Since the launch of Ghana Tech Summit in 2018, GSE has worked with several local and global partners to position Ghana as a major tech hub on the continent. In 2019 we were one of the first to announce that Google opened its first Africa Artificial Intelligence lab in Ghana.
As more developments continue we realized the need to train Africa’s young workforce for these growing job opportunities within the tech sector. In 2020 we launched one of the largest Remote Work Initiatives which included a Africa Career Accelerator Program and a separate Ghana Remote Career/Internship Program. Call for 2021 applications and stakeholders are outlined below.
Congrats to Ghana and Africa’s Future!
Call for Applications:
GSE is the world’s largest career accelerator platform and to date has trained over 22,000+ young African youth for remote job opportunities. We plan to scale this reach with 25,000 African Youth in 2021 with aims to reach 100,000 by 2023.
Young people ages 18-35 can apply for the 2021 Career Accelerator Program which comes with a remote internship experience to work at GSE or any partner company in the GSE network. Applications are live here.
Check out the article round ups below!
Twitter advertises jobs in Ghana as it prepares to open first Africa office
Twitter has announced it will recruit 11 people in Ghana, the company’s first hires on the African continent, and that it is looking into opening an office there.
The social media company joins Facebook and other tech companies moving into Africa.
Twitter to set up its first African presence in Ghana
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, via a tweet, announced that the company would be setting up a presence in Africa. “Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you, Ghana and Nana Akufo-Addo,” he said.
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In a statement, Twitter says it is now actively building a team in Ghana “to be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the continent.”
Twitter indicated several roles, from product and engineering to design, marketing, and communications, for job openings in the company. However, individuals will fill these roles remotely as Twitter makes plans to establish an office in the country later.
The Global Startup Ecosystem, powered by LinkedIn and Turn Left Media are pleased to announce the cohort of leaders from Ghanian companies selected for the SME Business Masterclass on LinkedIn series. These 40 companies represent almost every major industry in Ghana from Logistics to Hospitality and Tech to Education.
The SME Business Masterclass on LinkedIn is a multi session program designed to help SME companies in Ghana build digital resilience, marketing intelligence and effective business development scaling techniques. The program will include customized Linkedin business development and marketing content training alongside partner organization program sessions on personal branding, and career development strategy for SME founders.
The program is free with no equity ask and accepted companies will also have access to $100k in free credits and perks from AWS, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud. The program takes place in March 2021.
MEMO: An initiative hosted by the Global Startup Ecosystem in partnership with Grow With Google, SAP Next-Gen, Mothers in Tech, Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, Hubspot
[New York, USA] Her Future Summit returns with the 3rd annual series to identify, train, and empower the next generation of female pioneers for jobs of the future. The Her future Summit series was launched in to accelerate humanity’s success with Sustainable Development Goal #5- Gender Equality and has quickly become the fastest growing platform for women in tech.
This virtual program features 9+ hours of awesome digital keynotes, workshops and networking sessions with the most influential women in government, business and technology. With over 100+ speakers and partners, this all day summit will support you with strategy information on the following:
Business development and scaling
Career planning and scaling
and 40+ additional content areas to help you succeed!
United States Ambassador Craig Cloud (Botswana)
United States Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor (Kolonia)
United States Chargé d’Affaires Stuart A. Dwyer (Denmark)
United Kingdom Ambassador Emma Hopkins (Denmark)
United Kingdom Ambassador Tina Redshaw (Cambodia)
Canada Ambassador Annick Goulet (Romania )
Canada Ambassador Grossman Marcy (UAE)
Christine Ntim: Founder and CEO Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE)
Tami Erwin: Executive Vice President and CEO, Verizon Business
Sherlaender “Lani” Phillips:Vice President, US Channel Sales Organization Microsoft
Elizabeth Liu: U.S. Department of State: Special Coordinator for the Young African Leaders Initiative
Anne Del Castillo : Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment at City of New York
Dr. Lisa Coleman: Senior VP for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation & Chief Diversity Officer at (NYU) New York University
Irene Arias Hofman, CEO IDB Lab (Inter Development Bank
Gina Fratarcangeli: Managing Director, Market Unit Sales Leader at Accenture
Sabrina Tharani: Director of Partnerships Mastercard Start Path
X. Eyee: Product Manager, Responsible AI :robot_face:
Petia Abdur-Razzaaq Digital Marketing Strategist, Google Google
Ty Heath: Global Lead, The B2B Institute Linkedin
Tina Eskridge: Marketing Excellence Lead Microsoft Advertising
Mina Alaghband: Customer Growth and Strategy Leader, Associate Partner McKinsey & Company
Einstein Ntim: Partner, Africa Future Fund
Mariam Braimah: Product Designer @ Netflix
Lethepu Matshaba: Vice President Homecare for Africa at Unilever S.A
In 2018 the pilot summit was launched in Port-au Prince Haiti. In 2019 the series expanded to 3 main cities including New York(USA) Sept’, London (UK) Oct’, Accra (Ghana) Dec’. The success of these previous launches led to a scale up initiative with 88 partners for 2020 where Her Future Summit was scheduled to take place in 7 global cities- DC, (USA), Silicon Valley (USA), New York (USA), Accra (Ghana), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), London (UK), and Dubai (UAE) throughout the month of March but due to the COVID19 pandemic it pivoted to the largest virtual event of the season with 100 speakers and 3,800 digital delegates.
