, low-cost loans, and other funding that will help both for-profit and non-profit businesses. Click the link above to learn more.

Oakland California Uptima Business Bootcamp and Entrepreneur Cooperative

This is an accelerator program. They provide many services for existing and start up business owners. One is funding with microloans that are interest-free. You can also get free advising, bootcamps, networking events, free workshops, and more. Furthermore, they place a lot of emphasis on supporting women and entrepreneurs (or business owners) of color. Click the link to check the list of their assistance programs.

California Capital

California Capital offers assistance for businesses in the Sacramento area. They put emphasis on economic development. Moreover, one of their main components is business development for MWBE entrepreneurs and companies, veterans, immigrants, and the LGTBQ community. The programs also include low cost loans or zero interest loans, the Women Business Development Center, assistance in developing strategies, Microlending, and State of California loan guarantees. Additional assistance is also available. Click the link to find out more about the non-profit organization.

Black Chamber of Commerce

The Black Chamber of Commerce offers assistance for Black entrepreneurs and Black-owned in San Diego. There are many programs being run, including the Urban Business Resource Center. You will also find information on accessing capital, marketing tips, and how to increase revenue. Additionally, there is information on applications for free government grants as they are released, and a lot more. The Collaborative Hub is also on site. Click the link for more details.

Valley Sierra Small Business Development Center 

They offer a variety of assistance programs. You may get information about microloans, business plan creation, accounting, e-commerce, and other assistance programs. All services are also available in Spanish. The non-profit provides assistance in the following counties: Fresno, Kern, Inyo, Kings, Maripo, Merced, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Benito, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Madera, and Tulare. Click the link above to find out more. 

Southern California Loans, Grants, and Other Small Business Programs

California Southern Small Business Development Corporation 

In an effort to support small, minority, women, and immigrant owned businesses, this program partnered with non-profit organizations such as The San Diego Foundation and local charities. The Corporation will guarantee funds, and the main focus is to support them in obtaining low cost or no-interest loans or grants. In order to assist MWBE or BIPOC businesses, the Development Corporation might even take some financial risk. Click the link above to learn more about these programs.

City Heights of San Diego Community Development Corporation 

The Corporation focuses on helping minority and women-owned businesses. An assistance program is offered around the Economic and Leadership Development. Many programs are also available for different businesses, including immigrant-owned companies. Click the link above for more information.

Ascend Los Angeles

Ascend Los Angeles assists minority, veteran, or female owned businesses in Los Angeles County that require capital. They also offer free counseling/coaching services. This non-profit provides a variety of resources for small business owners, or anyone who is looking to start a business or become self-employed. In addition, the non-profit clients can apply for loans, make pitches to investors or other companies, get free consultations, and other services. Click the link above to read more.

New Economics For Women

NEW Economics For Women is another option for small businesses in southern California. This includes San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. This non-profit runs a variety of assistance programs, including design, marketing, education, financial literacy, microloans (from Kiva), and a lot more. The Women’s Business Center assists female owners, including immigrants, Spanish speakers and others. Click the link above to find more information.

USC (University Southern California) Bridges to Business Success Program 

This is for small businesses, including MWBE and BIPOC owned businesses. Successful entrepreneurs from Los Angeles offer free consultations, and assist with applications for grants, loans and other fundraising opportunities. Furthermore, the focus is on micro-businesses, as well as veterans, women, minority owned businesses.  Click the link to continue reading.

Women’s Economic Ventures Forgivable Business Loan and Coaching Program

Hispanic, Lantinx, or Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) owned businesses in Ventura and Santa Barbara County may apply for the Women’s Economic Ventures Forgivable Business Loan and Coaching Program. Applicants must meet all the requirements regarding mentoring, couching, and others in order for the funds to be converted into grants. Furthermore, the assistance is mainly focused on helping disadvantaged businesses, including immigrants. All services are also provided in Spanish. They also provide free business training, low cost or interest-free loans, technical advice, such as Quickbooks workshops, forgivable loans with coaching, and a lot more. They assist women of all races, ages, and colors to start or grow their businesses. Click the link above to find out more about the non-profit.