Business Grants for Immigrants

by David Karanja

Immigrants in the U.S. can find it difficult to get a job, which spurs some of them to start businesses. However, they lack access to finance through banks or credit institutions. One way of getting financial assistance for their businesses is through business grants for immigrants. These grants are offered through state governments and are given after the immigrant writes a grant proposal or business plan. They are available to individuals, groups or nonprofit organizations.

Business Development Grants

This grant provides specialized services including management and technical assistance, access to capital, and business training and assistance. Applicants must have small businesses and be socially or economically disadvantaged. They must also demonstrate business viability and good character. Among the groups of immigrants considered to be disadvantaged are Africans, Asian-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.

Refugee and Entrant Assistance: Wilson/Fish Program

This is an assistance program under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that develops and promotes strategies to provide employment, cash and assistance to immigrants. It is a cooperative-agreement type of grant and is limited to Cuban, Haitian and Asian-American immigrants and special immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan. To qualify for this assistance, the immigrant must document his immigration status. States, voluntary resettlement agencies and nonprofit resettlement organizations provide the assistance, which comes in the form of services and through funded projects in immigrant communities. The program also provides cash assistance for eight months. Immigrants must show proof of immigration or an asylum letter to be eligible.

Refugee and Entrant Assistance: Discretionary Grants

The Department of Health and Human Services provides these grants, which aim to lower the number of immigrants who require assistance and to encourage placement of immigrants in areas with good job opportunities. The grants focus on promoting literacy in financial matters and stable marriages. Target groups for these grants are immigrants from Cuba, Haiti and Asian countries. Public and private nonprofit agencies disburse the grants. An immigrant does not need to provide any credentials or documentation to qualify for these grants.

About the Author

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, David Karanja has been writing since 1995. He is the author of novels and his articles have appeared in “Global Journalist” magazine, “Nieman Reports” journal and “Christianity Today” magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Nairobi.

Photo Credits

  • "we are all immigrants" sign image by Christopher Martin from
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