The 2021 summit will be a virtual program with 100 speakers and 5000 digital delegates on March 26th. This will be the largest virtual summit for women to date featuring digital stakeholders from over 60+ countries. The summit also serves to teach fundamentals of future technology and the leading social impact applications of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Nanotechnology, Space, and Blockchain technologies.
This program will serve as a kick off the Her Future Career Accelerator Program- the free digital career training and remote internship program for women in tech. Apply via: Apply via: https://forms.gle/hLLwG76Yx2g2cYAJ6
The Her Future Group Initiative provides the following benefits to female entrepreneurs:
Network: Annual gatherings at Her Future Summit programs in key cities around the world to network and connect with investors, influencers and peers.
Training: Annual accelerator program to train and develop the next generation of female business moguls. By 2030, Her Future Accelerator will accelerate 1 Million female entrepreneurs.
Community: Provide an ongoing virtual community of peers, mentors and partners that provide continuous training and resources via monthly webinars, training workshops and access to continuous partner programs.
Resources: All Her Future cohort participants receive access to our partner perks and resources such as cloud credits, marketing support and tech support. Partners include AWS, IBM Cloud, Hubspot, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean etc.
For more information on tickets, sponsorships and partnerships, please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Program Powered by:
Global Startup Ecosystem
Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE): is the leading ecosystem platform that supports global development by hosting the world’s first and largest digital accelerator and via its iconic tech summit programs in target countries around the world. With a mission to educate, inspire and prepare startup communities for the digital age, GSE brings together both private and public stakeholders to address humanity’s greatest challenges via tech and entrepreneurship.
GSE is now the fastest growing tech and business community. GSE’s online network accelerates 1000+ companies a year across 90+ countries in 7 key regions-Africa, Asia, America, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East with a focus in frontier tech industries such as Space , Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and more. GSE’s offline network supports 75,000+ global delegates a year via its iconic tech summits.
The summit will also serve to kick off the first global Afro Future Accelerator Program- a 4 week program that will take place in 2021.
The 4 week program will cover the following theme areas:
Future People: Let’s start with you, the individual. Personal development training for people of African descent.
Future Places: Let’s start with your environment. During these sessions we go over the powerful histories of black cities from the stories of Egypt to black wall street to the ashanti empire.
Future Possibilities: Let’s start with your ecosystem. Careers of the future will be radically different. These sessions will go over the future industry disruptions that will occur in healthcare, energy, education, finance etc and cover ways to tackle black unemployment and prepare individuals for black careers in the digital workforce of the future.
Future Pioneers: Let’s start with your role models. Who do we highlight as influential leaders, icons and cultural pillars? This will include entrepreneurs, teachers, athletes, tech moguls and more.
MEMO: An initiative hosted by the Global Startup Ecosystem in partnership with Microsoft, Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, Hubspot, Sendgrid, & More
ATTN: Afro Future Future Summit Announces 1st Annual Program (Digital Edition) To Welcome 5,000 Global Delegates
[New York, USA- [January 11, 2021] Afro Future Summit is pleased to announce the 1st Annual (Digital) program powered by the Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE); scheduled to bring 5,000 Digital Delegates together on February 26, 2020 in partnership with in Partnership with with Microsoft, Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, Hubspot, Sendgrid, & More.
Afro Future Summit is the world’s most iconic summit curating an active network of black futurists, investors, tech entrepreneurs, celebrities, politicians and business moguls. Each year the program gathers thousands of pioneers from across the USA and around the world to address and tackle challenges that affect the people of african descent.
