A small-business loan might help you stock your shelves, purchase new equipment, or expand your reach. Traditional banks, online lenders, and community lending institutions are all options for business owners seeking funding.
Small-business grants, on the other hand, do exist and can provide free money to startups and existing enterprises, including those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
It might take time and effort to investigate and apply for small company assistance. Here’s a list of federal, state, and private small-business grants and resources to get you started.
Corporate Small Business Grants
1. National Association for the Self-Employed
NASE members can qualify for monthly small-business awards of up to $4,000, as well as an annual $3,000 college scholarship for members’ dependents. Completed applications are reviewed quarterly in April, July, October, and January, with grants distributed all year.
2. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
The company’s annual grant competition awards $250,000 to 12 small businesses, with the grand prize winner receiving a $50,000 grant and $7,500 in FedEx print and business services. The competition for 2021 begins on February 16.
The competition is accessible to for-profit small enterprises in the United States that have been in operation for at least six months and employs no more than 99 people.
State and Regional Small Business Grants
3. Small Business Development Centers
Your local SBDC can help small firms and prospective entrepreneurs. They are frequently affiliated with local colleges or the state’s economic development agency, and many can aid business owners in connecting with financing possibilities, as well as counseling, training, and technical assistance.
4. Economic Development Administration
The EAD is a U.S. Department of Commerce department that provides funds, resources, and technical help to communities in order to promote economic growth and foster entrepreneurship and innovation.
Each state’s agency assists businesses in obtaining finance (including state or regional subsidies), locating suitable locations, and recruiting staff. You can look up regional offices and local resources in the economic development directory.
Federal Small Business Grants
1. Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer
The SBIR and STTR grant programs focus on research and development for technological innovation and scientific research. The programs assist small firms in obtaining federal grants and contracts from 12 government entities.
To be eligible, you must run a for-profit firm, have no more than 500 employees, and meet additional standards.
Grants.gov is a comprehensive database of grants offered by numerous government departments, including the United States Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
There are no federal small-business awards available on this website, but it does include tools for beginning or growing a business, including a link to GovLoans, which provides information on the many types of federal small-business loans available.
Coronavirus Small Business Grants
1. Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance
The SBA offers Targeted EIDL Advances of up to $10,000 to small companies in low-income regions that have suffered revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Because it is not repaid, the advance functions more like a grant than a loan. The SBA will contact qualified firms.
2. Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
The SVO Grant program provides live performing arts organizations, movie theater operators, and other qualifying shuttered venues with $15 billion in business awards. The SVO grant application period began on April 8. To qualify, businesses must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020.
Small Business Development Resources
Many nonprofit and government organizations, as well as banks and credit unions, provide support to those who desire to work for themselves or create their own businesses. Writing company plans, developing budgets, cash flows, or other financial planning tools, conducting market research, and providing access to starting financing are all examples of assistance.
In addition to the resources listed below, your local credit unions, colleges and universities, and workforce development agencies may frequently point you in the direction of resources for prospective entrepreneurs in your area.