While the federal government does not provide grants for starting or growing small businesses, it does provide a myriad of services to assist entrepreneurs in pursuit of their dreams. One of the mechanisms in place to promote small business growth and economic development is the Community Development Financial Institution Fund managed by the US Department of the Treasury. In the current fiscal year the federal government is allocating more than $12 Million to support CDFIs.
Community Development Financial Institutions fall into four categories:
The genesis of the Community Development Financial Institution Fund was the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. The reason for the fund's existence is to foster economic revitalization and community development.
The The Minority Business Development Agency has recently constituted the Minority Business Enterprise Centers (MBEC) Program wherein it aims to support minority-owned businesses by providing them with electronic and one-on-one business development services for a reasonably nominal fee.
In keeping with this mission, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture has recently established the Common Bean Productivity Research for Global Food Security Competitive Grants Program in an attempt to develop approaches and methods that can efficiently address the various challenges facing common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) production among small holder producers in food insecure countries.
Dsenyo, founded and designed by Marissa Perry Saints, seeks to help women and artisans working their way out of poverty. Dsenyo is an ethical fashion company that operates as a social enterprise that supports living wage opportunities for workers in Malawi, Africa.