Minority- and Women-Owned Business Support Grants

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

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 across three years in grant funds and technical support to organizations that address the barriers faced by MWBEs in the clean energy sector and provide MWBEs with the skills and resources to thrive. Grantees develop or expand programs that provide support to existing MWBEs entering the clean energy sector and/or assist in the creation of new MWBEs in the sector. 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 their programs, leverage existing support systems, and propose robust partnerships.

Status
Closed
Award Potential
$1,000,000
Application Deadline
TBA late 2023
Questions? Contact

Funding Schedule

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

The current round of MWBE Support Grants is now closed. The next round of applications will be announced in late 2023.

Round 2 Schedule (Now Closed)

Process Step

Timing

RFP Release

December 28, 2022

Questions Due to MassCEC via workforce@masscec.com

Rolling, through February 20, 2023

Questions with Answers Posted to MassCEC Website

Updated monthly on 2nd Tuesday through February 21, 2023

Pre-Application Webinar

Jan 12, 2023, at 1 pm

See more and register

Pre-Application Office Hours

Jan 31, 2023, at 12 noon

Feb 9, 2023 at 5:30 pm

Feb 13, 2023 at 12 noon

Feb 17, 2023 at 12 noon

Feb 23, 2023 at 5:30 pm

Feb 27, 2023 at 12 noon

Feb 28, 2023 at 12 noon

Join below

Proposals Due

March 10, 2023, by 11:59 pm

Interviews of Applicants (as needed)

TBD

Notification of Award

May 2023

Who's Eligible

Single organizations or partnerships are eligible to apply. If multiple parties apply jointly, 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.
  • 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.

Apply

Application Process

The current round is now closed.  The following information is provided for reference only.

  1. Review the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Support Grant Request For Proposals (RFP).
  2. Review all RFP forms and attachments.
  3. Attend MassCEC informational webinar and/or use other informational resources offered.
  4. Contact MassCEC with questions or to discuss your ideas at workforce@masscec.com.
  5. Complete all RFP forms and attachments according to instructions.
  6. Submit all completed RFP forms and attachments by email to workforce@masscec.com by 11:59 pm on March 10, 2023, with "MWBE Support Grant Application" in the subject line.

For full Program details, please refer to the RFP.

Application Materials

The current round is now closed.  The following materials are provided for reference only.

Send completed application to:

workforce@masscec.com

Pre-Application Office Hours

MassCEC will host office hours when we announce the next round of MWBE Support Grants in late 2023.

Pre-Application Webinar

MassCEC held a live webinar about the MWBE Grants, including eligibility, budget, and the application process, on January 12, 2023. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Questions and Answers posted March 6, 2023.

Contact workforce@masscec.com for additional questions not included in the FAQs. 

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 Implementation RFP that is 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. The Equity Workforce Capacity Grants will be released in early 2023. The MWBE Implementation Support Grant currently open 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. MassCEC will be releasing MWBE Capacity Grants that can support an individual MWBE’s operations or growth in early 2023.

6. How many grants does MassCEC anticipate awarding?

The grant has $4,000,000 in funding available. The award potential is up to $1,000,000. We anticipate awarding four (4) to seven (7) MWBE Support Implementation grants of $250,000 to $1,000,000.  

7. Can the application form support graphs/ charts?

The application form does support the inclusion of graphs and charts. Applicants should turn diagrams into a picture and embed them in relevant sections of the application form. Applicants should be mindful of word count limits and deduct the estimated number of words in a diagram from the affected word limit. Please note that supplementary attachment materials will not be considered during review.

8. Does the application have to be completed in Word?

Applicants must submit the application form in Word or PDF. The application form was created in Word, but applicants can certainly work in another program and save the final product as a PDF. The uploaded PDF should reflect the general format and word limits, but MassCEC doesn’t have any restrictions about how to produce the PDF. If applicants have technical difficulties, please contact worforce@masscec.com for troubleshooting.

9. How do I access the list of organizations interested in partnerships?

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 workforce@masscec.com.

10. Who should be the Lead Applicant on the grant when working with partners?

The Lead Applicant should be able to handle the administration of the contract if awarded by MassCEC. The Lead Applicant must meet all the eligibility requirements of the RFP.

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 the following and additional resources to inform their applications:

Networking icon

Networking

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 workforce@masscec.com.

Additional Funding Opportunities