This year’s program structure is action packed with debate round tables, workshops, interactive demos, partner matching, networking sessions and expert panels. During the course of activities involved in the summit, speakers frontier tech investments, startup development and ecosystem building. The program concludes with a high profile call to action VIP session with summit speakers, sponsors and partners.
Dear Small Business Owner, $284 billion was just allocated for another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a forgivable business loan offered through the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Determine How Much You Can Apply For You can apply for up to $2 million or 2.5 times your monthly payroll, whichever is less – if you are a restaurant or a hotel, you can apply for 3.5 times your monthly payroll up to $2 million. Loans will be forgiven (meaning you do not need to pay them back) if you use them for eligible expenses, including 60% for payroll expenses and 40% for other eligible operating expenses.
Small Business for America’s Future Informational Session: SBAF Co-Chair Anne Zimmerman, a small business CPA, hosted a discussion on the latest round of PPP, walking people through the details of the new program and answer small business owner questions. View recording here. Check out top resources here:
1) The National Association For The Self-Employed Growth Grants
Submission Dates: Growth Grant applications can be submitted year-round. Applications received in January through March will be reviewed in April. Applications received in April through June will be reviewed in July. Applications received in July through September will be reviewed in October. Applications received in October through December will be reviewed in January of the following year.
Entry Requirements: Applications are open to members of the NASE that are in good standing. You must also demonstrate a specific need for the grant, provide a detailed explanation of how grant funds will be used, show how the grant will improve business growth and success, and offer up documentation to support your request.
The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) is a nonprofit trade association that gives grants and provides educational resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Its Growth Grants Program lets small business owners apply for grant financing for a particular small business need.
These grants are worth up to $4,000 each. While you won’t hit the funding mother lode with the NASE, it’s a great resource for minority business owners with a specific, defined funding need. You’ll need to join the NASE to apply for a grant, and you’ll need to explain in detail how you’ll use the funds and how this funding will bolster your business operations. Annual membership costs $120/year, or you can opt for a monthly membership starting at $11.95/month.
2) FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Submission Dates: The submission date for the 2021 contest has yet to be announced. However, the submission period typically opens in February and is open for one month. Interested applicants can sign up for FedEx emails to receive updates.
Entry Requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years old. All applicants must operate a US-based for-profit small business with 50 or fewer employees and less than $5 million in annual sales revenue. All applicants must also have shipped or plan to ship within the next 12 months as part of their business. Nonprofits, resellers, franchises, and independent consultants are ineligible to apply.
The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is a nationwide competition held annually to award grants in the form of cash and prizes (such as credits for FedEx services) to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The amount awarded to contest winners and the number of grant recipients varies year-to-year. The 2021 competition details will be unveiled when the next round is announced early in the new year.
In 2020, the top prize was a $50,000 business grant plus $7,500 in FedEx print and business services. Smaller prizes are also available. For the 2020 contest, there were a total of 12 winners of the FedEx Small Business grant.
3) National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
Submission Dates: The opening date for the 2021 competition has yet to be announced. Once the submission period opens, entrants have until August to submit their pitches.
Entry Requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years old and a US resident. All ideas submitted must be the original work of the applicant. All applicants must disclose any funding previously received. The business founder must be Black or of African descent and have an equal stake in the business. The applicant or at least one team member must be a member of the National Black MBA Association.
Since 2017, the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) has recognized scalable startups through its Scale-Up Pitch Challenge. This competition gives startups a chance to connect with investors and venture capitalists. Additionally, winners may be awarded prizes from $1,000 up to $50,000 for their pitches.
Interested applicants can submit their pitch and a Powerpoint presentation. Select participants will then be invited to pitch their ideas to a team of experts for a shot at winning a cash prize.
4) Sephora Accelerate
Submission Dates: Application information, requirements, and deadlines will be posted to the Sephora Accelerate website on October 1, 2021, for the 2022 competition.
Entry Requirements: All applicants must be at least 18 years old and own an early-stage brand that’s not yet widely distributed. Applicants should at least have a sample or prototype before applying. Must have a merchandise product brand, such as makeup, skincare, fragrance, hair care, and wellness.
The beauty retailer Sephora is giving back to minorities. The company already signed the Fifteen Percent Pledge by committing at least 15% of shelf space to black-owned businesses. Sephora goes a step further to help aspiring entrepreneurs with grants for minorities through the Sephora Accelerate program.
If selected for the program, winners will complete a six-month program that includes two all-expense-paid trips for program events, mentoring, and a hands-on boot camp. Winners will also receive a monetary grant and be eligible for additional funding. Sephora’s goal is to ensure that all products created by winners are launched in Sephora stores at the end of the program.
