Financing your business:
Looking for start up funds? The best place to begin is the Small Business Administration's Financial Assistance site. It provides information on SBA loans and links to additional government sources for loans and grants.
Active Capital is another good place to look. Created by the federal government, it is a database of small businesses selling their securities. If your business meets Active Capital's qualifications, you can register your securities for sale in the database.
Grants.gov offers access to "more than a 1,000 grant programs offered by 26 federal grant-making agencies." This site is more useful for the actual grant application process.
You can also try the Catalog of Federal and Domestic Assistance. Though not specifically for small business, it does offer a "government-wide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to the American public."
Business Opportunities for Minorities & Women:
The Minority Business Development Agency is the best place to go for those interested in Small Business opportunities for minorities. The agency provides support to these entrepreneurs in the form of research information, information on where to find loans and grants, how to start a small business, and forums for individuals to discuss their business issues.
You can also take a look at SBA's Special Audiences web page. This site provides information to the disadvantaged and young entrepreneurs as well as the typical minorities.
If you are a woman looking to start your own business, there are additional useful sites such as the National Women's Business Council. The council offers access to mentoring programs and works to keep women informed on the current issues facing women entrepreneurs. Women Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century is another federal organization created to support women entrepreneurs whether in business for themselves or working up the corporate ladder. The site includes research and statistics, as well as links to other government resources covering business practices.
For women looking for funding, there are two good sites. Count Me In is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing monetary support through awards and loans, and Golden Seeds is a for profit company focused on providing funding and practical support to women entrepreneurs.