MerchantNegotiators.com announces a $2,500 Small Business Grant, to provide entrepreneurs from historically underreprensented groups with the seed capital they need to start or grow their small business.
Houston, Texas – Entrepreneurs can apply for the $2,500 in grants to launch or grow their business through the MerchantNegotiators.com’ First Annual Small Business Grant competition, announced this week. Applications, available at MerchantNegotiators.com’s website, are open June 1 through August 1.
Why Supporting Entrepreneurs Is So Important
Entrepreneurs and their small businesses are the engines of the American economy and their individual communities. Half of all private-sector workers, and 70% of all new jobs are generated by small businesses, and combined, small businesses are responsible for more than 50% of US GDP or over $6 trillion dollars annually.
Despite the self-evident benefits of small business ownership, not all communities are equally represented as small business owners. In particular, women, minority, military veteran and individuals with disabilities are severely underrepresented in America as small business owners.
Lack of Funding for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs is a Significant Concern
This underrepresentation is due in large part to the fact that the banking, grant, angel funding and private equity communities consistently underfund and inadequately support these group’s entrepreneurial ventures. “There’s clear statistical evidence that entrepreneurs identifying as either military veteran, an individual with a disability, a racial or ethnic minority, or as a woman have been disproportionately denied capital when 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 these individuals have a harder time accessing startup capital means fewer successful businesses are started by members of these communities.
For example, in 2011, only 11 percent of capital-investment funds went to women entrepreneurs, and minority owned small businesses received less than half the average amount of equity investments and loans than non-minority businesses. According to MerchantNegotiators.com founder Rich McIver, whose company funded the grant, “When a person’s 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
The MerchantNegotiators’ Small Business Grant is a small but tangible step that the company is taking to help rectify the disparity in small business funding, and raise awareness of this systemic problem. Beyond providing seed capital to three deserving entrepreneurs, the company is fostering discourse through the grant about the disproportionate allocation of startup capital in the United States.
According to Rich McIver, founder of MerchantNegotiators, “Given that entrepreneurs from underreprensented groups have a harder time accessing startup capital, it means 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 the Small Business 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 start 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 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 entrepreneurs not seeking banking capital, 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: U.S. military veterans or active military, Men and women of color, women, 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://merchantnegoti.wpengine.com. 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 historically underrepresented 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 underrepresented entrepreneurs
- Support small businesses in your community
- Engage with other entrepreneurship advocates via the Twitter hashtag #GrantUsAChance
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, Men and women of color, 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://merchantnegoti.wpengine.com
Rich McIver, Founder
519 N. Sam Houston Pkwy E., Suite 450N
Houston, TX 77060