MBDA to Administer Grants for Minority Entrepreneurs

Minority-owned businesses were hard hit by the pandemic.

Source : MBDA

January 14, 2023

Author : Alex Bustillos

The United States Department of Commerce has announced the start of the Capital Readiness Program grant competition. It will allocate $93.5 million to support minority and underrepresented entrepreneurs to expand and scale their enterprises. 

The Capital Readiness Program will fund incubators and accelerators across the country, assisting and training minority entrepreneurs seeking resources, skills, and technical assistance to establish or scale their enterprises in high-growth areas. The Commerce Department's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) intends to finance proposals of up to $3 million per recipient over four years.

As reported by Contractor News, many minority-owned businesses were hard hit by the pandemic. A whopping 80 percent of minority businesses shut down within their first eighteen months, according to a CNBC report in early 2021.

According to the report, African American small business owners shut down at twice the rate of small businesses owned by white people during the coronavirus pandemic. 

MBDA is the only federal agency in the United States dedicated solely to supporting businesses owned by minority groups. It intends to eliminate the barriers which impede these groups from scaling their businesses. The agency is devoted to offering technical assistance and helping companies apply initiatives that support small businesses.

“This new program reflects President (Joe) Biden's and the Commerce Department's continued historic commitment to underserved business owners and entrepreneurs," US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo explained. “During the pandemic, women and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs were among the hardest hit, often lacking the resources they needed to keep their doors open.

The Capital Readiness Program is supported by the Department of Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). This program provides $10 billion to American territories and Tribal governments intending to target underserved communities and promote entrepreneurship, increasing access to capital and assisting businesses to scale.

According to the Commerce Department, the Capital Readiness Program would help "entrepreneurs and businesses that are applying, have applied, or plan to apply to SSBCI or other government programs that support small businesses."

Non-profit organizations, commercial sector enterprises, institutes of higher education, and a consortium of two or more of the above-mentioned eligible candidates are all eligible to apply. To address one of the most significant hurdles to women's advancement in the workplace, the competition encourages applicants to make childcare options, such as on-site daycare, a strategic focus. 

In addition, the competition encourages applications from groups working to break down economic obstacles for underprivileged communities and promote traditionally underrepresented, high-growth businesses while growing the American economy.

“We know that entrepreneurs and small businesses in underserved communities have long lacked equal access to resources and capital to reach their full economic potential,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo.

Beginning in January, MBDA will hold a series of pre-application educational webinars. The seminars will help potential candidates understand the program and the application requirements provided in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The webinars are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 10, 17, and 24.

The last day for applying is February 28. Following this, the Commerce Department will award grants to selected organizations.

“The Capital Readiness Program will open doors for entrepreneurs,” said Donald Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of the Minority Business Development Agency.

Category : Minority Business Enterprises Minority Women Business Enterprises Diversity Outreach Federal Government

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