2019-08-23 09:00:25 Grants English Whether you’re starting or growing, small business grants fuel your future without debt. Here are the 10 best resources and 25 grants to... https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/us_qrc/uploads/2019/08/Small-business-grants.jpg https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/grants/small-business-grants/ Small business grants (2019): 10 resources & 25 grants to fund your future

Small business grants (2019): 10 resources and 25 grants to fund your future without debt

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Best small business grants in 2019: 10 resources to guide you

  1. Grants.gov
    Grants.gov makes it “faster, easier and more cost-effective” for applicants to interact digitally with federal grant-awarding agencies.
  2. US Small Business Administration Grants
    The SBA works with new and existing business to provide grants through federal agencies and to offer technical assistance.
  3. SBIR & STTR America’s Seed Fund
    America’s Seed Fund helps startups transform “high-risk, high-impact technologies” into marketable products and services.
  4. USA.gov: State and Territory Business Resources
    State-by-state—as well as territories—online database to find “regulations, resources, and financing opportunities near you.”
  5. State Business Incentives Database
    An interactive map of the US detailing incentive programs like loans, grants, tax exemptions and credits, and preferential rates.
  6. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
    NASE Growth Grants funds “particular small business needs” by awarding $4,000 micro-grants.
  7. Small Business Development Centers
    Find and connect with local assistance programs (SBDCs) whose mission is to promote entrepreneurship and small business growth.
  8. Minority Business Development Agency
    Federal agency that aids the “growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses” through grants, loans, private equity, and venture capital.
  9. Association of Women Business Centers
    In partnership with the SBA, AWBC offers training, mentoring, business development, and financing to female entrepreneurs.
  10. The National Minority Business Council
    Provides business assistance, educational opportunities, and financial services to small, minority, and women entrepreneurs.

What are small business grants?

Small business grants are small-to-medium amounts of seed money awarded to small business owners that desire to start or grow projects that further the goals of grantees such as governments, nonprofits, and corporations.

In other words, grants raise capital for your business without forcing you to take out a small business loan, rack up credit card debt, or give up ownership in your company.

Despite how they’re often portrayed, grants aren’t “free money.”

Most require a well-crafted business plan, detailed reporting (e.g., financial statements), and a business idea rooted in serving the greater good.

A host of questions surround you …

  • How do I get a grant to start a business?
  • How can you qualify for a grant?
  • How can I get free grants to grow?
  • Are there free government grants?

To answer those questions, we’ll examine the major types of small business grants—federal, state, local, and private—along with 25 different grants that are currently available:

Federal small business grants and startup grants

The American government rarely conducts research or creates new technologies.

That’s why—when a political platform promises dedication to environmental sustainability, curing diseases, or human services—government agencies award grants to organizations and small business owners already striving to meet these goals.

The same is true for growth grants meant to fuel innovation through startup businesses

With this grant-driven approach to problem-solving, it makes sense that federal grants typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Research and development
  2. Exporting grants for selling internationally
  3. Nonprofit or local government work

Research and development

Many stated government goals require research and development. From healthcare to the environment, the government needs private businesses and organizations to conduct research and develop products, services, and programs to address the problems in a given area.

Take a look at some of the federal government grant programs below to get a feel for how the federal government engages small businesses to efficiently research problems and develop responsive solutions:

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

What is it?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program awards grants to US-based small businesses that “engage in Federal Research/Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization.”

The program includes four goals:

  1. Stimulate technological innovation
  2. Meet federal research and development needs
  3. Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons,
  4. Increase private-sector commercialization of innovation

How much does it award?

SBIR grants include three phases. The first phase establishes the technical merit and commercial potential of the research efforts.

Phase I grants cap typically around $150,000. The second phase continues the efforts of Phase I and largely depends on the work accomplished throughout Phase I.

Phase II awards generally cap at $1,000,000. Finally, Phase III helps the business achieve commercialization and isn’t funded by SBIR.

Who can apply?

For-profit US businesses with 500 or fewer employees are eligible to apply for SBIR grants.

How to apply?

Applications are submitted in response to specific goals of the participating federal agencies. Take a look at the current solicitations here.

Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

What is it?

The Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) is similar to the SBIR program in that it funds research and development projects that meet federal needs.

A vital component of the STTR program is the “expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions.”

Small businesses in the program are required to collaborate with a research institution in phase I and phase II. STTR aims to bridge the gap dividing essential scientific study and commercialization.

How much does it award?

The funding phases and caps mirror the SBIR program presented above, with the first two phases being funded and the third phase not funded.

Who can apply?

For-profit US businesses with 500 or fewer employees, that partner with an outside research institution are eligible to apply for STTR grants.

How to apply?

Visit the STTR site to apply.

