Special thank you goes out to Rich McIver, Founder of Merchant Negotiations, for reaching out to The PBS Blog in regard to this tremendous opportunity for small business owners!
MerchantNegotiators.com announces a $2,500 Small Business Grant, to provide entrepreneurs from historically underrepresented groups with the seed capital they need to start or grow their small business. The contest is open to any current small business owner or entrepreneur who meets one of the following eligibility requirements:
• U.S. military veterans or active military
• Minority Owned Businesses
• Women Owned Businesses
• Persons with a diagnosed disability as defined by the ADA
If you fit the following criteria, you have the opportunity to apply for a grant and finally make your aspirations of becoming a business owner a reality. But get ready! This small window will not be open for long. Applications, available at MerchantNegotiators.com’s website, are open June 1 through August 1.
Below is an excerpt from the Press Release as obtained from the website:
Why Supporting Minority Entrepreneurs Is So Important
Entrepreneurs and their small businesses are the engines of the American economy. Half of all private-sector workers and 70% of all new jobs are generated by small businesses, and small businesses are responsible for more than 50% of US GDP or over $6 trillion dollars annually.
Today, minority owned businesses make up almost 15 percent of the 28 million small businesses and employ 5.9 million workers in the United States and are one of the fastest growing subsets of small businesses. Despite this growth, however, Hispanic and African-American owned companies still comprise just 15% of American small businesses, a massive under-representation considering they make up 37% of the US total population.
This under-representation is due in part to the fact that the banking, grant, angel funding and private equity communities consistently underfund and inadequately support minority’s entrepreneurial ventures.
“There’s clear statistical evidence that minority entrepreneurs have been disproportionately denied capital when they apply for it,” said Rich McIver. Because more than 80% of small businesses use some sort of financing to launch their business, the fact that minorities have a harder time accessing start-up capital means fewer minority-owned businesses are started.
Raising Awareness of Systemic Underfunding of Minority Entrepreneurs
The MerchantNegotiators’ Small Business Grant is a small but tangible step that the company is taking to help rectify this disparity, and raise awareness of the problem of the systemic underfunding of minority entrepreneurial ventures. Beyond providing seed capital to three entrepreneurs, the company views this as an opportunity to raise awareness about the abundance of minority owned businesses that are currently being underfunded.
According to Rich McIver, founder of MerchantNegotiators, “Given that minority entrepreneurs have a harder time accessing start-up capital, there are a lot more great business ideas in that community that are going untapped, that investors and bankers would be wise to consider more closely. We view this grant as not only a way to help a few of those ideas to materialize into small businesses through our seed funding, but also to encourage awareness, discussion, and change in the larger social causes underpinning this funding discrepancy.”
While $1,500, the winner’s grant amount, may not seem like enough for a person to launch a small business, it is in fact sufficient to cover the actual out of pocket cost outlay for most small business launches. Because more than 80% of small businesses use some sort of outside financing to launch their business, the funding hurdle for many minority entrepreneurs is whether they can come up with the 1% origination fee and related costs necessary to secure a small business loan.
This grant is limited to individuals who own a small business (defined as having fewer than 50 employees) or want to start a business AND identify as members of one the following historically underrepresented groups in the small business community: Minorities, women, U.S. military veterans or active military, or persons with a diagnosed disability as defined by the ADA.
Applications must be submitted electronically at MerchantNegotiators.com by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on August 1, 2015. Applicants must review and adhere to the full application rules and deadlines listed on https://merchantnegotiators.com/#small-business-grant. This document outlines program details and instructions for submitting an application.
1. Encourage your readers to apply for the Small Business Grant
2. Add an application badge to your website
3. Write about the problem of the funding disparity for minority entrepreneurs
4. Support minority owned small businesses in your community
5. Engage with other minority entrepreneurship advocates by including the hashtag #GrantUsAChance in all communications regarding the grant
Remember: Every little bit helps!