A Maryland funding provider will award startup capital to selected black tech entrepreneurs. Black Enterprise reports that the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund (MBPF), which started in February of this year, is currently taking applications. The selected startups will receive $40,000 each.
“This funding will allow these entrepreneurs to reach a critical development milestone and advance their ideas further along the commercialization pathway, which could lead to follow-on investment, and ultimately, job creation,” MBPF writes on their website.
Industry data shows that the tech industry is growing fast. For example, with 82% of companies reporting saving money from switching to cloud computing, IT careers alone will spike in demand. This shows the need for more tech entrepreneurship, but black entrepreneurs do not always have the funding to fill the gap. According to Black Enterprise, MBPF help these entrepreneurs get past the “friends and family” stage of funding — and on to something more lucrative.
With black entrepreneurs currently making up 9.5% of small businesses, there is certainly room to grow. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 29% of businesses are owned by minorities, and this number is increasing as minority populations make up more of the United States as a whole.
The MBPF funding program seeks to close the ownership gap by empowering Maryland’s idea makers, turning them into business owners. According to the program’s website, applicants must form a company before receiving their investment award. They also must reside in the state of Maryland, and the idea must be in the concept or prototype stage. Once applicants receive their funding, the perks won’t stop there.
“In addition to the funding, MBPF will require engagement with educational resources and mentoring associated with the program because money is only one of the many things needed to build a successful company,” they write.
MBFP is a pilot program started through a partnership between TEDCO and Harbor Bank Community Development Corporation. The next MBFP application deadline is October 1st. Interested entrepreneurs can apply for funding through TEDCO’s online portal. For information on the program and how to apply, visit the MBFP website.