National Science Foundation (NSF): America’s Seed Fund

National Science Foundation (NSF) America’s Seed Fund

What is it?

Through America’s Seed Fund, the National Science Foundation (NSF) provides grants to start-ups and small businesses who concentrate on “high-risk, high-impact technologies.”

These technologies include promising concepts whose success is not yet known.

How much does it award?

Small businesses can receive up to $225,00 in seed capital. Additionally, the NSF awards phase I grants of up to $750,00 over 24 months and up to $500,000 in phase II.

Who can apply?

The NSF/America’s Seed Fund grants are subject to the same criteria as the SBIR small business concern eligibility requirements.

How to apply?

Visit the How to apply site to learn more NSF grants.

Exporting grants for selling internationally

The federal government is always interested in increasing exports. Therefore, grants are available to organizations who are dedicated to decreasing barriers for small businesses to export out of the country.

The federal government manages a specific program that increases the export capacity of US-based small businesses.

Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

What is it?

STEP is a three-year pilot program the helps US small businesses enter the international marketplace. The federal government partners with state and local governments to facilitate the program.

How much does it award?

Because the federal government partners with state and local governments, the awards vary in size depending on the partnerships in your area. However, average grants generally fall in the $500,000 to $700,000 range.

Who can apply?

STEP awards are limited to US-based small business concerns. State and local requirements can further restrict this qualification.

How to apply?

For application requirements, visit the STEP site and select your state.

Nonprofits or local government work

Because nonprofits are issue-driven, their goals often align with federal government goals. However, nonprofits have less ability to raise money from outside investors and banks.

Accordingly, the federal government funds many nonprofits on both a one-time and renewal basis through various grant programs.

The below examples illustrate how the government helps support worthy nonprofit causes that might not exist if they were required to generate a profitable business model.

National Institutes of Health Grants

National Institutes of Health Grants

Both for-profit and not-for-profit research institutions receive grants continuously to research health issues that are critical to the US and broader world.

The funding can be based on need or a preset amount.

Grant types include research grants, career development awards, research training and fellowships, program project or center grants, resource grants, and Trans-NIH programs.

For an overview of how NIH grants work, visit the NIH grant program site.

Environmental Protection Agency Grants

Environmental Protection Agency Grants

The US EPA awards more than $4 billion annually to fund environmental projects. These grants are typically awarded to nonprofit organizations and state governments.

Visit the EPA grants site to learn more.

US Department of the Interior Federal Grants Program

US Department of the Interior Federal Grants Program

The US DOI oversees domestic lands, water, wildlife, and energy through scientific study and projects.

Through the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Indian Affairs, and National Park Service, the DOI manages an extensive grant program that helps fund nonprofit work in these areas.

State and local government grants

Where the federal government awards small business grants to tackle nation-wide and global issues, state and local governments issue grants to address needs specific to their locale.

For example, the EPA and Department of Energy award federal grants that cover the expanse of environmental challenges. In contrast, the city of Los Angeles’ environmental grants focus on water usage and clean air, while the State of Kansas favors soil preservation.

QQQTwo common trends show up in state and local government small business grants.

First, state and local governments use grant money to attract new businesses and create jobs. Second, they fund projects that meet a specific local need.

Kansas Job Creation Program Fund (JCF)

Kansas Job Creation Program Fund (JCF)

What is it?

The Kansas JCF is a state-run fund that aims to attract new businesses to the state of Kansas. To receive funding, companies must show that they will achieve specific benchmarks such as job creation, capital investments, equipment purchases, or facilities improvements.

How much is awarded?

As companies meet the benchmarks, they are distributed grant money over three years. Funding varies depending on criteria and requirements.

Who can apply?

Businesses whose benchmarks qualify are eligible to apply. There are no set funding floors or caps. Since its creation, Kansas typically funds around 25 companies a year through the program.

How to apply?

To learn more, visit the JCF site.

New York City Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (CFDA)

New York City Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (CFDA)

What is it?

Run by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), NYC’s FMI aims to increase fashion manufacturing in the city.

Grants are made to fashion manufacturers to purchase equipment, upgrade technology, hire and train employees, and transfer operations to NYC.

How much is awarded?

The max award is $300,000. Businesses are required to raise a 33% match (e.g., a $300,000 grant requires a company to raise $100,000).

Who can apply?

Fashion, apparel, and accessory production facilities in business for a minimum of two years, already located or moving to one of the five NYC boroughs, with support from key fashion designers/brands with staff and internal capacity to accomplish the stated goal are eligible to apply.

How to apply?

You can apply for the grant at the Council of Fashion Designers of America website.

New York City Job Creation and Retention Program (JCRP)

New York City Job Creation and Retention Program (JCRP)

What is it?

NYC’s JCRP aims to create new jobs. The grant is awarded to eligible companies across industries who are committed to creating or retaining jobs in the Lower Manhattan area.

