Government Grants for Small Businesses
One source of funding for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their business is government grants for small businesses. Want to know more about where to start?
Sources of Government Grants for Small Businesses
If you’re looking for federal business grants, the best place to start is Grants.gov. This site serves as a database of all federal grants, including those that are specifically available for small business owners. To search for this type of grant, visit the official government grants website and check out their section for grant applicants to see if you’re eligible. It’s important to note that this database includes a variety of different types of grants, so you may need to do a little sifting through different options to find opportunities that are the most relevant to you.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is another great resource for small business owners. The SBA was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. Although the SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established, their purpose remains the same: to help American entrepreneurs start, build, and grow businesses. If you can’t find any grants that fit your profile, you can see if you qualify for any of our funding programs, or schedule to meet with a counselor to talk about financing your business.
The SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) provides financial awards to state and territory governments in order to help small businesses with export development. The program’s mission is to increase the number of U.S. small business exporters and their export sales. Small businesses can work directly with the state entities that receive STEP awards.
If your small business is engaged in scientific research and development, you may qualify for federal grants under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These programs encourage small business operations to commit to scientific research that helps meet federal research and development objectives and have high potential for commercialization, if successful. The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs help connect small businesses, universities and research centers with federal grants and contracts from 12 government agencies. To qualify, you must operate a for-profit business, have no more than 500 employees, and meet other eligibility requirements relating to type, size and ownership of the business.
The Economic Development Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides grants, resources and technical assistance to communities to support economic growth and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition, each state’s agency helps businesses find financing (including state or regional grants), secure locations and recruit employees. You can search for regional offices and local resources at the EDA’s website.
Finally, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide support for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. They’re often associated with local universities or the state’s economic development agency, and many can help connect business owners with financing opportunities, as well as mentors and networking opportunities and training on basic business skills.