Grants are available for businesses typically without the need to pay them back — unlike business loans. However, finding and qualifying for private or public grants can take a little — and sometimes a lot of — effort. The following five potential sources of financial grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs can help make this process easier.
A variety of federal agencies are available for getting a small business grant. This is especially true if you plan to operate a technology-related business. One agency is called the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) agency, which offers different types of grants. Another similar agency is the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), which has given almost $30 billion to businesses since 1958. While the qualifications of these agencies are quite strict, you can get started with your business with these grants. Additionally, consider looking for new grants on sites like Grants.gov, which allow for alerts to let you know when new federal grants are available. Keep in mind that even if you’re denied one grant now, you can always apply for another one when a new one becomes available.
State Government Grants
There are also state government agencies, similar to federal government, that will occasionally offer grants to small businesses, known as “discretionary incentive grants.” These grants help to improve the state or country’s economy by encouraging the start up of new businesses. They can have strict eligibility requirements and extensive applications however, but if you get approved, they may be a fantastic funding opportunity. Check with your local state government office to find out which grants are currently available and pay close attention to the eligibility requirements, application process, and the deadline for applying. Most grants do have deadlines so you will need to be prepared ahead of time.
If you’re looking for a private grant, you can utilize the search feature located on the Foundation Center’s Foundation Grants for Individuals online website. This website is subscription-based, charging a monthly fee to access their grant information and application tips. Another resource of grant-awarding entities is The Council on Foundations. Private grants occasionally have more lenient requirements.
With one of these financial grants for small businesses, you can be on your way to have the funds needed to start a small business without worrying about overwhelming debt from a business loan.