Do you know that small-business grants can transform your entrepreneurial vision into a reality? That’s right.
Learn more about small-business grants and everything else in this encompassing article.
What Is a Small-Business Grant?
In simple terms, small-business grants are given to a person or business by a federal, state, county, or local government. The purpose of this grant is to help the business to run efficiently and expand its growth. The startup business grant is also a part of this grant, which is used for starting a business.
While businesses do not need to repay the grant amount, it is not simply free money. You must use the grant according to the terms. Otherwise, the grants have to be paid back, even with interest. Small-business grants are available for all small business owners, such as women, veterans, minorities, and disabled Americans.
If you’re okay with spending a couple hundred dollars and becoming a paid member of the State Business Incentives Database, you can easily access all the latest small business grant programs in all 50 states of the US.
It gives you access to an interactive map of the US with states highlighted. Just click on the state you’re interested in, and you get to see the active small business schemes as stated below:
Number of Programs in Pennsylvania: XX
Loan/Loan Participation (XX)
Tax credit (XX)
Loan guarantee (XX)
You can click the View All State Programs button to get an itemized list of all active grants and other incentivization schemes for local and small businesses. The membership fee starts from $380.
#2. Federal Gov. Grants for Small Business
The US federal government and its various institutes that support business development in the US are the best sources for business grants for you. Find below various business niche-specific schemes that you can check now or bookmark and monitor regularly:
Grants.gov is another popular source for quick small-business grants in the US. You can go to the Search Grants page to access a comprehensive database of Posted and Forecasted grants by the Federal Govt.
If your small business is research-centric, you can engage with the Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) schemes through Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs. To find active schemes, visit SBIR.
The USDA runs Rural Business Development Grants in all the states and territories of the USA. If your business earns fewer than $1 million in gross revenue and employs less than 50 new employees, then you can apply for this grant scheme.
Also, visit the USDA Grants and Loans portal to find grants and loans specific to the farming and livestock farming niches.
#3. Small-Business Grants for Women
To promote and enhance the participation of women in business, the US govt. and many other institutions offer women-led small-business grants.
One of the most popular grants you can apply for is the WomensNet’s Grants, also known as the Amber Grant. It offers grants in skilled trades, health & fitness, food & beverages, etc., and small businesses run by women.
Another grant for small businesses and startups you can check out is the Women Who Tech grants given to women-led tech startups. It offers grants in niches like femtech, health tech, emerging technologies, etc.
#4. Small-Business Grants for Black Women
If you’re a woman of color and own a small business or planning to start a startup, you can get business grants from many sources. Some of the top choices are mentioned below:
You can qualify for the microgrants provided by HerSuiteSpot and the Yva Jourdan Foundation, Inc. You must own 51% or more of the business, and it’s registered in the USA. The grant application starts every month, and you must apply by the end of the month.
The Advancing Black Pathways scheme sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. in association with Digitalundivided offers a $5,000 grant to small businesses owned by Black, Latina, or both women. The program also assigns a business mentor for the startup owner and other necessary training to grow the business.
#5. BIPOC-Owned Small-Business Grants
If you identify yourself as a person of color, Black, Latino, Alaska Native, LGBTQ, Native American, etc., you can become eligible for the following small and startup business grants:
As a non-profit organization or entity, you’re entitled to many grants and free funding schemes. Your first choice should be the National Endowment for the Arts. It offers grants to local non-profit communities for Arts Projects and Partnership Agreement Grants.
Large corporate entities offer free funding for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Though most corporates choose to fund NGOs through their philanthropic schemes, most for-profit free funding goes to small businesses, technology startups, and local businesses that make a positive impact on their community. Find below popular corporate grants you can apply for:
Find below the full-proof strategy to apply for small and startup business grants:
#1. Research Available Grants
With a number of grants available, you need to do your research and find the right one for your business.
#2. Check Eligibility
After shortlisting the small-business grants, read the eligibility requirements very carefully to know where you can apply for grants.
#3. Gather Necessary Documents
To apply for a small-business grant, you have to submit a number of important documents with your grant application. These include a business plan, Employer Identification Number, organizational chart, bank statements, tax returns, etc.
#4. Craft a Persuasive Proposal
You must prepare a compelling yet persuasive grant proposal that completely expresses the mission of your business and the use of the grant for business.
If needed, you can ask a mentor or subject matter expert to review your grant for clarity and completeness of the review.
#6. Submit Application
Once the previous processes are done, you need to submit the grant application through the designated channel.
#7. Monitor Progress
Tracking the application is also a part of the grant process. Even if you do not get an immediate response, you must follow up.
How To Manage Small-Business Grants
You may find it challenging to get a grant for small businesses, but managing the grant is not easy either. Use the following approaches to manage the grants after allocation:
First of all, you must have a clear business outline in hand to properly use the grant fund. The fund allocation should be done to areas with the greatest impact.
The grants should be invested in upgrading equipment or technology. You can also use it to improve the quality of a product or service.
Another crucial point is to train existing employees or hire skilled professionals for more productivity.
When it comes to grant management, ensure transparency and accountability at every step of the process.
Try to reduce long-term operating costs through sustainability.
Aim at reducing debts or financial burdens for financial stability.
For any kind of doubt, take professional guidance and mentorship.
Make sure to keep records and documentation for grant reporting.
Never stop monitoring the grant progress and adjust strategies.
Alternatives to Small-Business Grants
While grants are beneficial for business, it is not always the easiest or the quickest option to increase the cash flow. When you need to find the right grant for your business, the process could be time-consuming and difficult.
Moreover, you may not be able to qualify for a grant. In that case, here are some small-business grant alternatives available to you:
#1. Small-Business Loans
Several loans fall under this category, from which you can compare different loan options and choose the right financing for your needs.
It has become a popular source of cash flow in your business. With a crowdfunding campaign, you can raise money for your small business using the internet or other sources.
#3. Small-Business Credit Cards
These cards could be another useful resource to fund your everyday business purchases and even get rewards in exchange.
Expert Tips To Get Small-Business Grants for Your Startup for Free
Contact the donor or grant organizer to ask questions about it. You may also want to explain the reason behind your candidature.
You must have a well-developed and well-written business plan for the application. While the plan should be in-depth and professional, you will also need a business position and balance sheet prepared before the application.
When you are about to apply for a startup business grant, read the grant objectives and refer to these in your application.
While most grants do not have a deadline or time limit, it is better to apply as early as possible. Thus, you get a chance to get selected earlier for the opportunity.
Usually, small-business grants are allocated for a specific purpose. Hence, you must be able to explain to the donors how you will utilize the funding for the business purpose.
With a small-business grant, you can incentivize your business performance without having the need to pay back the financial assistance you received. Here, I’ve discussed this grant category so that you can fully prepare to apply for it and manage the grant successfully.
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