How much is awarded?

Grants vary depending on project and needs.

Who can apply?

Businesses with a project that will …

  1. Create at least 75 new jobs in Lower Manhattan, or
  2. Retain at least 200 Lower Manhattan jobs within four years of the project start, where half the jobs start in the first year

Qualified companies cannot have previously committed to new Lower Manhattan jobs, and the new or retained jobs must be maintained for at least ten years.

How to apply?

Enter the Grant Approval Process to begin.

Minnesota Job Creation Fund

Minnesota Job Creation Fund

What is it?

The Minnesota Job Creation Fund provides grants to businesses looking to expand business through job creation and capital investments within the state of Minnesota.

How much is awarded?

Businesses can receive up to $1 million based on job creation, types of jobs created, capital investments, and other criteria.

Who can apply?

Businesses that will …

  1. Invest $250,000-$500,000 on projects approved by a council resolution
  2. Create 10—five in certain regions—new full-time jobs within two years
  3. Pay employees a base salary which is adjusted each year
  4. Cause no harm to Minnesota business competitors
  5. And can certify that the project would not occur without the Job Creation Fund grant

How to apply?

Review the Job Creation Fund Program Eligibility and Application Checklist to learn more.

Illinois Recycling Expansion and Modernization Program (REM)

Illinois Recycling Expansion and Modernization Program (REM)

What is it?

Illinois’ REM program exists to expand recycling options and meet its waste reduction goals. The program awards grants to companies in the recycling and waste reduction markets to accomplish this goal.

How much is awarded?

Depending on the category, the max grant is $150,00 or $250,000.

Who can apply?

Those who have a project approved and will use the funds to purchase or install equipment and/or services to complete the project are eligible to apply.

How to apply?

Visit the Illinois Recycling Association site to apply.

Louisiana Community Development Block Grant

Louisiana Community Development Block Grant

What is it?

Louisiana’s Block Grant program helps communities meet suitable living environments and expand economic development, especially in low-income areas.

The federal government funds the Block Grant program, but it’s the state that decides which organizations will best utilize the funds.

Improving public facilities, meeting local needs, or demonstrating economic development are all common uses of the Block Grant program.

How much is awarded?

Through the Block Grant program, and complementary programs, Louisiana distributes funds to businesses based on project specifics.

Who can apply?

Eligibility depends on project specifics. The projects must meet the stated needs in the target areas.

How to apply?

For more information, visit the Louisiana Division of Administration site.

Maryland Child Care Quality Incentive Grant Program (CCQIG)

Maryland Child Care Quality Incentive Grant Program (CCQIG)

What is it?

The CCQIG aims to improve the quality of childcare in Maryland. The grant allows childcare providers to buy supplies, materials, training, and equipment needed to prepare young children for success in their upcoming education.

How much is awarded?

Depending on the size of the center and the type of facility, grants are available up to $1,000, $1,500, or $2,500.

Who can apply?

To be eligible, the childcare provider must have:

  1. A current license or letter of compliance
  2. Currently operate a childcare center or family child care home
  3. Implement a curriculum that aligns with the Kindergarten Readiness and Early Learning Assessment guidelines
  4. Meet the specific requirements of a childcare center or family childcare home facility.

How to apply?

Apply directly at the CCQIG site.

DC Small and Local Business Development Grants

DC Small and Local Business Development Grants

What is it?

DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development tackles local problems with project-specific grants.

For example, the Clean Team Grant is a current project-based grant that will fund 18 different teams to improve commercial district appearances in specific locales around DC. These teams will improve the areas per the goals, create jobs, and improve the environment in the locations that need repair.

How much is awarded?

Depending on the target area, grants range from $103,000 to $222,000.

Who can apply?

Nonprofits and Certified Business Enterprises who are current on taxes and can demonstrate expertise in clean team services, job-training, and social support service are eligible to apply.

How to apply?

Visit the Clean Team site to apply.

Texas Young Farmer Grant

Texas Young Farmer Grant

What is it?

The Texas Department of Agriculture offers this grant twice a year to help young agricultural producers in the state ensure that Texas’ agricultural legacy is preserved and sustained.

How much is awarded?

Grants range from $5,000 to $20,000 and match the funds individuals raise or contribute to the business.

Who can apply?

Individuals 18-46 who are currently or will be engaged in a business that creates or expands agriculture in Texas are eligible to apply. The applicants must both reside and operate in Texas.

How to apply?

Visit the Young Farmer Grant site to apply.

Grants for women and minorities

There’s no shortage of news coverage on the lack of minority- and women-owned businesses.

Unfortunately, only 13% of US small businesses are minority-owned and 36% are women-owned.