5) Asian Women Giving Circle Grants
Submission Dates: A Request for Proposals is typically released each January. Applications are due in March. Grant winners are selected and funds are distributed in June.
Entry Requirements: This grant is available to Asian American women-owned businesses. Per the organization, grants are awarded to “individual artists and community groups that contribute to progressive social and political change.”
The Asian Women Giving Circle has raised and distributed over $1 million in funding to Asian American women-owned businesses. This also includes artists in theater, dancing, and film. Recipients of these grants have contributed to progressive social and political change through documentaries, choreography, visual arts, street festivals, and workshops.
In 2020, the AWGC gave $67,500 in grant funds to 11 recipients, with individual awards ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. The number of recipients and submission dates vary each year, but information about applying for grants is typically released in January.
6) Coalition To Back Black Businesses Fund
Submission Dates: The submission period for 2020-2021 is currently closed. However, interest forms are expected to be available again in September 2021 for the next round of rolling grants.
Entry Requirements: Applicants must be a Black-owned business in an eligible industry. Eligible businesses must employ between three and 20 people. Businesses must also be located in an economically vulnerable community and have been impacted by the coronavirus.
The coronavirus hit small businesses hard in 2020, and the effects are expected to be felt for years to come — especially in economically vulnerable areas. This is why a number of organizations, including American Express, Stanley Black & Decker, and the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, came together to form the Coalition to Back Black Businesses.
This initiative is set to run through 2023 and provides Black business owners impacted by the coronavirus with free business grants for minorities. Grants are valued at $5,000 and will be distributed on a rolling basis to hundreds of eligible small businesses throughout the fall.
7) SoGal Foundation Black Founder Startup Grant
Submission Dates: This is a rolling grant program with grants awarded at the end of each month.
Entry Requirements: To qualify, applicants must be a Black woman or Black nonbinary entrepreneur. Multiracial black applicants may also apply. All entrants must have a registered business, plan to seek investor financing in the future, and have a scalable business or idea.
The SoGal Foundation has teamed up with businesses such as Winky Lux and Bluemercury to launch the Black Founder Startup Grant. This program is designed to provide Black women and Black nonbinary entrepreneurs with grants to start or further their businesses.
This program provides grants of $5,000 and $10,000 to select entrants. Additionally, winners also receive lifetime access to the SoGal Foundation and SoGal Ventures teams. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and awards are given at the end of each month.
8) Rebuild The Block Grants
Submission Dates: Funding deadlines are the third Friday of every month.
Entry Requirements: Applicants must be a Black-owned small business that was impacted by COVID-19 or looting destruction. Businesses must have been launched on or before January 1, 2020. All applicants must be able to verify the legitimacy of the business and any financial losses incurred.
Rebuild the Block’s mission is to “rebuild the block through the organic growth of resources by redistributing wealth and knowledge to the Black community.” One of the ways that Rebuild the Block is helping is with its Small Business Relief Fund.
Through this program, Black-owned small businesses affected by coronavirus or looting can receive monetary grants. Up to 15 winners are selected each month. The organization does not specify the monetary value of its grants, but it has given out over 20 grants and has a fundraising goal of $1 million to help Black-owned businesses. Freelancers and creative entrepreneurs are also eligible to apply for this program.
9) NAACP X Bacardi Backing The B.A.R. Acceleration Grants
Submission Dates: Currently open; no deadline given.
Entry Requirements: Grant submissions are open to Black-owned businesses in the beverage alcohol service, sales, and hospitality industries. Applicants must have a liquor license or be in the process of obtaining one.
The NAACP has joined forces with Bacardi to offer Backing the B.A.R. Acceleration Grants to eligible business owners. All businesses that receive this grant must be Black-owned and in the beverage service, sales, and hospitality industries. This includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs, lounges, liquor stores, or other small businesses that have or are working to obtain a liquor license.
The ideal recipient, per the NAACP website, should be looking for support to accelerate their business. Under this program, grants of $10,000 will be awarded to winners. Over $350,000 in grants, support, education, and other entrepreneurial resources will be provided through this program.
10) Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants
Submission Dates: Currently open. Application deadline is May 1, 2021
Entry Requirements: Submissions are open to for-profit businesses that are at least 51% owned by a Black woman-identifying individual.
You read right. This year we are rolling out our Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants program, which aims to help the businesses we’ve been advising for years also get some funding. In our inaugural year, we’re offering $10,000 grants to four businesses owned in majority by Black women in recognition of the challenges they face in starting, and particularly financing, a business.
