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How to identify for-profit grant opportunities

There are opportunities for small businesses and startups in the for-profit grant market. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look.

Below are some sources for for-profit grants, which may be useful to fund your small business.

The Small Business Administration (SBA)

This SBA does not supply grants for startups or for business expansion, but there are government grants for specific types of projects, including construction. There are also many research grants for small businesses supplied by the federal government in addition to the agency’s loan and import-export expertise.

Other Federal Grant Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer two programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), both of which provide early stage capital for small businesses that are directly involved in creating innovative technologies to improve health.

If your business is in another industry, grant programs from 27 other government agencies can be found through the federal government’s main grant portal,

State Governments

Many state and city governments provide grants to small businesses and for specific for-profit projects. Small-business grants often cover the areas of waste reduction, renewable energy or energy efficiency, or offering a minimum number of new jobs.


Other business people who have done exceptionally well are often interested in helping up-and-coming entrepreneurs by providing grants. For example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded grants awarded to small businesses that contribute to the national and global economies.


Various corporations and organizations run competitions for grant money. For example, the Miller Lite Tap the Future is a competition where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas for a chance at more than $200,000 in funding. The competition also involves access to successful business leaders, seminars and other live pitch opportunities. Other corporations like FedEx HP, and Intuit also offer various sizes of grants for new businesses and new product idea development.

Small Business Organizations

Organizations like the Business Owners’ Idea Café give out small grants of $1,000 each year. While that may seem tiny, you also get free access to other resources, like marketing advice. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) also offers grants of $4,000 to businesses to help finance a specific need like a piece of equipment.

Note: Avoid any organization that charges a fee for providing access to information or applications for for-profit grant opportunities.

While the process of applying for a grant may be time-consuming in terms of application and paperwork, it may be an avenue to get funding for your startup or small business.

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