In today’s fast-paced business world, small businesses and budding entrepreneurs often find themselves at a crossroads, seeking support to ignite their growth and navigate the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey. This is where the magic happens! We’ve found a list of 50 extraordinary grants, accelerators, and free resources, each curated to empower small businesses. From financial boosts to invaluable mentorship, these opportunities are golden tickets to elevating your venture.
Tech, Finance, and Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses
American Express’ Shop Small
The Shop Small Resource Hub gives business owners access to complimentary marketing supplies and resources, while the Amex Business Savings Suite provides technology and shipping solutions for small businesses. U.S. consumers can also use the Shop Small Map to find independent retailers across the nation that accept American Express.
Apple’s App Store Small Business Program
Developers and small business owners who made less than $1 million in proceeds the prior year qualify for this program, which offers a reduced commission rate of 15% on paid apps and in-app purchases so small business owners can invest more resources elsewhere.
Dell for Startups
This program provides support and resources to small businesses that use Dell’s technology, including expertise from technology advisors and scalable solutions. The Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) connects women entrepreneurs with the latest technology, access to funding resources, and best practices from a global network of members.
HubSpot for Startups
Startups can apply to receive 30% to 90% off HubSpot’s software to help them increase leads, accelerate sales, and streamline their customer service. From email marketing to sales to fundraising, startups receive master classes, templates, and toolkits to help them grow faster. They also receive discounts and perks from companies like AWS, Stripe, Segment, and more.
JPMorgan Chase’s Special Purpose Credit Program
As part of a $30 billion commitment to racial equity, this program was launched in 2022 to improve access to credit for small business owners in historically underserved areas across the U.S. Customers do not need to do anything special to qualify. If the business is located in an eligible area, then the application will be evaluated under the program.
LinkedIn for Small Business
This page connects small business owners with tips, news, and features to make their LinkedIn presence more impactful. They can become designated “service providers” so potential clients can find them. They can also find other LinkedIn resources like marketing, talent, and sales solutions.
Mastercard Small Business Resource
Mastercard has partnered with Adobe, McAfee, Stride, and Uber to bring U.S. small businesses benefits that assist with daily operations, transactions, and online security infrastructure. It also offers complimentary services like an analysis by Digital Doors Diagnostic of your company’s “digital health” in the context of industry standards.
Meta Small Business
Small business owners can use free Meta tools to find and connect with their customers on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. They can also learn about data-proven tactics for improving their advertising results and get creative inspiration and tips about advertisements and digital presence that speak to customers.
Microsoft for Startups
This platform helps startups grow by providing them with free access to Microsoft tools and resources, as well as mentorship and fundraising guidance. The “Founders Hub” offers access to expert advice, AI services, and other technology, and businesses don’t need to have secured any funding to sign up.
Zendesk for Startups
Zendesk provides customer service, engagement, and sales CRM solutions, and qualifying early-stage startups get their services free for six months. To qualify, applicants need to have raised some outside funding and have fewer than 50 employees.
Courses and Learning Resources for Small Business Owners
Launched in 2019, this free program gives early-stage entrepreneurs and small business owners a suite of tools, resources, and networking opportunities. The curriculum was designed in partnership with the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization and offers three educational tracks: “Start,” “Build,” and “Launch.”
The small business resources page offers free expert webinars and educational series from business mentors like Barbara Corcoran. They also offer free “playbooks” for business concerns like going virtual or cybersecurity and protections, along with phone and Wi-Fi deals tailored to small business needs.
Bank of America
This part of Bank of America’s website offers small business owners insights and resources for managing money, applying for funding, improving credit, planning for retirement, and tracking industry trends, as well as operational assistance with HR and customer relations, and strategizing for small businesses.
This site publishes news and technology advice to help small and medium business owners build their knowledge around security, networking, and collaboration.
FreshBooks is a platform that provides accounting services tailored to the needs of many industries and company sizes. Its blog offers tips and insights for small business owners looking for guidance at different stages of growth.
Google for Startups offers a range of resources to help small businesses grow. It provides guides and insights for startups at all stages of the journey, along with mentorship and funding opportunities including the Founders Academy, Accelerator, Cloud Program, Black Founders Fund, and Latino Founders Fund.
Mailchimp provides an information resource for small businesses wanting to learn more about starting, running, and marketing their businesses. Browse straightforward articles like “Email Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide for Small Businesses.”
The commerce company offers tools to help merchants start, scale, market, and run a retail business of any size. It has a robust blog with advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on everything from sourcing products to marketing, customer management, and more. Shopify also pledged $130 million to support the 1 Million Black Businesses initiative.
This platform gives small business owners access to free courses and educational materials, as well as live events, mentorship, peer networking, and grant opportunities. The courses support small business owners across the entirety of their business, with a specific focus on helping diverse and under-resourced business owners. Resources are also available in Spanish.
This landing page on the Visa website gives small businesses opportunities to read about trending topics that are relevant to their industries, along with tools and resources to manage their finances, grow their audiences, take advantage of analytics, optimize their online presence, and more.
On its “Small Business Resources” page, the bank provides articles on optimizing day-to-day operations, securing financing, leveraging credit, and paying down debt, as well as networking, sales, and marketing.
Grant Programs Being Offered by Big Businesses
The contest reviews submissions from small business owners about the challenges of building a business and making their dreams a reality. Winners share $255,000 in prize money, and the small business with the most compelling story receives the grand prize of $60,000.
Citizens grants 30 prizes of $10,000 each to small businesses from three groups — minority-owned, women-owned and other qualified companies — that are having a positive effect on their communities.