We’re trying to keep the application process simple. If you qualify, jump over to the application page and tell us about yourself and your company (your services, the people you employ, the impact your business has on your community, etc.). We’re not placing too many restrictions on what the money can be used for so long as it’s in the service of your business. There’s only one real catch: we require that you meet speak with one of our writers a minimum of six times to provide updates and images of your business.
Government Grant Resources For Minorities
Grants.gov doesn’t originate grants; rather, it’s a searchable database of every grant program from across all 26 grant-making agencies of the federal government. It’s a valuable resource, though the website is pretty clunky. There is also a Grants.gov app available on the App Store and Google Play.
To apply for federal grants, you must do the following:
Note that most federal grant money is earmarked for institutions involved in healthcare, scientific research, education, and social services, with most grant funding going to city governments or nonprofits rather than for-profit businesses. However, some federal grant opportunities are geared toward minority business enterprises (MBEs) within those fields and possibly some other fields. As local governments often receive and redistribute federal grant money, you might also be able to find pertinent opportunities for government grants for minorities through the website of your local city government.
USDA Rural Business Development Grant
For minorities in rural areas, this grant, issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, is an attractive prospect. In the words of the USDA:
This program is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas which will employ 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in gross revenue.
Note that this is not a grant you apply for directly from the federal government; towns, communities, state agencies, and nonprofits can qualify for the grant. Then, these entities distribute those funds as they see fit. Contact your local USDA Rural Development office to find out what’s on offer in your state.
Minority Business Development Agency
An agency of the US Department of Commerce, the purpose of the Minority Business Development Agency, or MBDA, is to help connect minority business owners to federal contracts and other financial resources. The agency also has historically periodically awarded grants to minority-owned companies for specific purposes.
There are MBDA centers in many major cities that can assist you in finding funding. From helping you find grants and loans to providing marketing and legal assistance, the MBDA’s physical business centers are set up to offer a range of services to minority business owners and entrepreneurs. Here’s a searchable directory of these MBDA business centers.
Office Of Minority Health Grant Programs
A division of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) offers grants to businesses whose mission is to eliminate health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations. Keep an eye on the OMH website to learn about grant opportunities when they are announced.
Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Grant
This grant program is funded by the US Department of Indian Affairs and is intended to support Native American and Alaskan Native business owners. Currently, there isn’t a great deal of information posted on the grants being offered; you can always contact the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development to learn how the program stands to benefit your business.
State Government Grants
As mentioned, federal grant money is usually awarded to local governments and nonprofit entities, which may then redistribute eligible funds to small businesses in their region. Local governments can also use local state and city taxes to fund business grants. So be sure to search for government grants particular to minority-owned businesses in your city and state.
Are you looking for additional resources? Check out these options — from SCORE’s mentoring service to other funding sources for your small business.
One organization that can get you pointed in the right direction in your quest for business funding is SCORE. It’s an SBA partner and provides mentoring services to small business owners and entrepreneurs from over 300 chapters across the country. SCORE also provides online webinars and business courses.
Venture Capital Financing For Minority-Owned Businesses
VC funding is not a grant per se, as the venture capitalists who invest capital in your company (this capital is also called “seed money” or “seed funding”) receive ownership in your company in exchange for their investment. However, VC funding can be a viable source of capital for some businesses, especially tech startups. There is also a growing list of VC groups that specifically invest in minority-owned businesses. And while venture capitalists still give most of their money to white men, there are many more VC funding opportunities for minorities than there are grants for minorities.
Here are just a few VC investors that provide seed money to minority-owned businesses:
New Voices: “New Voices provides capital for startups, established businesses, and community-based enterprises led by women of color entrepreneurs.”
Kapor Capital: “Kapor Capital invests in tech-driven early-stage companies committed to closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities and/or communities of color in the United States. We are particularly interested in those that address gaps of disproportionate relevance to African-Americans and Latinx communities.”
Access Latina: “Access Latina is a nonprofit accelerator that empowers Latin American women in Puerto Rico, US mainland, and Latin America by providing access capital, knowledge acquisition, and public policy. The program also provides investment resources to women-owned businesses with high-growth potential via a yearly competition in agriculture, social innovation, and STEAM industries. Although Access Latina does not invest directly, it provides capital through grants, loans, crowdfunding round with Kiva Zip, and other accelerators.”
Keep in mind that VCs typically invest in high-growth startups that are already turning a strong profit (e.g., $500K/year). Angel investors — affluent individuals who invest their private money into startups — may invest lesser amounts at an earlier stage of the startup process.
