Houston, Texas – Minority entrepreneurs and business owners can apply for the $2,500 in grants to launch or grow their business through the MerchantNegotiators.com’s Small Business Grant competition, announced this week. Applications, available at MerchantNegotiators.com’s website, are open June 1 through August 1.
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 underrepresentation considering they make up 37% of the US total population.
This underrepresentation 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 startup capital means fewer minority-owned businesses are started.
“For many minorities, particularly individuals without the formal credentials or business connections that their white counterparts may have, entrepreneurship often provides the most viable path to the middle class and financial independence.” explained Rich McIver, whose company established the Small Business Grant. “When their entrepreneurial aspirations don’t get pursued because of underfunding, not only is that individual entrepreneur hurt, but all of the potential employees, local communities, and even local tax base are worse off.”
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 startup 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 actual the 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. With the average total startup cost of $30,000, the Small Business Grant is sufficient to cover startup capital necessary to secure financing well in excess of what the average entrepreneur requires. For those individuals not inclined to use outside capital, according US Small Business Administration, 44% started their business with less than $5,000 in seed capital.
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.
Applicants 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.
Your organization can help spread the word about this grant, and encourage discussion of the disparity in startup funding for minority entrepreneurs in a variety of ways:
- Encourage your readers to apply for the Small Business Grant
- Add an application badge to your website
- Write about the problem of the funding disparity for minority entrepreneurs
- Support minority owned small businesses in your community
- Engage with other minority entrepreneurship advocates by including the hashtag #GrantUsAChance in all communications regarding the grant
About the MerchantNegotiators’ Small Business Grant:
Small businesses are the engines of our economy, as the path to the middle class and financial independence for the entrepreneurs who start them. Unfortunately, the opportunities to start and succeed as an entrepreneur haven’t been equally shared across the American population. That’s why we created MerchantNegotiators’ Small Business Grant, a competition that gives historically underrepresented entrepreneurs a chance to win $2,500 to fund their businesses.
MerchantNegotiators’ Small Business Grant Contest is a nationwide event that will award a combined $2,500 in total cash and services to three deserving U.S. based entrepreneurs and business owners so they can propel their small business to the next level.
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, minorities, women, persons with a diagnosed disability as defined by the ADA.
About Merchant Negotiators:
Merchant Negotiators, MerchantNegotiators.com, is a website dedicated to improving the way small businesses shop for credit card processing services. Through their industry changing online marketplace, small business owners can quickly compare 40 credit card processors on features and price. This enables businesses to save on average 42% on their credit card processing and on average report higher satisfaction with their merchant account services provider.
Read more at https://MerchantNegotiators.com