Minority- and Women-Owned Business Support Grants

The Challenge: Overcome Barriers Facing MWBEs Entering and Growing in the Clean Energy Sector

The clean energy workforce is projected to grow by 38%, or more than 38,000 workers by 2030 to meet the state’s climate goals. New and expanding Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBEs) are crucial to meeting the Commonwealth’s climate goals. These businesses put climate solutions into practice, foster environments that attract and support a diversified workforce, and pave the way to an equitable energy transition for environmental justice communities. Unfortunately, most MWBEs face barriers to entry and growth. Regardless of sector, MWBEs are denied access to capital at a much higher rate, face selection bias for projects, and often start with less personal wealth and social capital—all of which exacerbate the challenges that all businesses face during their start-up and early growth phases.​

About MWBE Support Grants

MWBE Support Grants provide up to $1,000,000 in grant funds and technical support to applicants developing or expanding programs that provide support to existing MWBEs entering the Clean Energy Sector, assist the creation of new MWBEs in the Clean Energy Sector, and develop a shared approach to increase access to capital for climate-critical MWBEs. This funding is not intended to benefit a single MWBE. Successful applicants will propose projects that address barriers faced by MWBEs, tackle both supply and demand needs, provide comprehensive wraparound services for individuals participating in the program, leverage existing support systems, and propose robust partnerships.​

Applicants may apply for either or both of the following strands: 

  • Strand A: Training, Certification, and Support Services for Climate-Critical MWBEs
  • Strand B: Access to Capital for Climate-Critical MWBEs
Award Potential

Training, Certification, and Support Services: $1,000,000

Access to Capital: $150,000 

Application Deadline

Not currently accepting applications

Questions? Contact

Funding Schedule

MWBE Support Grants are released on an annual basis. Applicants not ready currently for implementation should consider applying for a Planning and Capacity Grant to prepare for the next round of funding.​

Process Step


RFP Release

February 23, 2024

Questions Due to MassCEC via rfpworkforce@masscec.com

Rolling through April 5, 2024

Questions with answers posted to MassCEC Website

Updated at least every month on the 2nd Tuesday through April 9, 2024

Pre-Application Webinar

March 13, 2024 at 3:00 PM

See more and register

Pre-Application Office Hours

See dates and times​

Proposals Due

April 26, 2024 by 11:59 pm

Interviews of Applicants (as needed)

April and May of 2024

Notification of Award

May 2024

Who's Eligible

Single organizations or partnerships are eligible to apply. If there are multiple parties that are jointly applying, one party should take on the role of Lead Applicant. The following entities are eligible to serve as a Lead Applicant:​

  • Non-profit organizations including Chamber of Commerce organizations, trade associations, clean energy incubators/accelerators, environmental justice organizations, and organizations representing tribes.
  • Academic institutions with a business support program.
  • For-profit entities such as clean energy installers, energy efficiency, or home performance contractors, technical or workforce training organizations, financial institutions or other clean energy practitioners

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • Lead Applicant must have a Massachusetts office or staffing.
  • Applicants are not required to have experience in clean energy or climate-critical business fields.
  • Lead Applicant is currently in good standing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and can provide a Certification of Good Standing (COGS). Please note that community colleges, public vocational-technical high schools, and public state universities serving as the lead applicant do not need to submit a Certificate of Good Standing.​
  • This funding is not intended to benefit a single MWBE, but instead is intended to support an organization that can help several different MWBEs grow and excel in climate-critical business sectors.

For full program details, please refer to the MWBE Support Grant RFP.


Application Process

Review the RFP to understand the opportunity, requirements, and MassCEC’s objectives.​

​Proposals should be emailed to rfpworkforce@masscec.com by 11:59 pm on April 26, 2024 with "MWBE Support Grant Application" in the subject line.​

Send completed application to:

Pre-Application Webinar

On March 13, 2024, MassCEC hosted the Minority- and Women- Owned Business Support Grants Webinar.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs were last updated on April 17, 2024.

Questions are accepted on a rolling basis until April 5, 2024. Answers will be posted on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

Submit questions to rfpworkforce@masscec.com​.

1. If our organization is not ready to implement a MWBE support program, can we apply for a Planning Grant?

MassCEC may elect to award a portion of the MWBE Support Grant funds requested as a Planning Grant if the applicant’s proposed project contains sufficient detail to justify a Planning Grant but does not have sufficient scope to justify the entire amount of the award requested for implementation. Alternatively, applicants are advised to consider applying directly to MassCEC’s Equity Workforce Capacity and Planning Grants to fund planning prior to applying to future rounds of MWBE Support Grants for implementation funds.

2. If our organization has received prior funding from MassCEC via the MWBE Support Grants program or other RFP opportunities, are we eligible to apply to this opportunity?

