Multicultural Catalyst Fund $1,000 - $5,000 Micro-Grants - Round 2

This round of micro-grants is in partnership with Truist Financial and Appalachian Community Capital.

Please note: We are aiming to support at least 10 founders of color through this grant and will be working closely with the founders, fund advisory council, and others to refine and expand the program. Specific terms and details are subject to change.

Looking for Grants to Fund Your Next Big Idea?

Whether you are a creator, small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, you’re constantly hustling to realize your dream when so many things stand in your way. If you need capital to start or grow your business, funding to support your creative endeavor, or encouragement and technical assistance to knock down roadblocks in your path, we want to support you! 

This round of the Multicultural Catalyst Grant program, managed by Mountain BizWorks and in partnership with Truist Financial and Appalachian Community Capital, will provide awards of $1,000 – $5,000 to startups and emerging businesses owned by people of color across Western North Carolina. This funding is intended to support building capacity for creative initiatives and removing small obstacles to propel your NEXT BIG IDEA forward!

Tell us about your NEXT BIG IDEA and how $1,000 – $5,000 will support you in achieving it! 

Micro-Grant Purpose 

The Multicultural Catalyst Fund Micro-Grants are designed to be an investment into small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color in WNC. Every person, no matter where they are from, deserves the chance to get ahead. That means we need to make it easier – not harder – for small businesses to succeed, and especially those led by people of color and immigrants. 

Multicultural Catalyst Program 

The Catalyst Program precipitates fundamental changes in traditional lending practices to accelerate business growth for entrepreneurs of color by building on great ideas. This program includes the Fund, Cohorts, and now also Micro-Grants. With an understanding of each founder’s strengths, successes, and goals, Mountain BizWorks provides access to the tools needed to take the next big leap.

Mountain BizWorks is working to ensure that more entrepreneurs of color that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital, have access to the training, tools, and skills they need to successfully run their businesses.

This fund is designed to increase equity within the startup and growth funding landscape for entrepreneurs of color with the hopes of encouraging entrepreneurs of color to enter into industries that have higher rates of growth and success. 


To be eligible, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • BIPOC-owned (at least 50%)
  • A for-profit business located in Western North Carolina
  • Limited to businesses with annual gross revenues less than $100,000. Start-ups are also encouraged to apply 
  • Locally and independently owned and operated 
  • Must demonstrate a need and impact for funding

Awards will be made to qualified businesses, and eligibility is based on accurate and complete submission. 

Applicants may apply for one business only and must be 18 years of age to apply. For business owners with multiple businesses, please complete this application for a single one of your businesses. Each grant is limited to one individual/business. 

Non-profit organizations are ineligible for this particular funding program. 

Use of Proceeds 

The grant funds may only be used for qualified business expenses. 

The Grantee shall fully comply with all applicable federal, state, local (and any other governmental) laws, executive orders, rules, and regulations in connection with its use of grant funds.

How to Apply 

To apply, applicants will need to complete an online application via a web form. As part of the application process, applicants will be required to submit a 60-second video explaining their NEXT BIG IDEA and how $1,000 – $5,000 will support them in achieving it!

Applications without a video will not be reviewed. 

Please take your time to submit a completed application. All applications will be reviewed after the application window closes. There is no benefit to submitting your application prematurely. 

Applications are being accepted in “rounds”. You must submit a new application for each round in order to be considered for funding in that round. 

Email Jeremiah Robinson, Mountain BizWorks’ Entrepreneur In Residence, at jeremiah@mountainbizworks.org with any issues related to your application.

Deadline to Apply

The online application will be opened on July 18, 2022 and run until August 8, 2022. Applications must be completed and submitted no later than 11:59 PM on Monday, August 8. Applications submitted after the deadline or that are incomplete (i.e. missing required information) will not be considered. Selections will be made and notifications sent out to grantees by September 1, 2022.

