What Is A Business Grant
A grant is financial assistance that is given to a person, business, nonprofit, or corporation from federal, state, county, or local governments, or private businesses or corporations. There are a number of companies, nonprofits, and government agencies providing essentially free money to small business owners in the form of a small business grant. And the best part? Grants do not require repayment of any kind.
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Grants can be formed to target businesses based on a variety of factors, including minority-owned businesses, specific for-profit businesses as well as non-profit organizations, veteran-owned businesses, grants for women, and more.
You dont have to make your pitch on Shark Tank, refinance your home, or take out small business loans to take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey business grants may help you get there, if you know where to look and how to apply.
And right now, with so many small businesses struggling through the pandemic, these grants can provide much-needed financial support that could be the difference between thriving or closing your doors.
Weve pulled together numerous resources for business owners searching for small business grant opportunities. The majority of these have broad grant application requirements, meaning many businesses qualify.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
SBIR is a competitive grant program that encourages small businesses in the U.S. to engage in research and development for federal agencies. Itâs an awards-based program for high-tech innovation, overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration . To qualify, you must operate a for-profit business with less than 500 employees and fulfill all eligibility requirements.
Browse “solicitations” posted by federal agencies and filter by program, agency, or phase. Click any headline for further details on how to apply.
Colorado Export Development Grant
Colorado regularly ranks as one of the best states for startups and entrepreneurship, and the state government is helping to make sure that innovation continues in this state. Colorado offers government grants for many types of small and medium-sized businesses, especially businesses that are interested in international development or that are involved in advanced industries like robotics.
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Resource And Training Grants
The UK government has introduced a number of business training grants for small businesses, including Innovation Vouchers and the National Apprenticeship Service. Although these grants offer smaller funding opportunities, they are aimed at helping businesses upskill their workers and develop beyond the start up stage.
Where can you find what government grants are available?You can find available government grants for small businesses via the official government website, as well as through the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh or Northern Ireland Assemblies. For UK business grants, browse the Government’s Business Finance Support Finder. CapEx Associates can save you precious time, and select the right grants for your business.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
The SVOG is a grant program administered by the Small Business Administration that provides emergency financial assistance to eligible shuttered venues affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible venues include live venue operators or promoters, live performing arts organization operators, theatrical producers, relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria, motion picture theater operators and talent representatives.
Applicants may be eligible for grant amounts that equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. The SBA will start accepting applications for this grant on April 8, 2021, through their SVOG portal.
on how Challenge.gov works and how you can participate.
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Key Considerations To Make When Applying For Small Business Grants
Because small business grants are not loans, they dont usually require an assessment of creditworthiness. Issuers of grants also dont expect to own assets in your business, since this type of funding is not classified as investment capital. That being said, they still expect a return on investment, albeit not in monetary form.
When looking for grants for your small business:
Business Grants Vs Business Loans
Small business grants have one major advantage over business loans: You dont have to pay back a grant. A loan, on the other hand, has to be paid back with interest, which can be tough on new businesses and businesses with cash flow struggles. However, qualifying for a small business grant is also tough, so you may need to explore more traditional small business financing options that can work for you.
Two business loan options to consider if you cant qualify for a grant funding for your small business are microloans and SBA loans.
Microloans are loans under $50,000, and usually have low eligibility requirements and reasonable interest rates. Many of the same organizations that provide grants, such as nonprofits and government organizations, also provide microloans. So, if you dont qualify for a small business grant, we suggest asking the organization if they provide loans.
SBA loans are another alternative if youre unable to qualify for a grant. The federal government guarantees SBA loans and works with banks to get these loans in the hands of small business owners. Because of this, SBA loans have low interest rates, long repayment terms, and larger capital amounts. You can approach your local bank and see if they provide SBA loans, or you can apply for an SBA loan through Fundera.
See Your Business Loan Options
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Small Business Innovation Research And Small Business Technology Transfer Programs
The SBIR and STTR programs are some of the best government grants available to for-profit small businesses innovating in science and technology. They are highly competitive and incentivize small businesses to conduct research and development, in hopes to eventually commercialize their product.
In addition to funding, these programs also offer opportunities for small businesses to work with nonprofit organizations. To be eligible, you must operate a U.S.-based small business that is more than 50% U.S.-citizen owned and has less than 500 employees.
