If you are considering grants as a way to fund your business or startup, there are some specific places to search. As you conduct your research, be aware that no matter what you see on the internet, federal and state governments do not provide grants for paying off debt or covering operating expenses.
However, the National Institutes of Health allow small and startup businesses to apply for small-business grants online. NIH grants aim to help businesses of fewer than 500 employees that need money for research and development to bring potentially life-saving new technologies to market. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Natural Resources Conservation Service sponsors annual grant competitions and provides extra money for small or new farmers interested in developing new and innovative ideas for conservation of natural resources.
In general, grants are usually given to nonprofit endeavors that are making some attempt to improve the human condition. Private organizations and corporations may offer grants to programs and businesses that are in line with their mission; however, many of these organizations do not accept unsolicited grant proposals. They make grants only to businesses and organizations that have been recommended to them, generally through their advisory board.
There are, however, alternative ways to seek out grants for small businesses, including those focused on innovation, conservation, and social entrepreneurship.
Instead of looking for money for general business purposes, search online for grants available on your home turf. Search by city, county, and state to find small-business grants for waste reduction, renewable energy or energy efficiency, entering export markets, or offering a minimum number of new jobs.