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7 loans and grants for LGBTQ+ business owners in the US

In this post we'll go over 7 places in the US where you can get business loans or grants as a LGBTQ+ business owner.

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Starting and growing a business is a hard endeavor. It’s even harder if you’re an LGBTQ+ entrepreneur because traditional loans and grants are not always an option even in 2021. LGBTQ+ business owners are less likely to be approved for loans and more likely to be charged higher fees if they get approved, according to a recent NCRC study.

Unfortunately, businesses need credit to grow. Whether for capital injection, meeting business expenses, or building business credit, every company can use a business loan or grant from time to time. And this is the one area where LGBTQ+ business owners struggle more than their straight counterparts, even though they contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy.

Here are 7 places in the US where you can get business loans or grants as a LGBTQ+ business owner.

SF LGBTQ x Nearside

Type: Grant

The SF LGBT Center acts as a link between the LGBTQ+ community and resources, opportunities, and each other. In doing so, the non-profit organization supports the needs of the community, including financial requirements of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. This assistance entails (among other things) the creation of training and funding programs.

One such program is the New Entrepreneur Training Program, where SF LGBT Center and Nearside partner to fund LGBTQ+ businesses to a tune of $5,000. This free program kicked off on 15th September, 2021. Join today for a chance to get a $5,000 grant that you can use to grow your business in any way you want.

Click here to learn more about this loan and future partnerships.

The David Bohnett Foundation

Type: Grant

The David Bohnett Foundation has been giving grants to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs since 1999. Amounts range from $500 through $10,000. It all depends on the type of grant you apply for.

To make everyone’s work that bit easier, the David Bohnett Foundation has dedicated a section of their website to the LGBT community. Simply head over there and pick a grant that you feel may help your business. So far, the foundation has given away in excess of $23 million worth of grants. There’s usually at least $1 million per year, and your business can be one of the beneficiaries of this year’s fund.

Arcus Foundation

Type: Grant

The Arcus Foundation is a great place to check if your business makes deliberate efforts to advance social justice for the LGBTQ+ community. With grants that total as much as $15 million per year, the foundation focuses on individuals and businesses who are working to create a more equitable world.

They also have another grant for businesses and people who are working to save gibbons and great apes. If your company has such a CSR program, then your chances of getting the grant have more than doubled. You can apply online through the Arcus Foundation website.

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

Type: Grant

Astraea should probably be top on this list of 7 places in the US where you can get business loans or grants as a LGBTQ+ business owner. The organization doesn’t just offer grants to LGBTQ+ businesses, but it also champions for the rights of other minorities. This includes fighting for racial, gender and economic justice.

The Astraea Foundation has many different grants for specific groups. One is specially for intersex business owners (and individuals). In addition, there’s a grant for minority groups that are based in the U.S., another one for global minority groups and a final one for Global Arts funds. Amounts range from $5,000 to $30,000.

Coca-Cola Foundation

Type: Grant

Although it’s more suitable for startups, the Coca-Cola Foundation grant is still available to businesses that are already up and running. It is particularly great if your business is focused on sustainability. That’s the main mission of the Coca-Cola foundation – empowering minority groups while at the same time enhancing sustainability through local groups and businesses.

Since its founding, the foundation has given away over $1 billion, which includes $186 million in 2020. For eligibility and application guidelines, please check the Coca-Cola Company website.

Accion Opportunity Fund

Type: Loan

Popularly known as Opportunity Fund, Accion is a nonprofit microloan company that prides itself in lending to the LGBTQ+ community. The company has a particularly soft spot for underrepresented borrowers who are pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams but can’t access traditional loans.

You can get term loans that range from $500 to $150,000. But you do need a decent credit score (at least 600) to score their most affordable loan products. They may also require a personal guarantee or asset collateral in some cases.

Traditional Loans

Type: Loan

They are not the easiest to get, but traditional business loans are still very much available. Banks and online lenders have tailored credit facilities for small businesses, including LGBTQ+-owned companies. Term loans are the most affordable while short-term loans are typically easier to qualify for. You may easily get your hands on a loan with low rates and affordable fees if your business and personal credits are great.

Need more funding options for your company? Here’s a list with more loan and grant alternatives for small businesses. They’re all great if you’re looking for startup or expansion capital.

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