Free Grants and Loans for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in New York

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Hannah Stevens

Below is a list where you will find out where and how to apply for free grants or loans for your business. Funds are available for women, Latino, LGBTQ+, and Black owned businesses in New York. There are several lenders which may offer financing to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and start-up companies. Additionally, find banks, corporations, lenders, nonprofits, and other agencies which offer programs near you.

All small- to medium-sized businesses that meet the lender’s criteria are eligible for loans and/or grants. However, every program on this list provides some (or all) funds for women and/or minority owned businesses in the state of New York. Furthermore, the organizations provide support, and capital for small business owners, including MWBE and BIPOC. These additional support may include free mentoring, technical support, assistance in business planning, networking advice, and more. Moreover, all this support will be provided for free.

The state also offers free grants and business loans. There are many options available in New York City, and for the majority of residents of Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and other cities and towns. Additionally, financial assistance and counseling from an agency are available for application for women, veterans, and minority owned (or run) companies.

Business Loans and Free Grants for Women or Minorities in New York

This list is up to date. There are available grants, free counseling, funding, microloans, and more. However, as previously noted, priority is given to disadvantaged groups living in New York. This includes Black, Latinos, veterans, and women owned or run companies.

Year Round Financial Aid Programs, Free Grants and Mentoring Services

Many financial assistance programs, grants and SMB support are available all year. These can be found below, sorted by city, county, or other categories.

Statewide BIPOC and MWBE Small Businesses Financial Aid Programs, Loans, and Support

Empire State Development 

Empire State Development operates in every city, town, and counties. They offer a variety of business development programs, including tax abatements, corporate relocations, interest-free loans, job training, etc. Moreover, they manage the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. They assist businesses certify, direct owners to different capital programs helping small businesses to finance, help MWBE businesses in New York get government contracts, and more. Click the link above to learn more about the government agency.

Free Business Grants, Counseling, and Other Resources for Central New York

Central New York Community Foundation

The Central New York Community Foundation provides financial assistance to Black owned businesses in Syracuse, Onondaga County, and the surrounding areas. This program is called the Black Equity and Excellence Fund. Nonprofits, charities, and businesses that focus on education or tech companies can apply for grants, loans, coaching and other assistance. These are open for female, black owned businesses, and Black Males owned businesses or start-ups. You can click the link above to find more information.

Black Hands Universal

Black Hands Universal provides assistance for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) businesses in Ithaca, New York. This local non-profit offers assistance with home buying, business start-ups, and other free services, such as information on how to obtain capital for a business. Click the link above to learn more about the non-profit.

Syracuse University – Institute for Veterans and Military Families

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families has a team of over 100 people who work to assist veterans. They offer entrepreneurship classes, job training, and information about how to raise capital from grants and loans. They also serve as a Kiva microloan lender. Additionally, they offer programs including Entrepreneurship Bootcamp For Veterans (EBV) Accelerator, Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Boots to Business, business classes for veteran families, and many more.

New York City and Downstate Assistance Programs for Minorities, Immigrants, Women and Others

Citizens Committee for New York City (CitizensNYC) 

Citizens Committee for New York City offers microgrants up to $10,000. This financial assistance can be used for rent, payroll, and other business operations. Moreover, this non-profit prioritizes Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and immigrants, Asian, and grants for women owned businesses in NYC. They also collaborate with other lenders, including Wells Fargo in order to provide capital. Click the link above to continue reading.

Harlem Commonwealth Council

The Harlem Commonwealth Council supports Black owned businesses in Harlem. They provide low-cost microloans, manage a Business Solution Center, and operate a learning laboratory and adult education center, minority certification programs, and many more. It is designed to assist the Black community in starting and/or growing a business. The Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF), a small dollar loan or financial assistance that can be used as Capital, is also available. Click the link above to get the details.

This is quite similar to one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in New Mexico, the WEEST.

