Funding Opportunities for Black, Latinx and Women-Owned Businesses and Emerging Brands

5 Funding Opportunities for Black, Latinx and Women-Owned Businesses and Emerging Brands

In recent years, there has been a remarkable shift in the fashion industry towards empowering and supporting emerging brands and designers of color who have historically faced barriers to access.

Women and entrepreneurs of color are often left out of financing opportunities; even as groups historically left out of entrepreneurship opportunities continue to fuel new business starts, they also remain blocked from many funding opportunities. Men received private capital investments at rates 2.3 times that of women (6% vs. 14% of women), and White business owners saw capital investment rates 2.5 times that of Black entrepreneurs.

This surge in support has been facilitated by the creation of numerous funding, mentorship, and accelerator programs, aimed at bridging the gap between talented creatives and the resources needed to thrive in the competitive retail landscape.

From investment firms providing financial backing to established designers sharing their expertise with up-and-coming entrepreneurs, these initiatives are reshaping the industry and fostering a more inclusive ecosystem. Below, we share five of the standout organizations leading the charge in championing diversity and providing opportunities for emerging brands, women entrepreneurs and designers of color.

Gusto Impact Award for small businesses


Gusto Impact Award

The HR, payroll and benefits platform, Gusto, is launching a contest to celebrate small American businesses that make a big impact in their communities. According to data by Gusto, there were five million new businesses formed in 2022, which is up 42% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. In 2022, Atlanta was the second fastest-growing city in the US for entrepreneurship, with women making up 36% of new business owners based in Atlanta.

Gusto is rewarding small businesses located in the greater metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Austin, and Orlando with a prize of $10,000 in cash, $50,000 advertising package and free payroll service for a year. 

All eligible applicants have to do is share the story behind their business, describing the overall mission and the impact it makes on their local community. There are also bonus prizes of $500 Visa gift cards for 30 small businesses making a difference in each city.

Apply here:


A pioneering initiative by the British Fashion Council, BFC NEWGEN is aimed at nurturing and supporting emerging fashion design talent. Through grant funding and bespoke business mentoring, NEWGEN identifies and champions designers with exceptional creativity, strong aesthetics, and innovative approaches to design. Recipients receive financial support, showcasing opportunities, and individual mentoring sessions to develop critical skills for long-term success. 

NEWGEN encompasses various fashion categories, including ready-to-wear and accessories, and designers are awarded a financial bursary to partially support showcasing their collections at London Fashion Week. Additionally, designers benefit from access to industry events, webinars, workshops, and pro-bono legal counsel, providing comprehensive support to build and sustain their fashion businesses.

Apply here:

Seed Ambition

“Building my businesses has been a fulfilling but challenging journey, but building the next generation of successful creative entrepreneurs is my definition of ultimate fulfillment,” says fashion designer Andrea Dumebi Iyamah, the entrepreneur behind Seed Ambition.

A platform committed to nurturing and empowering African creatives in the fashion, art, design, beauty, and media sectors, Seed Ambition was founded in 2020 to offer access to classes, networking opportunities, partnerships, and financing to foster the growth and development of successful creative businesses. The initiative is inspired by Iyamah’s own entrepreneurial journey spanning a decade, beginning at the age of 17, and her dedication to enhancing the African creative industry.

The platform has announced the opening of applications for Season 3 of The Seed Ambition Creative Entrepreneurship Grant. This grant is designed to offer financial support to creatives in various areas such as fashion, beauty, art, design, photography, and videography, aiming to propel their businesses to new heights.

Apply here:

Black Ambition Prize by Pharrell Williams

Black Ambition Prize 

Founded by Pharrell Williams in 2020, the Black Ambition Prize is a non-profit initiative dedicated to closing the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship. This innovative program invests capital and resources in high-growth startups founded by Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs across consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology and AI, recognizing their potential to shape the future of industries traditionally underserved by diverse leaders. 

With a mission to address the historical inequities in access to capital, the Black Ambition Prize offers a tiered opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for awards ranging from $15,000 to $1,000,000. Up to 250 semi-finalists will be selected, with one grand prize winner receiving the $1,000,000 award. Through this initiative, Black Ambition aims to empower underrepresented founders and catalyze lasting change in the entrepreneurial landscape by fostering collaboration and providing essential support. Past winners include skincare brands Butter’d Bodycare and Bea’s Bayou, cosmetics company Pound Cake and fashion label KIN Apparel. Applications are open until May 3.

Apply here:

Barclays Small Business Big Wins

Barclays Bank is launching its fourth annual Small Business Big Wins promotion, offering a total of $255,000 in prize money to selected small business owners who share their stories of resilience and adaptation to the current economy.

Small business owners are invited to submit a brief essay of up to 500 words, along with a compelling photograph, highlighting their perseverance, creativity, and community impact. Submissions will be accepted through March 4, 2024. The grand prize winner will receive $60,000. To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit, owned by a legal resident of the US aged 18 or older, established before February 4, 2023, employ fewer than 100 people, and have annual revenue of $10 million or less.

Apply here:


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