Black entrepreneurship is on the rise. Earlier this year, Venture Forward by GoDaddy national survey discovered that 2.8 million more U.S.-based micro-businesses were started in 2020 than in 2019, with 26 percent of them being started by Black business owners. And in April of this year, the Biden Administration released data on what they called a “Small Business Boom Under the Biden-Harris Administration'' pointing to an increase in entrepreneurs of color. But with Black entrepreneurship on the rise, the hurdles for ownership still remain. It’s why the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) has launched the MicroBiz Capital Accelerator Program (MCAP), a new grant and technical assistance pilot program supporting direct small business resource providers.
During the small business boom of 2021, Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses—more than 20 percent higher than any previous year on record. For Black businesses, it was a time of record creation. The economic impact of these businesses has the potential to be significant, but NCRC notes that new business activity is often stifled by weak resource ecosystems at the community level.
“In the last few years, we’ve seen historic levels of investment to support small business recovery and growth,” says NCRC’s Director of Racial Economic Equity, Joshua Devine. “As communities compete for these resources, it is critical to provide capital acquisition and deployment support for business-support organizations with limited capacity.”
When it comes to accessing capital, small businesses continue to report challenges in getting the funding they need to start and run a successful enterprise. This is particularly true for non-employer firms and micro-businesses (businesses with less than 5 employees and $250,000 in revenue) owned by people of color. But by addressing the gaps in small business capital, NCRC sees a unique opportunity to advance racial equity and wealth-building through business ownership.
According to a press release shared with EBONY, the MCAP program will provide grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 for three to six organizations championing innovative capital programs and models designed to support and scale microbusinesses owned by people of color. Innovative capital programs can include business grant programs, microfinance loans or other CDFI-led small-dollar loan programs, revolving loan funds, etc.
MCAP grantees will also receive peer-learning opportunities, training sessions on equitable program design, delivery and implementation, and a technical assistance package to support and expand program scale and impact.
“For more than 20 years NCRC has been advocating for wealth building through entrepreneurship as a small business technical assistance provider,” says Ibijoke Akinbowale, NCRC’s Director of Community Impact. “We are thrilled to expand our grantmaking efforts to support organizations providing assistance to microbusinesses owned by people of color.”
All applications for the MCAP pilot program must be received by November 25, 2022. NCRC is hosting an applicant webinar on November 3 at 1pm. For more information and to submit an application, visit the MCAP application page.