If you are selected as a grantee, you will hear from Mountain BizWorks via email by the following dates listed below:

Round 1 – Selections will be made and notifications sent out by May 31, 2021. – CLOSED

Round 2 – Selections will be made and notifications sent out by September 1, 2022. – CURRENT ROUND

Review Process 

The Multicultural Catalyst Fund Advisory Council, in conjunction with Mountain BizWorks staff, will function as the Selection Committee and will review applications submitted. Grants will be awarded at the sole discretion of the Selection Committee based on the responses provided in the application and any other factors the Selection Committee deems to be relevant. The Selection Committee may, but is not required to, provide a reason for the denial of an application or for the determination of the amount of the grant award. 

Submitting an application is not a guarantee of a grant award and Mountain BizWorks may terminate the program at any time, for any reason, or when available funds are depleted. 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Frequency of Awards 

Program is subject to the availability of funds. Grants will be reviewed individually for each round of funding, with a goal to hold at least two rounds of funding per year.  We’re working to expand the available pool so that we can assist as many small businesses in our community as possible.


Agree to report at 12 months: The applicant will be required to provide a brief report that describes the financial conditions of the business, how the grant was used and the number of people impacted 12 months following the receipt of funds.

Agree to Award Announcement: Applicant understands and agrees that all grantee business names and grant amounts will be publicly announced. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the size of the awards? 

Grants will be awarded in amounts between $1,000-$5,000.

How many awards will be made?

Amounts and number or grants awarded will be determined after the closing.

What are considered qualified business expenses?

Qualified business expenses relate to those items that you can deduct from your income tax to lower your tax burden. Please refer to the IRS website for more information.

How do I upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo? 

The following link provides instructions and a video for uploading to YouTube: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/57407?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en

The following link provides instructions for uploading to Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/upload

Can I change my application after it’s been submitted?

No, you can not change a submitted application. However, you may resubmit a new application and we will consider the latest application submitted.  (Note: you can only submit the application via the online form; these copies are just to help you prepare your responses and write content that you can copy/paste into the online form. Doing so has the added benefit of ensuring that internet glitches won’t cause you to lose your application information while you’re working on it). 

Do grant applicants receive a confirmation that they submitted their application?

Every applicant receives a confirmation screen that follows if all fields are filled out correctly and after hitting “Submit”. Applicants will also receive a copy of their submitted answers, emailed to the address provided in their application.

If I applied in a previous round, do I have to apply again or will my application roll-over?

Yes, applications do not roll over to later rounds. You must submit a new application for each round of grants in order to be considered for funding that round. Each round has unique aspects and may have distinct funder requirements.

When will the online application portal close for submission?

Applications are being accepted in “rounds”.  A round is open for three weeks and then closed.  Dates for each round are posted on this page of the Mountain BizWorks website.

Round 1 – Selections will be made and notifications sent out by May 31, 2021. – CLOSED 
Round 2 – Selections will be made and notifications sent out by September 1, 2022. – OPEN

How will I be contacted or know if I will receive a grant?

Mountain BizWorks will primarily utilize email to communicate with all applicants. Be sure to check email regularly, including spam folders. Email updates to all applicants and finalists will come from Jeremiah Robinson (jeremiah@mountainbizworks.org). 

Finalists will be notified by email and must respond promptly. The return of any grantee notification message or document as undeliverable may result in disqualification of the applicable grantee, the forfeiture of their interest in the grant and the selection of a substitute from among all remaining eligible finalists.

Does anything need to be repaid?

No, these grants do not need to be repaid. However, all taxes associated with the acceptance and/or uses of cash awarded are the sole responsibility of the individual grantee. Cash awarded will be reported by MBW to the IRS as MBW deems necessary according to applicable law. It is further the policy of MBW that all grantees be advised to consult with their own tax professionals and/or legal counsel to ascertain the tax impact of the cash awards. 

Have additional questions?

Email Jeremiah Robinson, Mountain BizWorks’ Entrepreneur In Residence, at jeremiah@mountainbizworks.org with any questions. We will be posting answers and updates on this landing page in an effort to support transparency and equal access to information for all applicants.

Apply Now

Let's build on your great ideas and accelerate your business growth.

Are you a person of color or immigrant looking for assistance to get your small business off the ground? We want to help!


Stay connected to the local community of entreprenuers with Mountain BizWorks.

We use our newsletter to keep the community together on all things small business in the WNC region. Learn about events, classes, funding opportunities, and more!