The gaps in ownership funding opportunities for minorities and women are known. Thankfully, both private and government organizations are trying to fix this imbalance through small business grants for minorities and women.

Minority Development Business Agency (MDBA)

Minority Development Business Agency (MDBA)

What is it?

MDBA is a part of the US Commerce Department. It promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses in the US.

It conducts research, facilitates grant applications, and issues its grants under programs such as the Virtual Business Center Grant Competition.

How much is awarded?

The max grant award is $5,200,000

Who can apply?

For-profits, nonprofits, and educational institutions with projects that increase access and use of technology in minority-owned businesses are eligible.

How to apply?

Learn how to apply for an MDBA grant here.

National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Growth Initiative

National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Growth Initiative

What is it?

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises in a “globalized corporate supply chain.”

Growth Initiative provides equity capital from institutional investors while ensuing businesses retain their minority status through management and control.

How much is awarded?

Equity is awarded on a case by case basis.

Who can apply?

Certified minority business enterprises can become NMBC members and then apply for the Growth Initiative.

How to apply?

Visit the Growth Initiative for the program’s guidelines and application.

Women Business Centers

Women Business Centers

What is it?

The US SBA sponsors around 100 Women Business Centers across the US. These centers help women-owned businesses find funding through both federal and private grants.

How much is awarded?

Awards vary in size depending on the specific grant.

Who can apply?

Typical grants for women-owned businesses require that at least one owner be a female, while others require that a female owns a majority stake in the company.

How to apply?

Visit the SBA’s Women Business Center site to find a center site local to your business.

Amber Grants for Women

Women’s Net Amber Grants for Women

What is it?

The Amber Grant program started in 1998 to honor of a young woman who passed away before she was able to fulfill her entrepreneurial dream.

Since then, 12 women-owned businesses are awarded Amber grants each year to help grow women-owned businesses.

How much is awarded?

Amber Grant recipients receive $2,000, and each year, one winner will be selected to receive an additional $25,000 grant.

Who can apply?

For-profit, women-owned businesses in the US and Canada looking to launch or grow a business are eligible to apply.

How to apply?

Fill out an Amber Grant application to apply.

Corporate or private grants for small businesses

Grant programs for small businesses don’t end with federal and state governments.

Large, corporate enterprises also benefit from small business creation and are willing to grant money to develop the small business world.

Similar to government grants, corporate grants are awarded to businesses that meet a defined set of goals or standards.

If your business fits into one of these categories, you may benefit from a corporate grant.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

What is it?

Each year, FedEx runs a small business grant contest, based on an application process.

The application includes an elevator pitch, company history and profile, and a description of how the winner will spend the grant money. Past winners have focused on community building, supporting positive causes, and bringing businesses to scale.

How much is awarded?

The grand prize winner receives $50,000 plus $7,500 in FedEx services.

The second-place winner receives $30,000 plus $5,000 in FedEx services. And eight third-place winners receive $15,000 plus $1,000 in FedEx services.

Who can apply?

US-based businesses with less than 99 employees that have been in operation for at least six months are eligible to enter the contest.

How to apply?

Submit entries directly at the FedEx contest site.

Visa Everywhere Initiative

Visa Everywhere Initiative

What is it?

The Visa Everywhere Initiative program awards grants to start-ups that solve modern payment challenges, enhance current products and build products that serve the Visa network of partners.

Each year, Visa proposes specific problems, and businesses submit their pitch to solve the challenge of choice.

The three challenges for 2019 were Driving Digital Issuance, Enabling digital payments, and Providing Added Value.

How much is awarded?

Multiple winners receive $25,000 and mentorship through a Visa pilot program. Other winners receive $5,000.

Who can apply?

Businesses operating in the US, with US citizens participating, are eligible to apply to the program.

How to apply?

Apply to the challenge at the Visa Everywhere Initiative site.

Girlboss Foundation Grant Awards

Girlboss Foundation Grant Awards

What is it?

Girlboss offers grants to female business owners in the design, fashion, music, and arts industries.

How much is awarded?

Each grant is $15,000 and promotion through the Girlboss platform and community.

Who can apply?

Female business owners who are at least 18 years old and in the applicable industries can apply.

How to apply?

Applications can be mailed in or submitted through the Girlboss site.

The Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant

What is it?

The Halstead Grant is awarded annually to emerging silver jewelry artists.

How much is awarded?

The winner receives $7,500 in capital and $1,000 in merchandise from the Halstead jewelry supply provider.

Who can apply?

Silver jewelry artists are eligible to apply.

How to apply?

Download The Halsted Grant application here. It includes 15 business questions for jewelry artists looking to start a business.

Securing your small business’ future

The grants above should give you a feel for the types of small business grants available so you can fund your business’ growth without raising capital through investors, personal debt, or business credit.

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Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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