Boost Nassau

Boost Nassau offers financial assistance for women, veteran, and minority owned small businesses in Nassau County. This multifaceted program offers everything, from emergency funds to loans, referrals to government grants, and other assistance. Additionally, they provide resources, whether for mentoring, assistance with business plan development, networking and other assistance. Click the link above to continue reading.

WE Fund Crowd

The WE Fund Crowd provides crowdfunding services and interest-free loans in partnership with non-profit Kiva for all boroughs of New York City. Start-ups, and small to mid-sized businesses are allowed to borrow up to several thousand dollars. Furthermore, financial assistance is available for NYC, immigrants, minorities, and LGBTQ+ business owners with poor credit. However, the main focus of the program is to provide funds to those who are unable to access banks or other capital. This tends to include people from inner cities, or Black, Latino, and Asian communities, among others. Click the link above to find the site to get low-cost loans.

This is quite similar to one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in North Carolina, the Greensboro Community Development Fund (GCDF).

Asian Women Giving Circle (AWGC)

Asian-owned businesses in New York City that are focused on art, social causes, inclusion, and other similar topics can apply for grants from Asian Women Giving Circle (AWGC). Furthermore, the main focus of the program is to help Asian women, and address the issues that Asians face in NYC and nationwide. Financial assistance is also provided in each. Click the link above to find out more.

Together We Thrive (TWT)

New York City (all boroughs) offers a program to assist Black Owned Businesses. The United Way established the Together We Thrive (TWT) service. You can receive referrals to financial assistance programs, and other support services. Moreover, you can get help with digital marketing, one-on-one mentoring, technical assistance, free legal advice, incubator services, and many more. Click the link above to continue reading.

Business Solutions Center

New York City (all boroughs) offers a Business Solutions Center program. The city supports businesses in starting, growing, and operating within the city. Moreover, some of the centers offer interest-free loans (0% APR) in conjunction with nonprofits like Kiva. They also provide coaching, information about marketing resources and networking, website development assistance, and several other small business programs. Click the link to find a center near you.

The Catalyst 

Entrepreneurs and small businesses in Westchester County can apply for microloans from Kiva and the Launch1000 program. Also, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center contribute to the financial aid program. These funds assist small businesses who cannot get traditional funding. This often includes veterans, LGBTQ+, women, and minority businesses, or those with poor credit. All funds will also be subject to a zero percent interest rate. Additionally, there are other incubator programs, such as free coaching from Westchester Rises. Click the link above for more information.

Small Business Grants, Interest-free Loans, and Free Business Resources in Northern NY 

Northern New York Community Foundation

Northern New York Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides free grants for other nonprofits and charities every now and then. There is also financial assistance, social, and business services offered in the counties of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence. Furthermore, the main focus is on education businesses, advocacy groups, arts and culture, and other non-profits with a “social” purpose. Click the link above to find out more.

Western New York MWBE programs

Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center

Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center in Buffalo is a resource, and it serves small businesses in Erie County. They offer assistance for veterans owned businesses (SDVOB), and M/WBE, or Women and Minority businesses. Furthermore, they provide help with financing (loans or grants), certification as M/WBE, start-up assistance, and other services. There is also support for those in Erie County, Niagara County, and other western New York areas. Click the link to apply.

Monroe County Industrial Development Agency

The Monroe County Industrial Development Agency assists small businesses, with added programs for women, veterans, and minority owned small or micro businesses. They also offer everything from networking to coaching, information about government grants, loan programs offered by partner banks and nonprofits, and other resources. Click the link above to find out more about COMIDA, County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency solutions.

Kiva Rochester Crowdfunding Loans

Kiva offers small dollar loans at 0% interest for businesses in Rochester and Monroe County. It is a crowdfunding type lender which works in conjunction with the City of Rochester. They assist new and existing businesses to get funds. However, the main focus is on Black, women, veteran, and minority owned businesses, among others. Furthermore, owners without or with poor credit history can borrow up to $10,000. The funds can be for various costs or expenses. Click the link above to apply for loans.