Top Business Loans for Minorities
In today’s business culture, there are more opportunities than ever before. Entrepreneurs meet the needs of customers and clients with skill, precision, knowledge, and professionalism. Many of these business owners are from minority groups, which highlights the need for helpful minority business loans.
Despite an open market, members of minority groups face many challenges that other groups may not experience. Some of these hurdles stem from being overlooked as owners, and other problems are financial. When it comes to building up the cash capital needed for business development and growth, many owners turn to incentives, grants, and loans.
In this article, you’ll learn why business loans can make all the difference for minority owners. You’ll also learn how much progress has been made in the realm of minority business, and what to do if you want to pursue a business loan.
Why Business Loans Matter for Minorities
Business loans can provide significant cash capital to many first-time business owners. Many entrepreneurs consider loan options when personal cash capital falls short. Banks and online lenders provide the help business owners need to reach a new level of growth.
Unfortunately, minority business owners face many challenges that non-minorities don't. Some of these issues include:
- Not being taken seriously. Despite making up a large percentage of business owners, it is sometimes difficult for minorities to prove their businesses are viable.
- Shorter business history. During the loan application process, lenders often need an established business history. For some minority groups, a longstanding history of business success is more difficult to prove.
- Focus on service-related companies. While it’s especially true for women, many minority business owners focus on service-based companies. These are seen as riskier investments to lenders, which may make it difficult to secure loans.
For these reasons, minorities may have a more difficult time securing loan options. It’s critical that lenders and other supporters help minority groups overcome these financial challenges.
Minorities in Business Statistics
The status of minority applies to individuals who are African American, Alaskan Native, American Indian, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, or Pacific Islander. Data from the United States Census Bureau shows a large rise in the number of minority-owned businesses.
Here are a few encouraging facts and statistics around business growth in minority groups.
- In 2018, employment at minority-owned businesses increased by 6.2 percent.
- California, Texas, New York, and Florida had the highest minority business growth. This is in part due to large minority populations.
- Around 268,000 minority-owned businesses are also owned by women; the highest demographic in this category is Asian-American women.
- Minority-owned businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue were less likely to be approved for loans than businesses owned by caucasians with similar performance.
Although some of the trends over the past 5 years illustrate the battles that many minority groups still face, the numbers are also extremely positive. Minority business ownership continues to grow and thrive in the United States. This is perhaps due to greater advocacy for minority groups and for more representation within the business community.
Why Take Out a Minority Business Loan?
Business loans for minorities can open many doors and create long-term success. Women and other minority business owners might use the extra cash capital to:
- Buy real estate holdings
- Expand day-to-day business operations
- Obtain goods or equipment
- Increase capital for utilities and other goods
- Endure slow seasons of hardship
Having access to many loan options reduces the burden on minorities to provide personal cash investments. A loan is a significant financial responsibility and involves substantial debt and repayment. While the benefits often outweigh the risks, it’s important to know how much money you realistically need and how much you can repay.
Who’s Eligible for a Minority Business Loan?
As with any loan option, there are certain qualifications for minority business loans. The standard requirements include:
- Classification as an ethnic minority (being at least 25% of a minority race)
- Company is at least 51% owned and operated by a minority individual
- Having a minority business enterprise (MBE) certification through the NMSDC
- Business is capitalized and controlled by someone in a minority group
While you are technically eligible for a minority business loan based on the above qualifications, many traditional loan requirements still apply. These can include a strong credit score, collateral, and business licensing documents.
6 Best Business Loans for Minorities
When comparing business loan options, it’s important to research choices that serve minorities and new businesses. Since time in business is one of the hurdles faced by minority owners, loan options should be lenient and flexible. In the list below, you’ll learn more about the six best business loans for minority borrowers.
SBA Community Advantage Loans
SBA Community Advantage loans are a great option for entrepreneurs and business owners who operate in underserved markets. These loans fall under the SBA 7(a) category and offer anywhere between $50,000 and $250,000 in financing. As with other loans in the SBA program, these loan amounts are backed by the Small Business Administration.
With Community Advantage loans, the SBA guarantees up to 85% of the total loan amount. This can help minority business owners who have trouble securing conventional loan options. The government guarantee provides an added layer of security.
Minorities, women, veterans, and underserved populations are encouraged to explore Community Advantage options to secure the business capital they need.
SBA 8(a) Business Development Program Loans
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal government has a goal to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small or disadvantaged businesses. Since this is an annual goal, it means that there are rolling opportunities every year.