These programs are broken down into three phases:
- Phase I: Award is between $50,000 and $250,000 for six months or one year . The objective is to determine technical merit, commercial potential and feasibility.
- Phase II: Award is generally $750,000 for two years . The objective is to continue research and development efforts from Phase I.
- Phase III: Funding is not provided by SBIR or STTR programs. The objective is to pursue commercialization.
Small Business Development Centers
Once youve exhausted your searches for grants from federal agencies, the next stop on your list should be local and state business grants. You may be able to hit paydirt and find some of these on your own, but theres a free, local resource that may help.
Small Business Development Centers are a business owners best friend. Local, regional, state, and national offices mentor small business owners and help them understand business financing options, craft marketing strategies, and connect to other local business owners .
One thing they can help with is navigating the grant process. Very few people have as much visibility as SBDC advisors do on the local business grant scene. Its the one appointment you cant afford not to make when searching for small business grants.
Small Business Grant Vs Business Loan
Although a small business grant and loan are both ways to get funds for your business, they operate differently. A small business loan, unlike a small business grant, has to be repaid, plus interest and any fees a lender charges.
The business loan application process also differs. When you apply for a small business loan, a lender normally reviews your personal and business credit scores to determine whether you qualify. A grantor, on the other hand, doesnt check your credit since it doesnt expect repayment.
In addition, when you apply for a business loan, youll likely receive funds faster than applying for a grant, provided you qualify. For example, some lenders can approve qualified applicants on the same business day and disburse funds within a few days. However, if you apply for a federal grant, it can take up to six months for a grantor to make a decision.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Ben Franklin Technology Partners has been investing in startups in central and northern Pennsylvania for more than 30 years. Tech startups can potentially receive up to four yearly infusions of cash totaling around $500,000. Small manufacturers may be eligible for a one-time investment of up to $250,000. To learn more about eligibility, check out their website.
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Top Manitoba Business Grants And Loans
With federal and Ontario funding making weekly appearances in government funding news, it may feel like Western Canadian grants and loans arent as available or prevalent for small businesses. But fear not, government funding programs for Canadian businesses in provinces such as Manitoba are also available for a multitude of funding options including COVID-19 support, hiring and training, tech adoption, innovative research, and business expansion.
Is your business located in Manitoba? Learn about which small business grants and loans may be applicable to support your current or upcoming projects.
There are provincial and federal government funding programs that support Manitoba businesses through various types of strategic projects. By being proactive and applying for government grants and/or loans, Manitoba businesses can access small business funding that can make an innovative project more feasible with additional financial support.
Browse these programs to learn more about government funding for Manitoba businesses.
How To Apply For Small Business Grants
The application process will vary depending on the grant youre applying for, however here are some general tips to get you started:
- talk to the body awarding the grant find out what theyre looking for and tailor your application to the objectives
- write a thorough business plan
- explain how youll use the money be specific here and show how the funding will help you grow your business
- apply early some grants have a limited pot of money so its always worth getting your application in as early as possible
- create a cashflow forecast this is useful for managing your business finance and is sometimes needed when applying for finance
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What Kind Of Grants Can I Get To Start A Business
- Government grants: The federal government usually offers economic development grants to small businesses. You can learn more about these on the site for federal grants.
- Grants for veterans: This can include opportunities like Navs small business grant, which offers up to $10,000.
- Grants for women-owned businesses: You can check for these at Womens Business Centers near you.
Veteran Small Business Award
The Veteran Small Business Award provided by StreetShares Foundation awards up to $15,000 to veterans or spouses of veterans that own over 50% of the business. Itâs mission is to inspire, educate, and support veterans as they start small businesses.
Read the full terms and conditions for eligibility and application guidelines.
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Natural Resource Sales Assistance Program
In addition to the billions of dollars spent purchasing goods and services, the federal government also sells large amounts of natural resources and surplus property. The SBA Natural Resource Sales Assistance Program sets aside a percentage of these goods for bidding by small businesses only. In addition, federal agencies sometimes divide surplus materials into smaller parcels, making it easier for small businesses to purchase. The five categories are:
- Timber and related forest products.
- Strategic materials.
- Leases involving rights to minerals, coil, oil and gas.
