Starting a business is a difficult challenge for most people. But for people who are visible minorities and/or women, the invisible (or sometimes all too visible) barriers at each step of the way make becoming an entrepreneur many times harder. Minority startups are so critical to the health of our national economy and the richness of our society, yet they are also exceptionally hard to get off the ground.
According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, minority-owned businesses created 4.7 million jobs and generated annual sales of almost $700 million. Imagine how much more of a positive impact minority startups could have on our economy if there were no barriers and people were free to pursue their entrepreneurial goals. With the right support, these numbers could soar.
The good news is that help is available, specifically for women and minority startups. There are many grants earmarked explicitly for under-represented entrepreneurs. These grants usually require time-consuming applications, but the payoff can be immense. Grant money differs from loans because it does not have to be paid back. This is one way that governments and organizations can help to level the playing field for minority startups.
Grants are offered through a variety of organizations. Contributions like those available through the Minority Business Development Agency are government-funded grants. There are also grants available through many different non-profit organizations. Some big for-profit businesses also offer minority startup grants.
How a Startup Studio Can Help
The grant application process typically requires a polished business plan, clear financial strategies, and well-researched market data. A startup studio can help women, and minority startups develop all of these essentials for a successful grant application. They specialize in making sure that a startup has the right tools to get their businesses off the ground.
Some business startup incubators specialize in helping entrepreneurs that have been historically underrepresented in the business world. These minority startup studios help their clients with preparing their investor presentations, streamlining financial strategies, and they also consult on business plans. The best of these studios is also well-connected and can help to secure funding, encourage connections in the appropriate fields, and help to launch their clients successfully.
Startup studios generally employ teams of designers, data scientists, marketers, and experienced entrepreneurs that assist new startups with getting their ideas off the ground. They offer guidance when it comes to pitching meetings, financial reports and projections, and market data gathering. A startup studio that caters to women and minority startups will also understand the added barriers to these business ventures.
Bayou City Labs
Bayou City Lab is a startup studio and entrepreneurial hub that combines two core services: BCL Labs and BCL Ventures. They both specialize in women and minority startups. They believe that strong foundational support is the key to overcoming the unfair obstacles that exist for minority entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs. BCL Ventures funds many of the projects that BCL Labs works on. Contact us for more details.