SBA 8(a) Business Certification
While there are a limited number of federal grants for minorities for business needs, it does set aside a certain portion of federal contracts to disadvantaged businesses, including minority-owned businesses. If your business is eligible for federal contracts — for example, you have a construction business or manufacture goods that government agencies purchase — then it’s a good idea to get an 8(a) small disadvantaged business certification, as this status can help you get contracts.
An 8(a) small business is any business where the owner(s) is socially and economically disadvantaged. This includes any minority-owned small business where the owner is also economically disadvantaged; see the specific criteria on the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program page.
You can apply for 8(a) status through the certify.SBA.gov website. If you are a woman, you can also apply for Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) status on that same website.
Note that there are various other organizations that offer minority-owned business certifications. Other MBE certifications from reputable organizations may still offer some benefits and could help you qualify for business financing in general. However, you will need certification from the SBA or another government agency (such as the EPA or DOT) to receive preference for federal contracts.
Business Grants For Minorities: Final Thoughts
Entrepreneurial talent can be found in every community across this land. Sadly, social and structural barriers to equality persist. Small business grants are but one means by which minority small business owners can get some ever-elusive funding. For other such means, check out our article on the various types of alternative financing available for small businesses.
Afro Future Summit is the world’s most iconic summit curating an active network of black futurists, investors, tech entrepreneurs, celebrities, politicians and business moguls. Each year the program gathers thousands of pioneers from across the USA and around the world to address and tackle challenges that affect the people of african descent.
Great news: our first-annual Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grant Program has launched. The program will award $10,000 grants to a total of four businesses each year. This year, our Opportunity Grants will focus on businesses owned by Black women. Our latest data study, The 10 Best States for Black Female Business Owners, shows that Black women are severely underrepresented in the business community—despite equaling roughly 7% of the US population, our research found that Black women run 0.74% of all employer firms in the country.
In addition to receiving a $10,000 grant, each business selected will be profiled on our site over the next year, giving the winners a chance to share their small business story, promote their brand, and raise awareness about the problem their business addresses. Learn more here: Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants
2. Amber Grant
Submission dates: The submission deadline is on the last day of every month; the winner is announced in the first week of the following month.
Entry requirements: Open to all female entrepreneurs age 18 and up living in the United States or Canada and who pay a $15 application fee.
This grant isn’t for a very large amount of money, but it is easy to qualify and apply for. Named after a young woman named Amber died before being able to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams, the Amber Grant awards $10,000 to a woman-owned business every month. At the end of the year, one of the 12 monthly qualification winners wins another grant for $25,000.
3. Cartier Women’s Initiative
Submission dates: The 2021 submission deadline was July 31, 2020, and applicants who have not been selected will be informed of the status of their application by March 2021. The next call for applications has been postponed to Spring 2022.
Entry requirements: Open to women-run, for-profit, early-stage, revenue-generating, sustainable businesses from any country; Science & Technology Pioneer Award applicants must also be in the field of technology or scientific innovation.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is one of the largest and most prestigious women-owned business grants, but the competition is steep.
Cartier offers two different grants for women-owned businesses: The Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Awards provides seven laureates (one from each of seven global regions) $100,000 each, and 14 finalists (2nd and 3rd runner-up businesses from each region) $30,000 each. Cartier’s Science & Technology Pioneer Award provides one $100,000 grant to the winner and two $30,000 grants to the runners up.
4. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
Submission dates: The 2021 submission deadline was November 12, 2020; you can apply again in Fall 2021.
Entry requirements: Open to women-run, for-profit, early-stage, revenue-generating ($75,000 minimum strongly preferred) businesses operating in the US.
Each spring, up to 50 finalists of this women-owned business grant competition are selected for a $5,000 grant to be used for business education. The finalists also receive a one-year Tory Burch Fellowship and a free 5-day trip to Tory Burch Offices in NYC over the summer.
The free trip includes a workshop, networking opportunities, and a Pitch Day event where a select group of finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their business to industry influencers (pending CDC travel and event guidelines during COVID). Note that the $5,000 grant cannot be used for purposes other than business education.
5. Girlboss Foundation
November 2020 update: The Girlboss Foundation Grant Program is currently paused.
Submission dates: You can apply in June for the first cycle of the year, and in December for the second cycle.
Entry requirements: Open to US-based, female-identifying creative business owners (in design, fashion, music, and the arts) who are 18 or older.
