Small Business Financing 101: Small Business Grants

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A business owner sitting at a table counts piles of money from a grant she's won

Too many people tell small business owners that they can't attain grants. But the truth is that there are quite a few agencies, corporations, and nonprofit groups that offer grants for small business owners. Some help people get started with an idea, ramp up operations, or explore a new market. Others are earmarked for people who take on problems in the environment or society.

If you need funding for your business, spend some time looking into federal, state, local, and private grant programs. You may find some that are a great fit for your business.

 

Federal small business grants

Government agencies sometimes offer grants to small business owners who work in fields that closely align with their own. In most cases, the fields of focus relate to science, the environment, or medical research. Some also offer discretionary innovation grants that the agencies can give a bit more freely.

The grants are funded by tax dollars, and they can be quite difficult to attain. Of course, if your business performs work that aligns with an agency's agenda, your odds of attaining funding improve significantly.

You can find federal grants in a number of places. Most start with www.grants.gov (be sure to narrow your search to grants for small businesses). Challenge.gov and SBIR.gov also feature federal funding opportunities, and the site www.mdba.gov/grants can also be a great resource to find grant money set aside for minority business owners.

 

State and local small business grants

Many state agencies set aside grant money, too. Like federal grants, the funds are usually reserved for businesses that align with state agency objectives. Often, large corporations land this grant money. It’s rare, but not impossible, for small businesses to attain a state grant.

Still, it can be worth your time to connect with your state’s economic development agency and ask about their discretionary incentive grants. These grants are sometimes easier for small businesses to attain. You can find a directory of state agencies at the U.S. Economic Development Administration site

There are local grants to consider, too. Many organizations set aside some grant dollars to ensure that small businesses can thrive in that community.

Want to explore some state and local grants? If it's available, click on your state to find some opportunities:

Arizona offers numerous statewide, county, and city programs that help small businesses start, grow, and overcome barriers. These programs include grants, loans, and other forms of assistance.

In Tempe, micro-manufacturers owned by BIPOC entrepreneurs can qualify for up to $25,000 in grant money under a new program.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission offers infrastructure grants, cash rebates, investment incentives, and tax credits for businesses engaged in certain technologies, digital or film production, distribution, research and development in specific sciences, and transportation.

California Cannabis Equity Grants for Local Jurisdictions offers grant dollars for community businesses that face barriers to entry into the regulated cannabis industry.

 

Stockton offers several grant programs, including one for storefront beautification and one to help businesses address food insecurity in the city.

 

Carson also provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants (up to $25,000) through its Commercial Facade Improvement Program to encourage owners to beautify their storefronts.

 

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is offering a total of $5 million in funding to expand EV charging stations throughout the region.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade offers the Skill Advance Colorado Job Training Grant, which supports companies relocating to or expanding in Colorado and provides funds for net new hires.

 

Women of the Summit offers $5,000 grants to select women-owned businesses in Summit County.

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology sets aside some grant dollars for manufacturers in the state taking on innovative projects.

The city of Orlando offers a range of grant programs to support lodging establishments, commercial building improvements, sidewalk cafe improvements, retail storefronts, minority and female entrepreneurs, and safety and security.

 

Miami-Dade County offers several mom-and-pop small business grants, grants for community-based organizations, and environmental and education grants to local residents.

Hawai'i Energy offers EmPOWER grants of up to $5,000 for select businesses to cover eligible energy efficiency projects.

The Idaho Department of Commerce offers the STEP program, which gives select businesses engaged in foreign trade, foreign market sales trips, international trade shows, or U.S. Department of Commerce services awards between $2,000-$10,000. A 35% cash match is required.

 

Idaho also offers the Specialty Crop Block Grant to help enhance the competitiveness of U.S.-grown specialty crops.

In the Chicago area, the Lumpkin Family Foundation offers numerous grants to support agricultural businesses and retail that provides communities access to healthy good.

 

Through the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, certain Chicago-based businesses can also access SBIF grants for permanent building improvements and repairs, covering between 30-90 percent of the cost of remodeling work up to $150,000 for commercial properties and $250,000 for industrial properties.

 

The IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provides up to $50,000 in state matching funds for businesses that are the recipients of federal SBIR/STTR Phase I awards. 

Iowa offers the Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant to help businesses cover the costs of rehabilitation or restoration of commercial projects within a dedicated Main Street district. This grant is a 1:1 match program with strict requirements. Awards range from $25,000-$100,000.

In Kansas, small business owners may be eligible for a 50/50 matching grant up to $25,000 to advance a product or service to commercialization, modify a current offering for a new market, or gain a new client by accessing higher education facilities, equipment, and expertise.

