For small business owners, finding funding and resources to support growth and development can be a significant challenge. However, there are numerous grant opportunities available that can provide financial support and resources to help small businesses succeed.
The problem is that with so many grant options available, it can be difficult to navigate and identify which grants are best suited for a particular business. Additionally, the application process can be time-consuming and competitive, making it challenging to secure funding.
The solution is to understand the different types of grants available, eligibility requirements, and how to craft a compelling grant proposal. This includes researching and identifying grants specific to the business’s industry or demographic, networking with grant providers, and putting together a thorough application package.
Our promise is to provide a comprehensive overview of the best small business grants available, including their eligibility criteria, funding amounts, and application processes. We will also offer practical tips and guidance for crafting a compelling grant proposal, increasing the chances of securing funding for small business owners. With our guidance, entrepreneurs can access the resources and funding they need to grow and succeed in their business endeavors.
Best Small Business Grants
Small business grants provide money to develop or manage small enterprises as well as assistance to the business owners who run them. The fact that you don’t have to pay back the money you get is the nicest part. There are several alternatives, therefore we selected the top small business awards of 2023 based on a predetermined set of standards.
There are three factors to consider while selecting a grant:
- The type of company you have
- The needs of your business
- What you want for the future of your company
Our Top Business Grants for 2023:
The finest government small business grants for IT businesses are available through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. For small enterprises that meet the requirements, the SBIR program offers money for technical research and innovation.
The top state small company grant for innovation is provided by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). EDA grants are state-level funds given to companies that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship to promote economic growth.
The greatest corporate small company grant for growth is available through the FedEx Small company Grant Contest. Each year, FedEx offers additional services and rewards totaling $25,000 to 12 eligible contestants.
The finest small business grant for women is the Amber Grant. One of the monthly recipients of the Amber Grant also receives additional funds once a year.
The finest small company grant for minorities is provided by the Minority company Development Agency (MBDA). Three continuing awards are available for minority-owned firms from the MBDA right now.
The finest business grant for new businesses is provided by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grant. For established entrepreneurs looking for money to advance their business, NASE offers grants.
The finest small business grant for veterans is provided by the StreetShares Foundation. Veterans and their spouses can both get funds from the StreetShares Foundation to launch small companies.
The most effective small business award for refugees is provided through the Microenterprise Development Program. Refugees seeking to launch a company or grow an existing one can apply for funds under the Microenterprise Development Program.
Best Federal Small Business Grant: SBIR Program
Amount of grant: $150,000 to $1,000,000
For small enterprises and entrepreneurs to study and develop high-tech ideas for government agencies that have the potential to be commercialized, the SBIR program offers funds. Businesses that get this financing frequently work in the fields of healthcare, green building, clean drinking water, and homeland security.
The goal of this program is to foster technological innovation and scientific excellence in order to expand and strengthen the US economy. The SBIR program offers significant start-up funding and contracts with government organizations to technology companies, assisting them in the development of innovative technologies.
To be eligible to apply for an SBIR business award, you must fulfill the following criteria:
- Candidates must be for-profit companies.
- Candidates must employ no more than 500 people.
- One or more of the following must hold a majority of the following:
- one or more citizens or residents with permanent residence
- Additional for-profit companies
- running companies for venture capital, hedge funds, or private equity organizations.
- Grants and contracts with 12 government departments may be offered to winners.
- Starting at $150,000, further funding for deserving and successful candidates can reach $1 million.
- You have a greater chance of obtaining funds if they comply with the standards of a particular agency because each of the participating government agencies has its own rules and eligibility conditions.
- This program is quite competitive, thus only a few applications are awarded funding.
- For new business owners, the lengthy and time-consuming application procedure might be challenging.
Best State Small Business Grant: EDA
Depending on the award, the grant amount varies.
A division of the US Department of Commerce, the EDA offers small company owners and entrepreneurs funding, tools, and support. This organization’s goal is to give founders the free resources and financing they require in order to devote their time to entrepreneurship and innovation.
By looking up resources in your state, you may quickly explore the EDA’s database of available awards and discover regional funding possibilities.
To be eligible to apply for an EDA business award, you must fulfill the following criteria:
- Due to the EDA’s limited role as a provider of funding, your eligibility will depend on the particular award you’re applying for. Before moving forward with your application, make sure you properly read the prerequisites.
- Since Grants.gov handles the loan processing, potential borrowers must register there.