Yes, applicants may apply for additional funds from MassCEC, so long as the proposed project is separate and distinct from the projects funded via prior support. Proposals suggesting upskilling or expanding an existing project, either in content or geographic/target population reach, that was funded previously by MassCEC may be viewed as separate and distinct. Proposals suggesting running additional cohorts of an existing project that received prior funding from MassCEC will not be viewed as separate and distinct.

3. Does the proposed budget have to be similar for each year?

Program costs may vary from year to year. Some examples include adding additional staff in year one or program plans that project to grow training cohort capacity across the grant years. These variations and others are acceptable and, in many cases, strategic. Applicants should detail the rationale and strategy in their proposal and budget narrative to ensure reviewers have clarity about their plans.

4. If I am looking to develop a workforce development aspect to my MWBE, how would I go about doing that given the available grants at MassCEC?

If your MWBE is planning to set up a job training pipeline for individuals from EJ Neighborhoods and other underserved populations to enter the clean energy sector, you may consider applying to the Equity Workforce Training RFP and the Climate-Critical Workforce Training RFP that are currently open. If the MWBE is interested in developing their own organizational capacity, the MWBE can apply for MassCEC’s Equity Workforce Capacity Grants, which are funding opportunities directed towards supporting individual MWBEs. This MWBE Support Grant is NOT intended fund an individual MWBE.

5. How much of the funds from the grant should be allocated towards partnerships vs. Individual enterprises?

Funding for partnerships will be more favorable during the scoring process as this grant is designed to stand up a support program for multiple MWBEs or creation of MWBEs in climate critical fields. Applicants must submit a budget that includes funds allocated per MWBE supported through the program. This grant is not intended to support an individual MWBE’s operations or growth.

6. Does Strand B: Access to Capital provide direct funding to MWBEs?

Strand: Access to Capital for Climate-Critical MWBEs is not targeted at individual MWBEs seeking direct funding. This strand is intended to support organizations that can coordinate the MWBE Support Grant awardees in developing a shared approach to increasing access to capital for climate critical MWBEs. The shared approach will likely include identifying existing resources for MWBEs, developing guidance content on accessing those resources for both support organizations and MWBEs, suggesting approaches to further tailoring those resources to the unique needs of climate critical MWBEs, and designing mechanisms and shared frameworks to streamline the qualification of eligible MWBEs and distribution of funds to those MWBEs by MWBE Support Grant awardees.

7. Can I apply for multiple Workforce Equity grants at the same time?

Yes, the grant proposals will need to be separate and distinct. The proposals should differentiate the different participants that will be served resulting from the separate workforce equity grants.

8. When is the next round of the MWBE Support grant?

The next round of MWBE Support Grants will be released in Fiscal Year 2025. The anticipated release date is the end of the calendar year.

9. Do MWBE Support programs have to provide training certifications?

The MWBE Support grant is aimed to support MWBEs by providing support services, rather than providing training or certifications to participants directly. Certifications are essential for certain occupations, but these certifications do not need to be administered by your organization.

10. What circumstances would lead to an applicant interview?

We request applicant interviews if the review committee has questions about the proposal components that are not explicated in the application form and budget.

11. If I have an existing support grant, can I apply for further funding through Strand A to provide more stipends or additional back-office support for current MWBE support recipients?

Current grantees can apply for further funding through Strand A if the proposal is separate and distinct. An example of a separate and distinct proposal may include additional curriculum, providing more support services, and/or geographic expansion. A proposal to fund the same participants within the current programming will be less competitive.

12. Can we find an example or format for a letter of support? Does it need to be from the head of the company?

We do not have a specific format for the letter of support. We require letters of support on the company letterhead describing the responsibilities of the organization providing the letter. We prefer a letter signed by a high-level position of the organization as possible.

13. For the budget, we have a few organizations as partners. Would the budget be separate from them or include the partners in one budget?

The lead applicant will submit the budget and add partners in a subcontractor line. If the partner is receiving $50,000 or more from the requested amount, the lead applicant will need to submit an additional budget that includes the allocated amount for each line item for the given amount.

14. Can the programs only serve minorities or can it serve other businesses who are interested?

MWBE Support Grants are open to serve minority and women led businesses only. A minority and women owned business enterprise means a business that is at least 51% owned and predominantly controlled by minority or women principals.

15. Can I use the grant to provide stipends for MWBEs for work that needs to be done to receive their certification?

Yes, stipends are eligible under the MWBE Support Grants. Stipends can assist MWBEs with wrap around support services, which can help program participants with transportation, childcare, licensing, certifications, and more.

16. If we have previously received funding from MassCEC, do we have to target a different geographic area?

MassCEC reviews applications based on multiple factors, including geographic area. If you have received funding from the same grant, the application must be separate and distinct from the funded project. Diversifying the target geographic area will be viewed as distinct and more competitive.