Started in 2020, Comcast RISE helps small businesses and their communities thrive, with a focus on economic growth. The program has awarded 13,000 small businesses $110 million in monetary, marketing, and technology grants, and this year, Comcast will award 500 recipients in five cities with grant packages. Applicants can apply on its website.
Each year, 50 small businesses are awarded more than $500,000. Recipients receive $10,000 in cash, technology, and training.
In its 12 years, this contest has handed out almost $2 million in cash grants to small businesses, as well as additional prizes like FedEx Office print credit, package consultation, premier customer care, and participation in the contest’s Winner Forum.
Back2Business launched in 2020 with a $50 million commitment to support minority-owned businesses with financial grants, coaching, and access to technology and networking opportunities. The program has since disbursed more than 1,600 grants.
For the past two years, Intuit QuickBooks has celebrated Small Business Hero Day by awarding three small businesses $20,000 each for their commitment to serving their communities. You can find articles and resources for growing your small business on the QuickBooks Small Business Success Month hub.
LegalZoom has partnered with the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League to offer $10,000 grants and up to $500 in LegalZoom services for small business owners in underserved and underrepresented communities. Applications are open during the NBA and WNBA seasons.
This initiative is designed to champion and promote small businesses across North America by offering grants and technology donations. This year, the Lenovo Evolve Small grant provided 30 small businesses with $10,000 in funding, a Lenovo laptop, and business support.
This fund provides $25,000 towards a commercial vehicle for 10 entrepreneurs to accelerate their business. Eligible businesses must be owned by Black entrepreneurs, have a demonstrated need for a commercial vehicle, and have a commitment to their local community.
In 2023, Visa and Uber Eats will provide 100 restaurants in select cities in the U.S. and Europe with $10,000 (USD or local equivalent) in credit toward more sustainable packaging.
With a $1.25 million investment, UPS Ignite will fund access to education, resources, networks, and capital for over 250 underrepresented small and medium business founders over the next three years. UPS Ignite is partnering with the Accion Opportunity Fund, The Lonely Entrepreneur, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and others to offer these services.
This program awards 20 eligible small businesses $10,000 in free funding annually — plus public promotion on the Venmo and PayPal websites and social media accounts, as well as professional consulting services.
Accelerators Designed to Fast-Track Small Business Founder Success
This program builds collaborative relationships with small, veteran-, and minority-owned companies to provide technology solutions to the federal government while helping small businesses establish new credentials for long-term growth.
Operating in 11 different countries, the Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy partners with local nonprofits, academic institutions, development banks, small business centers, and more. It develops education programs that introduce people, including those from diverse and historically underrepresented communities, to hosting on the Airbnb platform.
Ernst & Young LLP
Founded in 2008, this program selects women founders in the U.S. and Canada who have built profitable small companies (with at least $2 million in sales) and are looking to scale sustainably. It connects participants with an evergreen community and provides advice, resources, and access they need to grow.
This six-month, remote, nonequity accelerator program advances innovation in the travel industry by fast-tracking the growth of small and medium businesses through Expedia Group products and expertise.
This four-week to 10-week accelerator program works with entrepreneurs in underserved communities to build their confidence and skills to strengthen their small business’s digital presence. Entrepreneurs work one-on-one with GoDaddy volunteer coaches and local mentors and gain access to wraparound services, in-kind products, and networks to boost their success.
This program provides education and pathways to capital for small business owners. Participants develop actionable growth plans with the help of advisors and a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. The free program has served more than 10,000 businesses, deployed $879 million in capital, and claims that 66% of graduates increase revenue within six months of graduating.
Launched in 2019, this global acceleration program is for early-stage deep-tech startups. Companies that have gone through the 12-week program have raised $1.7 billion.
Macy’s Inc. offers a vendor accelerator program for women-owned and diverse-owned small businesses. Since its launch in 2011, over 220 companies have gone through the program, and applications for the 2024 class are being accepted through November 30.
This 12-week startup engagement program is part of Mondelēz International’s venture investment hub, SnackFutures. It provides early-stage brands with resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities to grow while building an investment pipeline for the snacking company. Additionally, CoLab Tech focuses on businesses with emerging tech capabilities.
This 12-week, virtual, instructor-facilitated learning experience focuses on helping diverse small businesses leverage their competitive advantages, strengthen their business knowledge, and build their professional networks. The academy is followed by a yearlong mentorship program.
This free program provides tech startups of all stages with access to the latest developer resources, along with preferred pricing on NVIDIA software and hardware and exposure to the venture capital community.
This program aims to bolster small, Hispanic-owned food and beverage businesses that are beloved staples in their communities. All applicants will have access to business training from Accion Opportunity Fund and local nonprofit partners, and a select 100 will receive a $10,000 small business grant, as well as personalized one-on-one career and business coaching.
A fintech accelerator for early-stage founders of color, this five-month program helps innovative startups accomplish critical milestones, launch new products, accelerate growth, grow their teams, and raise funds. Since launching in 2021, 12 fintech companies have completed the program.
This brand incubation program focuses on founders of color in the beauty space. Chosen applicants participate in a six-month educational journey with digital and in-person resources and a curriculum directly correlated to helping founders succeed at Sephora. Founders have the opportunity to launch with Sephora.
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) startups are invited to apply annually to Target Accelerators programs, which offer coaching, a curated curriculum, and connections to retail leaders, partners, and industry experts. “Target Forward Founders” is for early-stage companies, and “Target Takeoff” is for mature CPG companies.
Women founders with early-stage companies can apply to The Fellows Program, a yearlong growth accelerator program that accepts 50 women business owners each year. Anyone can also find free tools, educational resources, and funding options at the foundation website.
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