Small business grants are one of the best ways to increase working capital and grow a business. Small business grant programs can be a great way for small business owners looking for opportunities to build their business and develop it further. We’ll explore what a small business grant is, what it can be used for, and how to apply to different types of small business grants.
What is a Small Business Grant?
A small business grant is a sum of money awarded to eligible businesses through a grant program run by an organization. A key differentiator between business grants and business loans is there is no requirement to pay the grant money back. There are many resources on how to get free grants for small business, so make sure to look around.
What Can Small Business Grants be Used For?
For small business owners applying for grant funding, it can provide a lot of advantages. Grant money is essentially free money for qualifying small businesses to develop and grow without the pressure of paying back a loan.
Some of the categories that small business grants can be used for include:
- Scientific research, or small business innovation research
- Research and development
- Business innovation research program
- Business growth and development for small rural businesses and local grants
- Upgrading business technology
- Sector and industry-specific grants
There are also specific types of grants for small businesses that are offered for limited periods. This can include federal government grants such as Coronavirus Small Business Grants and Shuttered Venue Operators Grants that are also important to keep an eye out for.
Types of Small Business Grants
Depending on the type of business, there are many types of grants available for eligible small businesses. might qualify for. We’ll go through some of the most common types of corporate small business grants available:
- Minority owned business grant: This type of grant is available for minority owned businesses across different sectors and industries.
- Government grants for small businesses: Many companies, federal agencies, and state and local governments offer business owners grants as financial assistance. Some examples include the Patagonia Corporate Grant Program, SBIR and STTR programs, your state’s economic development agency, and more.
- Small Business Administration business grants: small business administration grants to support entrepreneurs and those who run their own business with additional resources to support small businesses.
- Small business grants for women: Women-owned businesses are eligible for additional funding from government agencies, state-level economic development administration, private companies, and other sources. This includes SBA grants for women.
- Federal small business grant: Federal grants are also available for existing businesses across different areas. For example, grants are available for technical assistance as businesses scale up their technology, self employed business owners, and other types of federal business grants depending on eligibility requirements.
- Small business grants for veterans: Veteran owned businesses can also qualify for federal small business grants, as well as grants from state and local governments. Private funding is also available, although requirements will vary.
How to Get a Small Business Grant that Suits Your Business Well
Finding a small business grant for which your business is eligible requires some initial work, but it can have immense benefits for business growth. Here are some tips on how to find the right grant for your business:
1. Research the Best Grants from Our List
Research is key when it comes to finding the right type of grant from your business. You can look at our list as a starting point to find the right ones to apply for. Depending on the nature of your business, you can also try looking for grants that your state offers and companies around you that may provide grants.
2. Make Sure You Meet the Grant Requirements
Every grant has different requirements, so it’s extremely important to first identify whether your business qualifies. Otherwise, your application might be automatically rejected. So take time out to go through the criteria in detail before spending time on the submission.
3. Submit Your Application on Time
Your grant application will follow a strict timeline, so submitting it on time for consideration is crucial. Businesses can be disqualified for not submitting on time, so it’s vital to mark important dates and ensure you get it in on time.
4. Follow Up on Your Application
Many places offer small business grants and lots of applicants to sift through. Following up on your application helps ensure that it gets considered and that you are a serious applicant, which can help with the process.
Tips on Applying for Small Business Grants
To have the best chance at winning a grant and receiving grant money, there are some things you can do to really help make your application stand out. Here are some of our top tips for applying for small business grants:
- Dedicate resource: Grant applications are generally for existing businesses and are very competitive. If you decide to apply, you should allocate time and resources, such as a staff member or a grant writer, to ensure the application process goes smoothly.
- Stand out from the rest: Your application must stand out from the others, so consider including a business plan and showing how solid your business is and why it’s interesting.
- Include outside expertise: Where appropriate, having outside expertise and feedback as part of the grant application can strengthen your application.
- Proofread: Before submitting your application, make sure to thoroughly review for errors, accuracy, typos, and more.
- Look at past examples: You can usually find past winning grants online for those you are considering applying to, which can give you good insight into what to include and exclude for a successful application.
- Include figures: Small businesses that show good data and figures are more likely to be considered over vague or abstract applications. For example, if you can demonstrate market demand and growth potential, that will help your application stand out.
What are the easiest small business grant programs to apply for?
There are many small business grant programs available that are easy to apply for. Here are some of the easiest small business grant programs you can apply to:
- Government grants
- Federal grants
- Government contract assistance
- Grants for general small business startups