- Surplus real and personal property.
The program also provides training for small businesses on government sales and leasing.
Government Grants For Small Business
This guide gives an overview of a range of small business grants, both from the government and other organisations across the UK.
You can jump straight to the government grants by following these links or keep reading for the full list of grants available for small business:
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Small Business Grants For Specific Demographics
Small business grants arent readily available to people wishing to start businesses. However, there are demographics that the government may want to promote and offer helpful resources for their businesses. Three of the largest groups are veterans, women, and minorities. Learn more about each of these subsets in the following sections:
Business Grant Vs Business Loan: Whats The Difference
While both help you get money for your business, grants and business loans for small businesses are different beasts. The main difference between a grant and a loan is whether or not they require repayment. Loans require you to repay the money you borrow a grant does not. Grants can be awarded by government departments, trusts, or corporations and given to individuals, businesses, educational institutions, or non-profits.
Grants can be notoriously difficult to get, so if you apply for funding and are rejected, consider other financing, including business credit cards.
Here are other things to know about the differences between grants and loans.
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Extending The Canada Emergency Business Account
The Canada Emergency Business Account has provided interest-free, partially forgivable loans to more than 850,000 Canadian small businesses. In December 2020, the government increased the value of the loan from $40,000 to $60,000 to help small businesses bridge to recovery. If a business repays their loans by December 31, 2022, up to a third of the value of their loans will be forgiven. In further recognition of the ongoing pandemic, the government recently extended the application deadline for CEBA to June 30, 2021.
A small number of businesses have faced challenges accessing the program, including Indigenous and rural businesses. To make sure these businesses are not left behind, the government provides similar support through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund and Indigenous Business Initiative. To make sure these businesses can continue to access support:
Find Out How You Can Take Advantage Of These Government Grants To Start Or Grow Your Business
- Government grants are free federal, state and locally funded programs offered to help launch or grow small businesses.
- Only apply for grants that you are eligible for and can meet all the conditions of the grantor.
- Look to your local government for coronavirus-relief programs specific to your community.
- This article is for new or existing small business owners who want to secure a government grant to help them launch or grow their organizations.
Launching and expanding a small business is expensive, and there are several financial routes you can take to secure funding. For many small business owners, government grants are a desirable option. Several grants are provided by federal, state, and local governments to help small businesses launch, grow, and develop their companies. Learn what the best government grants in 2020 are, how to apply and five tips to help your business get one.
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Gofundme Small Business Relief Fund
Crowdfunding company GoFundMe has partnered with partners to provide a COVID-19 relief fund for small businesses. Your business may receive a matching grant when you raise $500 through your own GoFundMe campaign, as long as you can verify that your business has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Funds must be used to pay business expenses or care for employees.
Small Business Grants For Veterans
While grant money is available to disabled veterans, there arent as many resources offered for all veterans. Funding is available in the form of low-interest business loans. Below are a few common funding programs for veterans:
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
Provided by The United States Department of Veterans Affairs , this program provides funds to disabled veterans. To be eligible, veterans must have experienced a service-connected disability that causes employment barriers. The VA requires applicants to receive a disability rating.
- Vets First Verification Program
The VA also offers this program for existing veteran business owners. It isnt a grant, but it does provide services to veteran business owners. They receive priority on contracts at the federal and state government levels, access to capital, and tax benefits. The program offers training and other resources to help these business owners learn how to manage their operations.
- The Street Shares Foundation
This foundation offers programs for veterans, including occasional grants. The company suggests veterans sign up to receive updates, or they can view the foundation website for listings. When funding is available, there are three awards given as follows:
- 1st Place $15,000
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What Can Small Business Grants Be Used For
For small business owners applying for grant funding, it can provide a lot of advantages. Grant money is essentially free money for qualifying small businesses to develop and grow without the pressure of paying back a loan.
Some of the categories that small business grants can be used for include:
- Scientific research, or small business innovation research
- Research and development
- Business growth and development for small rural businesses and local grants
- Upgrading business technology
- Sector and industry-specific grants
There are also specific types of grants for small businesses that are offered for limited periods. This can include federal government grants such as Coronavirus Small Business Grants and Shuttered Venue Operators Grants that are also important to keep an eye out for.