Project North Star: Promoting Racial Equity in Federal Funding

What we stand for

Grant Engine seeks to save lives and to prolong life quality. Therefore, we must discuss and address inequity and bias.

We stand for racial equity. Black Lives Matter.  We stand for awareness of conscious bias and an acknowledgment that unconscious bias exists. We stand for recognizing and working to reduce our unconscious bias. At the same time, we are taking action to address racial disparities in both academic and small business funding in the United States.

We stand for mindful understanding of social systems in order to address these disparities. We stand for reconciling where we are today with a future grounded in racial equity.

We recognize that our filters and bias influence how we receive information regarding race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and identity.

We stand for taking responsible action to support our vision of an equitable society.

Our Guiding Principles:

1. Intentionally work against bias; keep it in check; avoid seepage of discrimination

2. Hearing: listening for understanding

3. Reconciling the differences that cause racial inequities through thoughtful action

These principles are rooted in our core values: Trust, Customer Success, Excellence Without Bias, Teamwork. 


Disparities in US federal grant funding

Compared to White scientists (WH), African-American/Black (AA/B) scientists are much less likely to win an NIH RO1 grant; this disparity cannot be fully accounted for by the number of applicants.

A 2019 study found that there were approximately 36 times more WH applicants than AA/B applicants and that, overall, 72 times more WH applications were funded than AA/B applications.

Figure edited for readability from Hoppe, et al. 2019

Exclusive Opportunity for Entrepreneurs of Color

Grant Engine is regularly identified as a leader in winning US federal funding through writing and submitting small business grants for scientific research companies. As part of our pledge to increase inclusion and diversity within scientific research, we offer a free evaluation of potential grant funding for companies founded or lead by entrepreneurs of color. Neither filling out the form nor completing the funding evaluation require any commitment from either party.

To receive your complimentary evaluation, please complete our intake form and be sure to note that you are being referred through our website and Project North Star. One of our team members will get back to you as soon as possible to work with you on identifying your best opportunities for small business funding from US federal funding agencies.


Introducing Project North Star


The summer of 2020 highlighted how much work needs to be done to ensure the freedom, safety, and opportunities for all people within every parts of society, including members of the scientific research and entrepreneurship community. As a company, the Grant Engine team asserts that we stand with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and that we will continue to work to facilitate access to our nation’s dynamic and innovative research ecosystem by everyone. We believe that doing our jobs to the best of our abilities includes making efforts to engage in antiracism and support for minority populations within the United States.

Our world needs the best ideas and technologies to solve our biggest problems, and this is not possible unless every perspective has a place at the table. Grant Engine supports the Black Lives Matter movement by working to increase the number of federal grants awarded to businesses owned by innovators identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

To that end, Grant Engine has activated Project North Star. Inspired by the efforts of Frederick Douglass, the Black American social reformer, who escaped slavery and founded the antislavery newspaper called “The North Star,” Grant Engine is committed to dedicating time and effort to promote the success of BIPOC individuals through US federal funding mechanisms.

Project Initiatives

Aim 1 – Support BIPOC entrepreneurs in the pursuit of grant funding. This goes far beyond the efforts of the AAP program currently supported by NIH, and will include creating opportunities for professional development and grantsmanship training.
Aim 2 – Increase BIPOC study section participation on SBIR/STTR panels, and across the NIH.
Aim 3 – Publicize, support and catalyze a greater number of fundable SBIR/STTR Diversity Supplements under PA-21-345.

Initiatives for Increasing Diversity in Federal Funding

Fellowships, awards, and supplements for URM scientists

All NIH supplements

NIH Training Opportunities

Open Philanthropy’s Grants Database

Black Business’s Top Black and Minority Business Grants and Funding Opportunities

African American Grants’s Lists of Grants for Black Business Owners

Small Business Administration Guide To Growing Minority Owned Businesses