- Finding the best grant for your business is simple thanks to the EDA’s searchable database of available awards.
- Through the EDA, small firms have access to state-level resources.
- You don’t have to worry about making a certain deadline because grants are available throughout the year.
- Finding the ideal grant for your company might be difficult because this isn’t a particular award that the EDA offers.
- Grants may be quite competitive since small enterprises frequently use this source.
Best Corporate Grant: FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Amount of grant: $15,000 to $50,000
One of the most well-known small company awards is provided by FedEx. This is a fantastic choice for businesses wishing to expand. Twelve candidates are chosen to receive grants, with $50,000 and $7,500 in FedEx credit going to the top finisher.
The FedEx Small Business Grant doesn’t demand lengthy applications as other grants do; all you need to enter is a one-minute video, a logo submission, some photographs that show off your company’s character, and a brief description.
The following standards/eligibility conditions must be satisfied in order to be eligible to apply for a FedEx business grant:
- Candidates must have been in business for more than a year.
- Candidates must employ less than 50 people.
- Within a year of applying, candidates must have used commercial shipping services.
- If your company doesn’t finish first or second in the competition, you still have ten opportunities to earn thousands of dollars in investment. Twelve winners are chosen from among the contest applicants.
- Additionally, winners are given a FedEx print and business services credit.
- Once you’ve submitted your entry, you may encourage the supporters of your company to vote to improve your chances of winning.
- This is one of the most difficult scholarships to get since every year thousands of firms submit applications, but only twelve winners are chosen.
- Only accessible to businesses with a history.
Best Small Business Grant for Women: Amber Grant
Amount of grant: $10,000 to $35,000
The Amber Grant Foundation was formed in 1998 by WomensNet in honor of a budding businesswoman whose life was cut short. Since then, the foundation has given a woman-owned business $10,000 each month, with an extra $25,000 to one of the year’s twelve winners.
The Amber award gives female-owned enterprises and prospective entrepreneurs the chance to describe and clearly state their objectives in order to compete for the award each month of the year.
To be eligible to apply for an Amber Grant, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- The applicant’s business must be owned by women.
- The US or Canada must be the applicant’s home country.
- A $15 application fee must be submitted by applicants.
- The sole criteria for applying are to briefly describe yourself and your entrepreneurial goal to the foundation. There is no lengthy application procedure or mountain of papers.
- Your devoted consumers can cast a vote for your business to get the additional $25,000 yearly prize if you are one of the monthly winners.
- You can apply for this award regardless of the kind of business you currently run or would like to start.
- The application process for this highly sought-after award is competitive.
- To participate, you must pay an application fee.
Best Small Business Grant for Minorities: MBDA Grants
Grant size: Varies according on the grant
Minority-owned firms can get funding, consulting, and other kinds of help through the MBDA. The MBDA functions differently from the other organizations on this list by giving funds to its Minority Business Centers spread all across the US.
You may locate grants that your firm is eligible for as well as a plethora of other resources accessible to minority-owned businesses by looking for the Minority firm Center nearby.
You must fulfill the following criteria/eligibility conditions in order to apply for an MBDA grant:
- To have their applications monitored, applicants must get a Data Universal Number System (DUNS).
- Applicants must be businesses owned by people of color.
- Application submissions must be registered with the SAM (System for Award Management Registration) database.
- The MBDA offers several more business services for minorities in addition to awards.
- Minority Business Centers are available to assist minority-owned firms around the US.
- This organization’s objective and goal is to help underrepresented groups retain their small enterprises in order to foster a vibrant entrepreneurial community.
- Finding grants can be a little more difficult as the MBDA doesn’t do it on its own.
- Accessing money may be challenging since the application procedure might be competitive.
Best Startup Grant: NASE Growth Grant
Grant amount: $4,000
The National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) is an organization that provides monthly $4,000 grants for self-employed individuals. You must create an account on the NASE website in order to submit an application for Growth Grants.
These monthly grants are excellent for start-ups who want a little more money to cover costs such as hiring staff, purchasing equipment, or other company expenses. In particular, entrepreneurs in need of additional funding for expansion could benefit from this grant.
To be eligible to apply for a NASE Growth Grant, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Your business must be a NASE member in good standing and have been for at least three months.
- Along with your application, including a CV and business plan.
- Present a business need that might be satisfied with the grant money together with a thorough justification of how you intend to use the money.
- Grant possibilities are available every month, which makes getting money simpler than with yearly programs.
