Being your own boss is challenging on its own — but it can be even more so if your background is underrepresented in your field. The good news is: there are numerous grants, certifications, and resources that can help marginalized business owners, producers, and independent content creators like you get ahead. We know how time-consuming researching financial opportunities can be, so we’ve put together this list to give you more time to do what you love: create.
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In addition to the specific resources below, be sure to check out the Federal Grants Directory. There, you can search for different federal grants available for small businesses, filter them by category and eligibility levels, and learn invaluable grant writing and application tips.
We’ve also published numerous blogs focused on diversity initiatives and how to make video content marketing and the production process more equitable and inclusive. Those include:
- Inclusive Language: What You Need to Know When Casting
- 7 Ways to Support Diversity Marketing with Video
- Resources: What is Juneteenth?
Here’s a list of our favorite resources and grants for minority content creators for 2024.
Learn More: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide
Grants for Underrepresented Creators & Small Business Owners
Grants have varying eligibility requirements and deadlines, so be sure to read up on all of the details before you apply.
Amber Grants for Women
WomensNet awards a monthly grant of $10,000 to women entrepreneurs. One recipient is selected each year to receive an additional $25,000 Amber Grant. Learn more and apply here — the application fee is $15.
Annuity Payment Freedom Marketing Grants for BIPOC, Women, and Artists
Annuity Payment Freedom offers three separate grants for BIPOC, Women, and Artists to provide marketing expertise on driving organic traffic through SEO (search engine optimization). Grantees will receive personalized recommendations from marketing professionals, including free SEO analysis, advice, and strategies tailored to underrepresented business owners’ specific needs. There are no application fees or deadlines, and grantees are chosen on a rolling basis.
Asian Women Giving Circle Grants
The Asian Women Giving Circle (AWGC) is the first and largest giving circle in the nation led by Asian American women. The organization has one grant cycle per year, with a Request for Proposals (RFP) typically released in January. Get more details about this org on their website.
Federal Minority Business Grants
The Federal Minority Business Grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration provides a database of grants for businesses. There is a fee of $29.95 for the first month of access. You can explore the different grant types available here.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
FedEx runs an annual program that awards U.S.-based small businesses grants. In 2024, they will award 10 grants in total. Applications typically open early in the year. Learn about past winners here. You can also subscribe to the FedEx newsletter to stay on top of the next entry period dates.
Film Independent organizes and rewards video creators with several grants, including the Film Independent Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants. According to the website, “Film Independent awards over $845,000 in cash and production services to filmmakers each year.” Learn more about the grants, awards, and fellowships here.
First Nations Development Institute Grants
First Nations founded its national grant program in 1993 and has managed over 3,052 grants totaling $64.7 million to Native American projects and organizations. Their website is updated regularly with new opportunities.
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IFundWomen is the go-to funding marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to support them. The goal of their network is to spark confidence, accelerate knowledge, and ignite action in women entrepreneurs through coaching, connections, and immediate access to small business grants from corporate partners. Learn more about their grant opportunities here.
LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund
The Moving Image Fund (MIF) was launched in 2001 to fund film and video artists’ work. They award grants for both early development funding and pre-production funding. According to the website, “Since its inception, LEF’s Moving Image Fund has awarded approximately 450 grants to New England-based independent filmmakers with over $5 million in funding.” Learn more about the requirements and guidelines here.
Minority Business Development Agency Grants
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), run by the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers different grant competitions throughout the year. You’ll find open competitions listed on the Federal Grants Directory — they all have different application and eligibility requirements. MBDA also has a searchable database of local business centers that can partner with your company to help you penetrate new markets.
The NAACP awards grants to Black-owned businesses throughout the year, including the NAACP Powershift Entrepreneur Grant and Keep It Local Business Fund. You can learn more about these grants here.
NASE Grants for Small Businesses
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has grants worth up to $4,000 each for “micro-business owners” that can help take your business to the next level. You’ll have to join NASE and remain in good standing for at least 3 months before applying. More details and application here.
