Best Financing Options

Best Minority Business Websites

These are the best financing options for women and minorities.

You are a minority or a woman and you want to finance a business? A hint. Don't go to a bank, unless your credit is crystal clear. And even then, go to a credit union. Look for money from people who know you: your family, friends, business associates, your bartender, your credit card company...Still, if you must go to a bank or other financing organization, take the following hints:

Get all of your research and data together and prepare a solid business plan;

Check your credit report, (See buttons and links below and to the left for several credit reporting services.);

Should you actually see a banker, be professional and polite;

Be ready for anything.

Here are some sites to visit:

Small Business Administration home page

SBA is a Federal agency charged with assisting small businesses. Their claim to fame: in the late '70's they made a small business loan to Apple Computer. Whoopee. Actually, they are not as bad as the Minority Business Development Agency (see our comments below), but our conversations with minority and women business owners indicate that SBA is not as effective or as helpful as one would think. Still, if you are seeking business financing from a bank, you need to know who these guys are. Truly, a lender of last resort.

SBA Women's Business Center

SBA Loan Forms. You'll need these if you are seeking an SBA loan:

Women and Minority Business Financing Form SBA Form - Request for Tax Transcript.

Women and Minority Business Financing Form SBA Form - Personal History.

Women and Minority Business Financing Form SBA Form - Personal Financial Statement


Bank of America (formerly NationsBank) Small Business Center

I actually met with Mr. Hugh McColl, CEO of NationsBank, on December 13, 1994 in Charlottesville, NC. After the meeting, during which I proposed a set of socially responsible, minority-friendly financial products, I remember thinking:

"This guy will definitely own the largest financial institution in the US one day."

"Before I leave, I should make sure I still have my wallet."

"While this institution is sensitive to minority business needs, it will take years for that sensitivity to show up in the form of additional loans to minority and women-owned businesses. There is nothing for us to do here now." In 1998, NationsBank loaned $6 billion to small businesses. Compared to Wells Fargo, the needs in the marketplace and the bank's resources, this number is low. Still, the website is full of information of interest to minority and women business owners.

By the way, I never did find that wallet...looks like I was right on all three counts. As a matter of fact, I'd skip these guys and go right to:



Procurement Assistance Jumpstation

Government contracting is sometimes alleged to be the way for minority and women owned businesses to make a lot of money. Our experience, and the experience of many other minority businesses, runs counter to this school of thought.

We find government contracting fraught with ethical dilemmas. For example, every time we approach a certain government agency about getting a business research contract, we get a bunch of political campaign contribution solicitations in the mail - the next day. We know if we don't contribute, we won't get a contract. We have chosen not to contribute. The agency has chosen not to give us a contract. It's called pay to play.

If you've got good political connections and a good product, give it a shot. Note that the former are as important as the latter...


Minority Business Development Agency

These guys are the branch of the Federal Government charged with assisting minority businesses.

They are, for the most part, ineffective.

We only know a few actual minority businesses who have been helped by this agency. These are mainly government contractors who got megabucks to conduct studies that told the agency what it already knew: minority businesses need money.

If we were you, in looking for money, we'd avoid these guys like the plague. To add insult to injury, they tried to steal MinorityFinance, using the copywritten term without our permission. They have tried to steal the site and terminology. (You just can not make this stuff up.) Their site does have a lot of information on minority business financing. Here's the URL:



Women's Growth Capital Fund
1054 31st St. NW, Suite 110
Washington, DC 20007


"The Women's Growth Capital Fund has invested in expansion-stage women-owned and/or managed emerging growth businesses on the East Coast. These companies:

Are "women-owned and/or managed" businesses, defined by the Fund as businesses where women own a substantial equity stake in the business and are in top management (including Chair, CEO, COO, or CFO).

Have a strong, proven management team with a long-term commitment to the company. The management teams have extensive experience in thier respective industries, including profit and loss responsibility. They have knowledge of their market, its dynamics and main competitors. Many have prior entrepreneurial experience.

Have an operating history of at least two years with annual revenues of at least $500,000, with an annual growth rate of at least 20%. They have already developed their key product or service and taken it to market.

Are participating in rapidly growing industries. These rapidly growing markets are big enough to support revenues from more than one company, or they have vulnerable competitors and barriers to entry.

Have a compelling simple business model that drives profitability.

Have an exit strategy that includes an eventual sale or initial public offering."

In other words, everybody but you. Skip these gals unless you meet the requirements FULLY.


Center for Women's Business Research
1411 K Street, NW, Suite 1350
Washington, DC 20005-3407 USA

Phone: 202-638-3060

Fax: 202-638-3064


Good source for women-owned business data.


Types of credit

Know what you are asking for. If you're going to ask for credit, you need to know what programs are out there.

Commercial Finance

Loans to finance working capital, accounts receivable, purchase orders, or inventory. Typically, these loans must be secured by assets.

Equipment Leasing

Financing for the purchase of a specific piece of business equipment.

Real Estate Finance

Financing for the purchase of Real Estate, or for the construction of business facilities.

SBA Programs: Government Funds

The U.S. Government is a sources of small business capital, mainly through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA was created to help small business. They have developed many programs, but are still, in the main, ineffective in assisting women and minority businesses. Still, you should be aware of the programs they offer. Below are summaries of major SBA loan programs.

7 (a) LOAN GUARANTY: The 7(a) loan guaranty program is used by private-sector lenders. These private sector loans are then guaranteed by the SBA.

7(a): LOWDOC: same as above, but all loans are under $100,000. The program uses a streamlined and expedited loan application and review process.

7(a): CAPLINES: For small businesses needing short-term working-capital. Actually, five separate programs.

7(a): POLLUTION CONTROL: For financing "the planning, design, or installation of a pollution control facilities."

7(a): MINORITY AND WOMEN PREQUAL: According to SBA, "This program is designed to assist minority and women borrowers in developing viable loan application packages."

MICROLOAN PROGRAM: This program provides small loans from as little as $100 up to $25,000.

CERTIFIED DEVELOPMENT (504 LOAN): Program providing "long term loans for the purchase of land, buildings, machinery, and equipment."

William Michael Cunningham


  • B.A.(Economics)
  • MBA(Finance)
  • A.M.(Industrial Organization)