Launched in 2014, The Girlboss Foundation funds female entrepreneurs pursuing creative endeavors. Specifically, these semi-annual grants are for women in the fields of art, fashion, design, and music. Every six months, one grant beneficiary receives $15,000 to be used for a creative project within the following 12 months, in addition to online media exposure. Note that the Girlboss Foundation only awards grants to individuals; GB can award the grant to an individual representing a business, but not to a business as an entity.
Girlboss also hosts the annual Girlboss Rally — which grant recipients receive two free tickets to –and runs the Girlboss Professional Network job marketplace for women.
6. Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition
Submission dates: Applications for the next WFN grant open in Spring 2021.
Entry requirements: Open to early-stage, women-owned businesses with high growth potential. Must be US based and have received no more than $1m in outside funding.
The Women Founders Network is an organization that provides both capital and mentorship to women business owners. WFN is an excellent grant opportunity if you have an innovative company that you want to take to the next level. The organization’s Fast Pitch competition selects five finalists to receive free grant money and free professional services each year. Through two rounds of voting, judges select the five top female founders, who then pitch their companies in a “Shark Tank”-style competition to compete for more than $30,000 in cash prizes and over $50,000 in professional services.
7. 37 Angels
Submission dates: 8 finalists are selected every 2 months to pitch their company; the next application cutoff is February 8, 2021, and upcoming pitch dates for 2021 are Feb 19, Apr 30, and Jun 25.
Entry requirements: Open to early-stage, high-growth companies in attractive markets like technology and B2B/B2C.
Angel investment isn’t a grant, per se, as the investors that fund you will have an interest in your company. But angel investing can be a good option for women-owned startups who could benefit from some direction and industry expertise in growing their company, as well as the funds to do so. NYC-based 37 Angels is an angel investment group designed to close the gender gap in angel investing. The grant is open to both women and men-led companies (but the group’s portfolio favors woman founders).
There’s a simple online application to apply for funding, and if you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll pitch your company to a group of investors in New York. You should receive a decision within 4-weeks of pitching, and most angels receive $50,000 to $100,000 in seed funding, along with professional help growing their company.
8. Halstead Grant
Submission dates: The deadline is August 1 each year. Postmark your 2021 grant application by August 1, 2021.
Entry requirements: Open to US jewelry designers who work primarily in silver, have been in business 3-5 years, and are pursuing jewelry design as a full-time career (not a hobby or part-time job).
Halstead Grants are annual grants given to emerging metal jewelry designers. While this grant is not strictly for women, I’m including it on our list, as the jewelry industry is mostly female-dominated, and most (but not all) of the past winners of this grant have been women. The grant consists of $7,500 in startup capital and $1,000 in Halstead merchandise. Note that as part of the application, you must submit a jewelry collection.
9. Women Who Tech
Submission dates: Applications for the 2021 Women Who Tech Emerging Tech grant opened February 1, 2021.
Entry requirements: Open to North America-based, women-owned startups in tech that have already raised $50K in seed revenue or that are already generating revenue.
Women Who Tech is the largest network of women-led startups, investors, and allies working to increase diversity and funding in the technology sector. The organization awards equity-free grants to women-led tech startups on a rolling basis throughout the year. For each grant period, there is a different theme. For the first grant period of 2021, the theme is Emerging Tech; applicants should be focused on emerging technologies to solve systemic global problems.
The first place prize for the Women Who Tech Emerging Tech grant is $15,000, and the second-place awardee will receive $5,000.
What About The InnovateHer Women Business Challenge?
There was previously a nationwide SBA business grant competition for women called the InnovateHer Challenge, organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. The InnovateHer Challenge awarded federal grant money to three finalists every year from 2015–2017. These grants were reserved for businesses that used innovation to improve the lives of women. Among the group of winners who applied in 2016, the first place won $40,000; second place received $20,000; third place got $10,000.
Unfortunately, this SBA grant quietly disappeared during the Trump administration, but we’ll let you know if this program, or any other SBA grant for women, is funded under the new Biden administration.
Other Business Grant Resources For Women
Here is some more information on grants for women in business, as well as other opportunities and ideas for business financing.
Note that the SBA does offer some resources for women-owned businesses, even if it doesn’t necessarily offer actual cash-money. For example, the Women Veteran Entrepreneurial Training Program can help you get free business training if you are both a woman and a veteran. You can (and should) also check with your local SBA Women’s Business Center (WBC) to see what local business resources they can connect you with. These resources may, potentially, include local women-in-business grants specific to your city or state.
