Small-business grants offer free money to new and existing businesses, including those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It takes time and effort to research and applies for funding, but the payoff can be worthwhile if your small business receives a grant. Read through to know Free Money to Start a Small Business.
What is a Small Business Grant?
A grant is financial help provided by the federal, state, county, or local governments, as well as private businesses or corporations, to an individual, business, nonprofit, or corporation.
A small business grant is essentially funding provided to small business owners by a number of companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. Also, the best part? Grants do not require any kind of repayment.
Grants can target businesses based on a variety of criteria, such as minority-owned businesses, specific for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations, veteran-owned businesses, grants for women entrepreneurs, and more.
Federal small-business Grants
Government agencies are among the largest providers of business grants, funding everything from environmental conservation to child care services.
Although applying for federal grants can intimidate, they are excellent opportunities for small-business owners looking to expand.
Grants.gov is a comprehensive database of government small-business grants administered by various federal agencies, such as the departments of Education and Veterans Affairs.
2. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs
They focus the SBIR and STTR grant programs on R&D for technological innovation and scientific research. The programs assist small businesses in obtaining federal grants and contracts from 11 government agencies.
The Rural Business Development Grant program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, funds strengthen and grow small businesses in rural communities.
To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 50 new employees, less than $1 million in gross revenues, and be in a rural area. They accepted applications at local or state USDA Rural Development offices.
4. Program for Investors in Micro-entrepreneurs (PRIME)
Typically, the SBA does not make grants directly to small businesses. The PRIME program provides federal grants to microenterprise development organizations in order for them to assist disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs.
These organizations, which include the Nebraska Enterprise Fund and the Micro-Enterprise Services of Oregon, which both received funding in 2021, can be private nonprofits or run by the state, local, or tribal governments.
State and Regional Small-Business Grants
Below are a list of some state and regional small-business grant
1. Economic Development Administration
This agency of the United States Department of Commerce provides grants, resources, and technical assistance to communities in order to promote economic growth and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
Each state’s agency assists businesses in obtaining financing (including state or regional grants), locating suitable locations, and recruiting employees.
You can look up regional offices and local resources in the economic development directory.
2. Small Business Development Cente
Our local SBDC assists small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. They’re frequently affiliated with local universities or a state’s economic development agency.
Many can help you connect with small-business grants and other business financing opportunities, as well as counseling, training, and technical help.
3. Minority Business Development Agency Centers
The MBDA operates a national network of business centers devoted to the development and promotion of minority-owned small businesses.
These centers assist business owners in obtaining capital, securing contracts, and competing in emerging markets. You can get help from your local MBDA center to apply for debt-based financing as well as federal, state, and local business grants.
The agency usually holds an annual small-business grant competition and posts updates on its website about it.
4. State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
The SBA funds state governments to implement the STEP grant program, which assists small businesses in covering costs associated with entering or expanding into international markets.
The funding amounts and eligibility criteria for these government small-business grants vary by state, but capital can take part in export trade shows.
Also,, design international marketing products, and support website globalization.
Corporate Small-Business Grants
Many large corporations and corporations have a philanthropic component that includes small-business grants.
While they only gave some grants to nonprofits that serve specific industries, they gave others to for-profit businesses.
1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
The company’s annual grant competition awards more than $250,000 to ten small businesses, including a $50,000 grant and $4,000 in FedEx print and business services to the top three winners.
The 2022 competition has concluded, and they announced the winners on May 4.
The competition is open to for-profit small businesses in the United States that have been in operation for at least six months and employs no more than 99 people.
2. National Association for the Self-Employed
NASE members are eligible to apply for monthly small-business grants of up to $4,000, as well as an annual $3,000 college scholarship for their dependents.
They distributed grants throughout the year, with completed applications reviewed quarterly in January, April, July, and October.
3. Patagonia Corporate Grants Program
Through the Patagonia Corporate Grants Program, nonprofits working to preserve and protect the environment can apply for a small-business grant.
The retailer seeks innovative businesses with quantifiable projects that have specific goals, objectives, and action plans. These non-profit grants typically range from $5,000 to $20,000.
4. Visa Everywhere Initiative
The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a grant competition that funds forward-thinking startups in five different regions around the world. Applicants must show how they have created a product or service that creatively incorporates Visa’s products.
Visa will choose the top five finalists in each region, and these companies will compete in a global finals event. The overall competition winner receives a $100,000 small-business grant.
Startup Business Grants
If you’re looking for free money to start a small business, you might have a harder time finding federal grants.
However, some state and local governments, as well as private businesses, provide startup grants to small businesses.
1. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Awards
The annual Dream Big Awards recognizes a small business for its contributions to the U.S. economy and offers a grant of $25,000.
The competition also gives awards and prizes to businesses in a variety of categories, such as emerging businesses and green/sustainable businesses.
Although you must have an existing business in order to qualify, it must have been in operation for only one year.
2. Hello Alice Grant Platform
Hello Alice collaborates with several companies, including Progressive and DoorDash, to provide grants for small businesses, including startups.
You can set up an account to be notified of new opportunities and to apply for grants that are relevant to your business.
3. Comcast RISE
Startup businesses can receive free marketing services and technology makeovers through the Comcast RISE program. They gave these awards out quarterly to companies that have been in operation for at least a year.
To qualify, you must also be within the Comcast or effective service area, and your company must be 51 percent owned by a woman or person of color.
4. Amber Grant for Women
WomensNet offers a $10,000 monthly Amber Grant and two $25,000 grants per year. Throughout the year, the foundation provides additional funding.
Businesses only need to fill out one application to be eligible for any of WomensNet’s grants. Women-owned businesses, both new and established, are eligible.
Although many federal, state, and private grant programs are no longer accepting applications, there are still a few options for small businesses in need of help because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s what you should know:
1. SBA Small-Business Grants
The US Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 relief grant programs, including the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, are now closed and no longer accepting new applications.
Similarly, the deadline for applying for a $10,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance, or grant, has passed.
2. State and Local Coronavirus Small-Business Grant
Small businesses in New York, for example, can apply for free financing of up to $50,000 through the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program.
Micro-businesses in Sonoma County, California, can apply for $2,500 grants through the California Micro-business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.
You can check with your state’s secretary of state, the Department of Economic Development, or other official government websites in your area to see what options are available for your company.
3. Corporate COVID-19 Small-Business Grant
Although some private companies have closed their coronavirus relief grant programs, there may be a few options that are still accepting applications.
Main Street America, for example, continues to offer its Inclusive Backing Grant Program in collaboration with American Express.
COVID-19 relief grants are currently being awarded to brick-and-mortar businesses owned by women, nonbinary people, and veterans of the United States Armed Forces through this program.
By now you probably know about free money to start a Small business grant is an excellent way to raise funds for your company. For winning a grant, however, the competition is fierce.
So, to avoid being disqualified, it’s always a good idea to prepare for a grant ahead of time. You can find a grant whether you run a local or national business, and winning one can provide you with some financial security.
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