May business grants 1
Finding Funding

April Showers Bring May Funding: Exploring Small Business Grants and Programs for Entrepreneurs in May 

As May begins, entrepreneurs like you are on the lookout for small business grants to support their ventures. April showers bring May flowers – hopefully, this month brings you flowers of funding for your small business or startup.   

Here are 11 small business grants and programs available to diverse entrepreneurs:

Bank of America, Small Business Down Payment Program

This program supports women and minority-owned businesses. It offers a non-repayable grant of up to $25,000 on SBA owner-occupied commercial real estate loans for business locations within select areas. To be eligible, businesses must self-identify as minority or women-owned. The grant program is currently available for Owner-Occupied Commercial Real Estate (OOCRE) purchases within Opportunity Zones in your city. 

BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program

In collaboration with Deloitte, BMO invites women business owners to apply to the Celebrating Women Grant Program. This program aims to bridge the funding gap and provide resources for women entrepreneurs with physical locations (or headquarters mailing addresses) in 24 different states. Fifteen exceptional businesses will receive a $10,000 grant to support their business growth plans. The application process involves providing basic information about yourself and your business, answering short questions about your growth goals, and, if selected for the second round, submitting a short video explaining why business growth is important to you. The application deadline is May 14, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. EST. 

Corporate Counsel Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant

This grant is open to businesses that have been in operation since at least January 1, 2020. Five businesses will be selected to receive $2,500 grants. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, providing ongoing support to women of color entrepreneurs. 

Cleveland Avenue State Treasurer Urban Success Fund (CAST US)

CAST US is a $70 million initiative that aims to bridge the capital and resource gap impacting Black, Latinx and women entrepreneurs in Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods. Ideal candidates are founded by Black, Latinx and women entrepreneurs, headquartered in the South and West Side neighborhoods of Chicago, representing any industry, seeking early-stage growth capital and currently generating revenue. 

Fund Her Future Small Business Grants

Block Advisors by H&R Block is providing $100,000 in grants, plus small business services. One grand prize winner will receive a small business grant of $50,000. Additional finalists will receive a grant of $12,500. All winners will also receive services in small business taxes, bookkeeping, payroll and business structure analysis. The grant program is open to small businesses with at least 51 percent female ownership whose owners are 18 years or older and living in the U.S. Exclusions may apply. Applications are accepted until May 26, 2024. 

Galaxy Grants

Galaxy Grants, by 501(c)(3) Hidden Star, aim to help women and minority entrepreneurs succeed by providing resources, tools, funding and knowledge. They offer a $3,750 grant, which can be won by entering a simple application that only takes 30 seconds. The deadline to enter is June 30, 2024, with the winner(s) announced the following week. 

Giving Joy Grants

Women over the age of 18 are eligible to apply for a Giving Joy Grant. Winners receive microgrants between $250 and $500, which can be used to launch a business or expand an existing one. There are two application windows for this year, running from Jan. 1 – April 30 and June 1 – Sept. 30, 2024, providing multiple opportunities for women entrepreneurs to receive funding.   

HerRise MicroGrant

The HerRise MicroGrant is designed to provide financial assistance to women of color who are creating innovative solutions that have a positive impact on their community. The $1,000 grants aim to support those who often face challenges in securing funding for their small businesses. Past recipients have used their grants for various purposes such as purchasing computers, equipment, marketing materials, software and creating websites. Women of color are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, yet they encounter significant obstacles when scaling their businesses. The Yva Jourdan Foundation, the nonprofit arm of HerSuiteSpot, raises funds to help women of color entrepreneurs gain access to coaching, community, and capital needed to take their businesses to the next level.  

Hello Alice

Hello Alice helps entrepreneurs discover small business grants tailored to their unique profile. Recommended grants based on your stage of business development are delivered to your inbox weekly, making it easier to find free money for your business. 

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection: BACP Entrepreneur Certificate Program

This free program, offered by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), is for anyone interested in starting or growing a business in Chicago. Participants gain knowledge across various essential business topics. Graduates of the program, based in Chicagoland, are eligible to apply for the Entrepreneur Loan Program with BACP’s partner, CIBC Bank USA. 

Grow Program

Rogers Park Business Alliance Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Training Program: This program offers entrepreneurial training in 10 two-hour learning sessions. Participants learn how to develop a business, write a business plan, set up a business and deepen their knowledge with specialty sessions taught by subject experts. Participants also have the opportunity to meet small business loan representatives at a capital access fair dedicated to program participants. 

If you don’t think you’ve found your match yet in these May business grants, check out last month’s money roundup.

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