- There is a lot of flexibility in how you may apply for this grant. It enables you to provide your enterprise with whatever kind of assistance is required, whether it be payroll, tools, or software.
- Benefits of membership in NASE include database management and tax support.
- To apply, you must be a NASE member, which can cost up to $120 a year.
- The Growth Grant is not the best option for entrepreneurs looking for significant investment because it is just $4,000 in value.
Best Business Grant for Veterans: StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award
Amount of grant: $4,000 to $15,000
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called the StreetShares Foundation offers grants and other financing possibilities to help veterans and their families develop and sustain their small enterprises. In order to educate, assist, and promote veteran entrepreneurship, this group offers materials that may be difficult for this community to get.
This is a fantastic resource for seasoned entrepreneurs due to its outstanding grant program, availability of tools, and coaching.
You must adhere to the following standards in order to be eligible for a StreetShares Foundation grant:
- The spouse and children of veterans who passed away while serving in the military may also apply for this grant. Applicants must be veterans, reserve, or transitioning active-duty members.
- At least 51% of the requesting business organization must be owned by the applicants.
- Candidates must have low incomes or be in need of financial assistance to expand or sustain their small businesses.
- Military wives and children of veterans who died while serving are also eligible, in addition to veterans and active-duty service members.
- If you are one of the top three finalists for this grant, you still have the chance to win one of three separate cash prizes for your company.
- Once applications are turned in, supporters of your business can choose to support you in the competition.
- To be considered, candidates must submit a pitch video, fill out an application, and present at the Military Influencer Conference.
- Not all businesses will be eligible because they must demonstrate how their business model benefits the military and veteran communities.
Summary of Small Business Grants
Many small firms are naturally dubious about the idea of free money. However, there are ways for businesses of all sizes to get grants at no cost in order to run, support, or launch their project.
When looking for and applying for grants, it’s crucial to carefully study the requirements, make sure your application is complete, and reapply if you aren’t selected. It is definitely feasible to obtain the ideal funding source for your small business given the abundance of grant options accessible.
Alternatives to Grants for Small Businesses
You’re in luck if you haven’t been able to find a grant that meets your needs, you’ve had trouble applying, or you’re just sick of looking. For small firms, there are a variety of additional funding possibilities, including business credit and loans. Most business owners launch and run their organizations without financial assistance; you can too.
Small Business Loans: Much like grants, loans are given to business owners by banks or other external lenders. The primary distinction is that loans to enterprises must be repaid.
Loans from Friends and Family: Many small companies rely on loans from friends and family to launch or maintain their operations. It is advised that you create a strong repayment plan and have your agreement in writing to prevent jeopardizing your close ties.
Own resources: Also referred to as “bootstrapping,” most company owners use their own resources to launch or maintain their small enterprises. To be sustainable, this approach needs self-control and financial commitment.
Investors: Two of the most frequent investors for small firms are venture capitalists and angel investors. Both invest money in businesses with the hopes of receiving a large return on their investment, but venture capitalists frequently ask to join the board of directors or to buy stock.
Business Line of Credit: A business line of credit, like a personal credit card, is a set sum of money made available for business spending that becomes revolving upon settlement of the outstanding balance.
Crowdfunding: This way of obtaining capital for enterprises has grown in popularity. The advantage of this method is that crowdfunding normally consists of a number of tiny donations that the beneficiaries are not typically required to return.
How do small business grants work?
Grants for small businesses are effectively unpaid cash for your firm. If you identify and apply for a grant, you may be awarded a sum of money that you may use to finance your project without having to pay it back. Small company awards frequently have guidelines regarding how recipients must use the funds.
Where can I find business grants?
A grant may only be obtained after submitting an application. Depending on the award, the application process will change. For instance, one grantor could need a video essay, but another would want you to fill out an online form. Finding grants that support your company strategy and principles is the greatest approach to raise your chances of getting one.
What advantages can small business grants offer?
The fact that you are given money with no need to return it is the main advantage. In addition, a lot of Grantmakers and programs provide more than simply grants. The majority of these initiatives also provide extra financing opportunities, marketing assistance, and advising.
How do I choose the best business grant for me?
Find a grant that, above all else, is compatible with the objectives, principles, and character of your company. The more closely your business complies with the requirements, the higher your chances are of receiving the cash. Additionally, search for funds made available to local businesspeople like you. There are more chances since grants with strict requirements are less competitive.