Minority-Owned Businesses: These Resources Will Turn You into a Boss

Minority-Owned Businesses:  These Resources Will Turn You into a Boss

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

Shirley Chisholm, the first African American female elected to Congress back in 1968, offered these powerful words. She introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and advocated for racial and gender equality as well as the end to the Vietnam War. Chisholm would later make another first – seeking the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. 

She wasn’t kidding about cleaning up the most iconic house in America. Her political approach earned her the nickname, “Fighting Shirley” and her legacy opened the doors for women like me who take pride in owning and operating a thriving business.


According to Guidant Financial’s survey, the number of African American small business owners in the United States has increased by a whopping 400% in just a year. Sixty-two percent of African American small business owners began their ventures as a way to pursue their passions. Another 53 percent cited they wanted to be their own boss.  

With the number of minority-owned businesses increasing, so are the available resources. We’ve compiled this helpful list in honor of Black History Month (and our seat at the table). 


FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: The Fedex annual grant contest awards ten small businesses with grants of up to $25,000. Initiated in 2013, FedEx has awarded more than $375,000 in grants to entrepreneurs. And any for-profit small business that has been operating for at least six months will be eligible to enter. Don’t wait… the contest begins on February 19th!

There are specialized funding avenues that can also help you finance your business goals including federal and local grants, crowdsourcing and small business loans. This helpful article provides information on how to find them and their qualifications.


National Association for the Self-Employed: This nonprofit trade association provides educational resources and grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Grants can be used for marketing, advertising, hiring employees, expanding facilities and other specific business needs. For the chance to apply for up to $4,000 in assistance:

  • Become an active member of the association
  • Provide a detailed explanation of how you’ll use the funds
  • Demonstrate overall how the grant will support your business expansion

Operation Hope’s Small Business Development Program: A 12-week Entrepreneurship Training Program program that’s designed to empower aspiring entrepreneurs. It offers the tools and skills to successfully navigate the path to small business ownership—combining business training, personal development, access to professional services, and financial counseling through partnerships with a direct network. Project Hope is especially dedicated to helping those in underserved communities. 

SCORE A resource partner of the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) that helps entrepreneurs at any stage of business ownership. The organization has a volunteer network of over 10,000 business mentors in 300 chapters nationwide. Coaching and guidance is the lifeblood of the program… and what business owner couldn’t use a shoulder to lean on?


U.S. Minority Chambers of CommerceA local and national advocacy group for minority-led entrepreneurs designed to champion favorable legislation, financial capital, and peer-to-peer networking. The Chamber is dedicated to removing the limitations placed on African American-owned enterprises.


8(a) and Minority & Women Business Enterprise CertificationThis SBA8(a) Business Development program helps small disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market. With certification, minority and women-owned firms capable of producing quality products and services at competitive prices have a better position, according to the New York SBDC. This resource is particularly helpful to those wanting to compete in the Federal contracting space. 

Isn’t it time that you ignite your own “Fighting Shirley?” Anything, any dream worth having, can be your life’s work. And like so many who have pioneered a piece of our history, you can blaze a trail too.

For a bit more inspiration, learn about my story here. In just a few short years, Jidan Cleaning has become one of Philadelphia’s top 100 fastest growing businesses. If I (and my wonderful staff) can do it, so can you. 

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