Finding small business grants can be quite a task if you’re not sure of where to start. However, they are not impossible to find since many are available online.
Small businesses face many hurdles, but grants can help you overcome them by providing money for specific purposes. Here are some tips to help you find small business grants.
Federal Government Grants for Small Businesses
The government is a good source of funding for small businesses. It’s one of the biggest distributors that offer grants to help small-business owners to get started.
Government agencies support various enterprises, from childcare facilities to environmental conservation. Applying for a government grant may seem intimidating, but it’s a great opportunity to grow your business.
Start applying for business grants today by visiting Grants.gov — a database of government grants for small businesses that federal agencies administer. Keep in mind that some awards are only available for certain types of businesses — such as green energy companies or nonprofits.
Others require you to have a specific amount in assets or revenue. On the other hand, some have additional restrictions that may require you to use local labor and materials — or limit how much money you can spend on marketing.
State and Local Grants for Small Businesses
Ask your state and local government about financial assistance. State and local governments have programs that offer to fund small businesses.
For instance, you can check with the Economic Development Administration for grants, technical assistance and other resources. This U.S. Department of Commerce agency works to support economic development and innovation.
Other local agencies, including Small Business Development Centers and Minority Business Development Centers, offer assistance in finding business grants and applying for them. Lastly, you can look into the State Trade Expansion Program — which assists small businesses in covering startup or expansion costs. Although, the amount of funding and eligibility criteria vary based on your state.
Private Funding Sources
Nonprofits, foundations and corporations are a great way to gain funding for your small business — especially if you’re finding it difficult to maintain growth and cash flow for your business.
Some nonprofits will provide grants — especially if your organization is in the same field as theirs. Various foundations will back women-owned and BIPOC-owned businesses with funding.
In addition, many corporations have philanthropic missions that include business grants. Consider researching the list of sources below.
Grants for Women-Owned Businesses
- The Amber Grant Foundation offers women entrepreneurs $10,000 yearly and $1000 monthly.
- The Women Who Tech Grants Program provides funding for women-owned tech startups, aiming to reduce the gender gap in the tech industry.
- The Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Awards Program gives annual grants to women-owned organizations that focus on meeting one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Grants for BIPOC-Owned Businesses
- Go.Be. is a nonprofit that offers funding up to $4,000.
- The Black Founder Startup Grant gives away $5,000 and $10,000 grants to black women and nonbinary entrepreneurs.
- AnnuityFreedom.net has recurring grants sent out each month through its BIPOC Small Business Grant program.
- Backstage Capital was founded to fund small-business owners of color, female gender and LGBT.
Small Business Grants from Corporations
- FedEx offers grants of up to $50,000 to foster entrepreneurship and community support.
- Walmart grants small businesses with funding between $250 and $250,000 to nonprofits that focus on sustainability, community development and social opportunities.
- The National Association for the Self-Employed allows members to apply for grants monthly. It awards grants of up to $4,000, including an annual scholarship fund for members’ dependents of $3,000.
- Venmo Small Business Grant awards 20 small businesses with $10,000. Plus, it provides free promotion on Venmo and Paypal sites and their social media accounts. Yet, you must have a Venmo account, generate less than $50,000 in revenue and have 10 or fewer employees.
How To Start Applying for Small Business Grants
The grant application process can be time-consuming on top of the eligibility requirements you already have to read through. Before you start applying, ensure you’re following these tips to proceed in the right direction.
Determine If the Grand Is a Good Fit for Your Business
It’s important to determine if the grant is a good fit for your business idea. Most grant programs require you to submit a detailed business plan — meaning you should have a solid idea of how the money will help your company grow.
To find out whether the grant is a good fit, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Can I meet the requirements? Make sure you thoroughly review the application instructions so you know the conditions. For example, some grants require quarterly reports or submission of financial statements from certain times of the year.
- Can I meet deadlines? You should know how long each step in the application process takes. That way, there are no surprises during the submission part and disappointment later down the line if you fall behind schedule.
In this instance, it’s important to be realistic about the grant submission process. While ambitious goals are excellent, you’ll need to see how you can accomplish them in an achievable timeframe and manner.
Follow the Submission Guidelines
Follow the submission guidelines, fill out all the required fields and ensure you have all the necessary attachments. A panel of judges will consider and accept your proposal when you follow the steps.
It may sound obvious, but this is one piece of advice that can save you time and frustration throughout the process. What is the best way to ensure your application gets noticed? Read through each grant’s guidelines carefully before applying.
Some grant applications require you to include a budget, while others will not. If it’s necessary, be sure to include all of the relevant line items for your project. Ensure you have overhead, indirect and travel expenses—these are essential when calculating how much money your organization needs from this grant.
Other Ways to Get Funding for Your Small Business
If you find yourself out of luck when qualifying for certain grants, you can always look to grant alternatives to fund your business. Here are some avenues to take:
- Business credit cards: Many companies offer small business cards with no annual fee and low or zero interest rates on purchases.
- Business loans from banks and other financial institutions: If you have good credit history and business experience, you may qualify for a bank loan to buy equipment, expand into new markets or make capital improvements at your business location.
- Angel Investors: These are high-net-worth individuals who invest in startups and established businesses with growth potential in exchange for part ownership of those companies.
- Crowdfunding: Involves raising money through contributions made online by many individuals who pool their resources together. That way, the individual doesn’t need to raise all funds alone.
Get Business Grants to Fund Your Small Business
Funding is crucial for any business. It allows you to invest in things like equipment, new hires and marketing campaigns. Yet sometimes, getting financing for your small business can take much time and effort. However, you can find grants for your company in no time by exploring the options mentioned here.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.