Federal Contracts For Women-Owned Businesses
If you think your business could be eligible for federal contracts, you should also know that the government reserves a certain percentage of federal contracts for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) in industries where women are underrepresented. Some examples are forestry, construction, HVAC, manufacturing, and many, many others you might not expect, such as beauty salons, nail salons, family planning centers, and women’s apparel manufacturing. Some federal contracts are even restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). So, if you own a business in a male-dominated field, which is pretty much all of them, be sure to look into this program.
There are some business crowdfunding platforms you can use to raise money for your woman-owned-business. In most cases, you may need to offer backers a tangible reward or even equity in your business in exchange for funding. However, with some platforms such as Kiva, you can raise up to $10,000 for your business, with no strings attached. Read Types Of Crowdfunding For Businesses: Rewards, Equity, Debt, & Donations to learn more about your business crowdfunding options.
For many women business owners, a business loan might be the most viable option for funding. Unlike a grant, you do have to pay loans back—but they’re much easier to get. The following resources go over the best business loan options for women:
Want to learn more about how business grants work and how to find and apply for one? We’ve published numerous informative articles on small business grants you can use to educate yourself about grants in general. Here are a few to get you started:
Welcome to one of the world’s largest online conference for women in business and tech!
This virtual program features 9+ hours of awesome digital keynotes, workshops and networking sessions with the most influential women in government, business and technology. With over 100+ speakers and partners this all day summit will support you with strategy information on the following:
Business development and scaling
Career planning and scaling
and 40+ additional content areas to help you succeed!
The Global Startup Ecosystem returns with the 3rd annual Ghana Tech Summit hosted in partnership with accelerator partners IBM Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, Sendgrid, and more. The free program To take place on December 10, 2020 (7am – 3pm EST) will feature 8 hours of live content, 50 speakers and partners, and 3000 attendees.
Ghana Tech Summit brings together hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, digital marketers and creatives under one roof together to address humanity’s greatest challenges via technology and entrepreneurship under the mandate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
As one of West Africa’s largest tech summit, the 2018 launch edition was trending #2 on twitter, galvanizing 100 speakers and 1000 attendees, and announced to over 573, 420 global participants in just 2 days. The 2019 2nd annual edition returned with a top line up of tier companies with the new theme: “Year of Return- Sankofa – Redefining Our Future of Africa”. This edition welcomed 100 speakers and 2000 attendees.
For the 2020 3rd annual digital edition- The featured theme will be “Beyond the Return: The Decade for Africa” welcoming 100 speakers and partners and 3000+ digital delegates. This free live summit event will welcome hundreds of digital delegates from across Ghana and around the world to discuss the future of employment, entrepreneurship, and education in Ghana as the country faces its highest level of youth unemployment. Insights and initiatives leveraging tech and innovative inclusive ways to accelerate the future of Ghana will be discussed.
We are also pleased to announce our lead partner Linkedin to the program who will be hosting a series of sessions at the summit.
Ghana Tech Summit has a long term roadmap as a 13 year initiative of the Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE) – the World’s first and largest digital accelerator that accelerates 1,000 companies to market annually across 90 countries entirely online.
The Global Startup Ecosystem returns with the 2nd annual Nigeria Tech Summit sponsored by the US Embassy of Nigeria and hosted in partnership with accelerator partners IBM Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, Sendgrid, and more. The free program To take place on December 4, 2020 (9am-5pm EST) will feature 8 hours of live content, 50 speakers and partners, and 5000 attendees.
Earlier this year the Global Startup Ecosystem hosted Nigeria’s first and largest digital entrepreneurship accelerator in partnership with Forbes Magazine supporting 200 Nigerian SME/Startups.
This free live summit event will welcome hundreds of digital delegates from across Nigeria and around the world to discuss the future of employment, entrepreneurship, and education in Nigeria as the country faces its highest level of youth unemployment and civic unrest. Insights and initiatives leveraging tech and innovative inclusive ways to accelerate the future of Nigeria will be discussed.
For the launch of the 2nd annual Nigeria Tech Summit, we announced a Start-up Lab Virtual Bootcamp Accelerator with global mentors. Selected delegates will get free access to the summit, mentorship, and a pitch competition opportunity to present to summit sponsors and partners at the summit. The cohort will also receive close to $100k+ in free credits and discount perks from partner organizations AWS, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud, Sendgrid and more post completion of the program.
Over 4,500 entrepreneurs from across Nigeria Applied. 100+ companies were selected. The top 5 below will present their companies thanks to a global community of 19,800 votes.