Other Resources

MassCEC will look favorably on applications that propose data-driven approaches and leverage pre-existing resources from the robust workforce development and clean energy sectors in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Applicants are advised to use to use Powering the Future: A Massachusetts Clean Energy Workforce Needs Assessment, along with the following additional resources to inform their applications:

Networking icon


MassCEC is compiling a list of potential applicants interested in networking and partnerships for the open Workforce Equity grants. View the list here.

Sign up to the partnership list by sending your contact name, contact info, type of organization, and focus sector to rfpworkforce@masscec.com.

Recent MWBE Support Grant Projects

Round 2, Capacity Grant
Activate Global, Inc.

Activate Global is exploring how to enhance the existing Activate Fellowship program to better serve MWBEs through a Diversity Needs Assessment and Program Audit 

Round 2, Planning Grant
Beacon Climate Innovations

Beacon Climate Innovations is developing a plan to provide MWBEs upskilling, procurement and bid preparation experience, and contract opportunities through the development of Community Clean Energy Resilience Hubs.  

Round 1, Planning Grant; Round 2, Implementation Grant
Black Economic Council of Massachusetts

Round 1: Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) is expanding their Electric Vehicle (EV) Kickstarter program to areas outside of Boston, helping MWBEs identify business opportunities in EV space as retailers, owner-operators, installers, and maintenance providers.

Round 2: BECMA is expanding its state-wide Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) initiatives to guide more Black-owned businesses into the EV space and offer support through its Back Office Support Services (BOSS) and Vendor Advisory Council (VAC) programs. 

Round 2, Capacity Grant
Boston Center for Community Ownership

Boston Center for Community Ownership (BCCO) is developing a plan to adapt existing support programs for worker cooperatives to assist MWBEs seeking increased opportunities in the high-performance building sector.

Round 1, Implementation Grant
Browning the Green Space

Browning the Green Space will create more MWBEs by expanding the Accelerating Contractors of Color in Energy for Sustainable Success (ACCESS) program. ACCESS is an 8-week contractor boot camp for aspiring energy efficiency and renewable energy business owners that provides curated consulting, coaching, connections, mentorship, and access to capital.

Round 1, Planning Grant; Round 2, Implementation Grant
Center for Women and Enterprise

Round 1: Center for Women and Enterprise is providing educational materials, professional development support, and back-office services necessary for early MWBEs to thrive in the climate-critical building sector.

Round 2: CWE is developing the Clean Energy Business Support Center, expanding on their proven suite of MWBE programs to assist MWBEs entering the high-performance building sector through certification.  

Round 1, Planning Grant
The Compost Co-operative

The Compost Co-operative is expanding their employee ownership to a spin-off business model targeting BIPOC/female returning citizens as a template for other women returning from prison. They are also exploring connecting with other state programs to allow more formerly incarcerated women to use and participate in this business model. 

Round 1, Implementation Grant
Emerald Cities Collaborative

Emerald Cities Collaborative will recruit MWBE contractors in the Pioneer Valley, train on decarbonization work, connect to pipelines of work, provide networking opportunities, and facilitate connections to working and equity capital.

Round 2, Implementation Grant
Entrepreneurial & Business Collaborative

Entrepreneurial & Business Collaborative (EBC) is providing comprehensive support to MWBEs in Western Massachusetts through two distinct programs - an 8-week Consolidated Accelerator Program and a 12-month Comprehensive and Inclusive Support Program. 

Round 1, Implementation Grant
Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council

Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) will help MWBEs become aware of opportunities to obtain contracts in climate critical areas, build their financial and intellectual capital and provide MWBE certifications, leveraging grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Round 1, Implementation Grant
Greentown Labs

Greentown Labs will operate the accelerator program, Advancing Climatetech and Clean Energy Leaders (ACCEL) to accelerate high-growth, tech innovation–based MWBE startups towards investment, partnerships, and customers.

Round 1, Planning Grant; Round 2, Implementation Grant
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association

Round 1: Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is exploring how to provide MWBEs with access to the NESEA Green Building community through the expansion of their BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines, a business development program which operates as a peer coaching network with professional facilitation

Round 2: NESEA is launching BuildingEnergy Access, expanding on its existing BuildingEnergy Bottom Lines program, a unique network of business owners in the high-performance building sector dedicated to sustainability in the built environment. 

Round 1, Planning Grant; Round 2, Implementation Grant

Round 1: SRGE, a construction equity accelerator, is supporting the expansion of larger BIPOC construction, electrical, and mechanical contractors through the Construction Incubator program for EV charging station installation, high-performing mechanical systems, and energy retrofit building projects.

Round 2: SRGE is guiding emerging BIPOCQ+ led construction companies in the clean energy sector through the typical eighteen month bid process in the high-performance building sector to obtain contracts and to enable participating MWBEs to build capacity within their companies, access capital, and network in the clean energy sector. 

Additional Funding Opportunities