Small business grants can help your business get the money you need to grow your business. But there are a lot of misconceptions about grants. Here’s what you need to know about finding and getting free money for your business.
What is a Small 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 funding to small business owners in the form of a small business grant. And the best part? Grants do not require repayment of any kind.
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 entrepreneurs, and more.
You don’t 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.
We’ve 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.
Keep in mind that this can be a double-edged sword for applicants, though — you can apply for a lot more business grants if the qualifications are broad, but that means more competition for the grant. Often, you can find more success by finding niche grants for your industry, or based on your ownership structure and makeup.
In that spirit, we’ve provided some how-to advice all business owners can use to get your grant entries and/or grant proposals together, along with lists of small business grant programs, split into some of the most-searched-for categories.
Types of Small Business Grants
There are several types of grants, and you may only be eligible for certain ones. Grants generally come from the following sources:
- Federal state or local governments
Government grants are often the most involved, while grants made by businesses may include a “competition” aspect.
Here we’ve rounded up examples of some popular grants in these categories. However, don’t limit your search to just these grants. We’ve also included several research tools you can use to find grants that may be a fit for your business.
7 Private Small Business Grants
There are many private corporations that want to support small businesses in the U.S. See which of these grants you qualify for.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Good for: Existing Businesses
Each year since 2013, FedEx has offered $25,000 grants to businesses. The application is only open for a one-month period, so ready your applications for the next open date. You’ll need to capture your business’s story via video.
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
Good for: Growing Businesses
NASE Growth Grants are offered to NASE members looking to take their business to the next level. NASE grants are worth up to $4,000 and can be used for all types of activities, like purchasing new equipment, hiring help, and creating promotional material.
The StreetShares Foundation Veteran Business Grant
Good for: Veterans
The StreetShares Veteran Small Business Award is open to veterans, active-duty members, or the spouse of a military veteran or active duty member. Applicants can receive up to $15,000 and will be judged based on their business idea, their expected use of funds, product-market fit, team, and the influence the business will have on the veteran or military community.
Nav’s “Legitify Your Small Business” Grant
Good for: Existing Businesses
Each quarter, Nav offers a $10,000 small business grant to help them solve a business problem or take their business to the next level.