NBAF Artist Project Fund (APF)
The NBAF’s Artist Project Fund (APF) was created in 2020 to support artists. According to the website, “The NBAF Artist Project Fund (APF) is a $2,000 grant and artistic development program for Metro Atlanta artists seeking funds to complete an ongoing project.” Learn more about the grant and its requirements here.
NBMBAA Scale-Up Pitch Challenge
Looking for investors to execute a large idea? The National Black MBA Association runs an annual $50,000 pitch contest. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. resident, your company must have a founder who is Black (of African descent), and there must be at least one member of your team who is an active member of the National Black MBA Association. Stay up to date on this annual contest here.
StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award
The StreetShares Foundation, an organization that supports the military entrepreneurial community, runs an annual contest that awards between $4,000 and $15,000 to veterans or their spouses. Stay on top of the award here.
USA Grants for Women
The U.S. Government runs a directory of a wide range of grants specifically for women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs. Grants are not just for business expenses — the directory includes housing grants, education/tuition scholarships, and personal assistance grants to help with expenses such as medical bills or home repair. See the full directory here.
#YouTubeBlackVoices Grant Program
In 2020, YouTube developed a fund that would amplify fresh voices and content to emphasize Black economic equity and well-being, as well as the intellectual power and passion of the YouTube community. This grant program is dedicated to equipping up-and-coming Black content creators with vital resources to succeed on the platform. Keep an eye on their official website for information on 2024 applications.
Associations and Resources for Underrepresented Creators & Small Business Owners
Getting a certification or joining an association can help you extend your professional network. Some associations even offer exclusive access to programs, grants, and resources that can propel your career.
8(a) Business Development Program
The federal government’s 8(a) program helps provide support “for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities.” In addition to receiving business mentorship and assistance, members of the program can compete for specifically set-aside federal contracts. Get the details here.
digitalundivided is an organization that “serves as a catalyst for Latina and Black women entrepreneurs.” The organization has several programs to help people in various levels of their careers, including the Do You Fellowship, which is “a 12-month fellowship for high-potential, high-growth founders already bringing in monthly business revenue.” Learn more about all of their programs here.
Gotham Writers Scriptwriting Scholarship
The Gotham Writers Scriptwriting Scholarship includes mentorship, courses, and more. According to the website, it’s “open to people of color who have an interest in writing scripts for movies, TV shows, or plays.” Learn more about the scholarship here.
National Black MBA Association
The National Black MBA Association was founded in 1970 and is the “premier business organization serving Black professionals.” If you work in the corporate world, a membership can connect you with Black professionals who provide coaching, guidance, and mentorship. NBMBAA offers a variety of membership opportunities ranging from $15 to $200/year.
National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council matches minority-owned businesses with their vast network of corporations looking for services and solutions. Membership in NMSDC also unlocks access to exclusive grants and loans. Learn more about certification criteria and the application process here.
NYS Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification
If your business is based in New York State, an MWBE certification can get you exclusive access to government projects and make you instantly eligible for a wide variety of grants. Learn more about the eligibility requirements and the steps for applying here.
The Black TV & Film Collective
The Black TV & Film Collective works to create career-advancing opportunities for Black and Brown artists in the entertainment industry. In addition to providing production support, the org runs various workshops, labs, and networking events. Learn more here.
The Blackhouse Foundation
According to their website, the Blackhouse “helps Black creative voices and executives gain a better foothold” in film and television through education and relationship-building. You can learn more about the org and get in touch at theblackhouse.org.
The Creative Collective NYC
The Creative Collective NYC hosts events, shares resources, and highlights groundbreaking creative folks. Their mission is to build “a more equitable future for thousands of Black & Brown creatives.” Learn more about the Creative Collective NYC, their resources, and events here.
The Creative Ladder
The Creative Ladder was co-founded by our Chief Creative Officer Ryan Reynolds, so we’re admittedly a little biased. This organization hosts events, programs, leadership development, and more throughout the year to “help make creative careers more accessible to all.” Learn more about The Creative Ladder here.
QuickFrame is always looking for experienced video content creators. We’re here to connect you to organizations that need your creative skills. Click here to learn more about video production opportunities.
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