The SBA 8(a) loan program helps “level the playing field” when it comes to the ability of minority business owners to contract high-paying work. To be eligible for this program, you must be certified as an official 8(a) business. Your business must also be majority-owned and operated by someone in a minority group.
To learn more about the certification process, you can visit the SBA’s certification website.
Union Bank Diversity Lending
Union Banks offers a special diversity lending program for women and minority business owners. This program offers special lending and financing opportunities that are designed to specifically meet the needs of business owners in these categories.
To qualify, a business has to be in operation for more than 2 years and to meet the same ownership qualifications as the SBA. Additionally, diversity lending applicants can’t have revenue in excess of $20 million.
This program is ideal because it offers several flexible options to borrowers. You can choose a fixed-rate, unsecured or secured term loan with repayment terms all the way up to 25 years, depending on the type of business you own.
The SBA Microloan program is perfect for small businesses and childcare centers. Daycares in particular are often owned and operated by women. Microloans are typically $50,000 or less, providing a perfect option for business owners who don’t require large sums of cash.
In fact, the average microloan amount is only $13,000. In general, smaller loan amounts also require shorter repayment terms. The average term for an SBA microloan is about 6 years.
According to the Congressional Research Service, minority-owned businesses received up to 48% of all microloans the 2018 fiscal year. Because these loans are perfect for brand new business owners, many entrepreneurs from minority groups may consider this a more viable lending option than traditional bank loans.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council Business Consortium Fund
The Business Consortium Fund (BCF) is certified through the United States Department of the Treasury. This group is committed to helping minority business owners secure financing options through a variety of unique programs.
The Business Consortium Fund is actually the nation’s most comprehensive resource for financing and business development for minorities. Business owners may be eligible for loan amounts that range from $75,000 to $500,000, depending on need and qualifications.
When you pursue a Business Consortium Fund (BCF) loan, you may be eligible for up to $500,000 in cash. The benefit of these loans is that interest rates are capped at 3%. Additionally, considerations are given for prime rate and repayment terms. These provisions are designed to help minority business owners who may otherwise struggle with conventional terms and policies.
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Loans
A Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) is a private financial institution on a mission. CDFI organizations are dedicated to helping disadvantaged or low-income businesses and owners secure a foothold in the mainstream economy. To advance this mission, CDFIs create access to better credit options, affordable financing, and other valuable resources.
With over 950 CDFIs nationwide, minority business owners have an opportunity to find a group that serves a particular population. Examples include the Bank Enterprise Award Program and Native Initiatives.
To help you locate even more options, the United States Department of the Treasury maintains an Awards Database. This database provides access to hundreds of institutions, resources, and financing options.
Know Your Potential, Grow Your Business
At The Credit Review, we understand that business owners in minority groups overcome many hurdles to make their business dreams a reality. Whether you’re fighting societal perception, funding issues, or the need for collateral, it’s important to have what you need to launch and sustain a growing business.
To help you build your business dreams with practical help and business strategy, be sure to check out 7 Best Small Business Loans for Women. This guide provides specific information about lenders and how to get started.
You can also explore our comprehensive Business Loan Reviews for everything you need to know about financing, interest rate options, and more. Start building the business of your dreams today!
How can I qualify for a minority business loan?
The first step in qualifying for a business loan is establishing yourself properly. To do this, you need to apply for a minority business enterprise (MBE) certification through the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). In order to qualify for this certification, you must be able to show that you have a for-profit business that is at least 51% owned and operated by someone from a minority group.
Is there federal assistance available to minority businesses?
The United States Department of Commerce runs and operates the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). While this organization doesn’t disperse grants directly to business owners and entrepreneurs, it does support centers throughout the United States. In turn, these organizations provide support, counseling, and educational resources to minority business owners.
How do you become a certified minority-owned business?
First, your company should qualify as a small business, as defined by the standards of the Small Business Administration. You can earn certification if your company is over 51% owned and capitalized by someone from a minority group. Formal certification is awarded through the NMSDC.
What are the advantages of having a minority-owned business?
If you have certification as a minority-owned business, you can take advantage of the programs and opportunities specifically geared toward helping minorities excel. While some of these offers are financial, others are professional in nature. This includes having access to special training sessions, resources, and support throughout each stage of your business growth.
Are there any grants available for minority businesses?
Several important and reputable organizations support minorities and offer grants and other services. These organizations include the NAACP and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Through these organizations, students may receive funding to pursue college degrees in business.
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