New Orleans' Small Business Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $25,000 for specific businesses in the city's low and moderate income commercial corridor to use for eligible business expenses.

Maryland's Department of Commerce offers the ExportMD Program to help select small businesses in Maryland offset some of the costs of marketing internationally. This program provides up to $5,000 to businesses meeting specific qualifications.

 

Maryland also offers the Child Care Quality Incentive Grant to help owners of childcare programs (center or home-based) enhance their quality of care.

 

Maryland offers other grants to support economic development, environmental, and social goals. You can find a list of those programs here.

Fitchburg.ma connects owners with grants for building ADA accessibility, construction, and the expansion of microbusinesses.

The city of Medford is offering grants to reimburse 50% of business owners' costs (up to $5,000) to make improvements to their streetfront exterior.

Through the Caring for Mi Future initiative, current and aspiring child care business owners can access grants of up to $5,000 to start or expand their businesses.

The Minnesota Job Creation Fund offers cash benefits and rebates to eligible businesses that create full-time, permanent jobs and invest in real property improvements.

 

Minnesota also offers an Innovation Voucher Award program that provides a $5,000-$25,000 match to help eligible small businesses access technologies and services to advance research, development, or the commercialization of new or innovative products or services.

 

Separately, Minnesota offers REETAIN Bonuses to help center-based educators and family-based educators cover professional or personal expenses. Awards range from $500-$3,000.

 

The state offers Dairy Business Planning Grants, which cover half the cost of a business plan (up to $5,000), and the Agri Crop Research Grant, which offers up to $250,000 to cover agricultural research.

Visit Jackson is awarding grants from a $50,000 fund to select business owners for ice, water, and soft drink expenditures.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services offers start-up and expansion grants, emergency mini-grants, and quality improvement grants for childcare homes and centers.

The Small Business Improvement Grant awards select eligible business owners up to $50,000 to reimburse costs associated with making building improvements or buying new furniture, fixtures, or equipment.

The New Mexico Tourism Department is offering eligible businesses a 2:1 dollar match to help grow the state's tourism economy.

Empire State Development (New York) offers grants of $1 million and more to select New York startup and early-stage companies to create and improve biodefense in the state.

 

Bronx Community Foundation gives grant money to select businesses that commit to building fair and sustainable futures for all Bronxites.

 

New York City Neighborhood Business Grants offer up to $10,000 in funding to small businesses needing aid for continuity.

 

New York StartUP! Competition offers cash prizes to select owners who submit a business plan and pitch their idea. It's available only to business owners in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island who have earned less than $10,000 through operations.

 

Eligible New York City fashion manufacturers can access innovation grants through the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative to purchase equipment, make capital and technology upgrades, and relocate their businesses. 

 

The New York State Seed Funding Grant Program is providing select early-stage businesses that did not qualify for pandemic relief funding and were up and running on or before September 1, 2018, with up to $25,000 in grant funding.

 

The Buffalo-Niagara region offers research and development grants and other project-based grants that can benefit the state of New York.

NC IDEA offers $50,000 grants to early-stage companies and $10,000 project-based grants to young companies looking to validate their ideas.

 

The state's Recycling Business Assistance Center also offers grants for recycling businesses, which requests for proposals issued each fall.

 

In Charlotte, small businesses that are either minority-owned, veteran-owned, woman-owned, or LGBTQ+-owned may be eligible for grant packages ranging from $5,000 to more than $250,000 through the Foundation for the Carolinas' Beyond Open Program.

 

The Weaverville Business Association's Micro-Grant program provides eligible businesses with fewer than 50 employees $500-$2,500 to expand and adapt to current economic conditions.

 

The One North Carolina Small Business Program provides select small businesses within the state funding to commercialize new technologies.

The Visa North Dakota Grant Program offers 20 small business owners in the state a $10,000 grant and a one-year IFundWomen annual coaching membership.

Tech and medical businesses moving to or expanding within Cleveland can apply to the Tech Delta Program, which can provide building-based grants on a square footage basis.

 

Cleveland also offers grants to reduce equity in SBA-funded projects and create jobs, and the city offers loans and other programs to encourage growth, development, and resilience among local business owners.

Through the Ben Franklin Technology PArtners program, eligible owners of tech companies and manufacturers in Central and Northern Pennsylvania can access startup funding of up to $500,000 to cover a specific set of costs.

 

Erie County businesses can apply for the STARTup Grant, which provides up to $5,000 to select owners of creative, for-profit businesses.

Through the state's Innovation Network Matching Grants, eligible Rhode Island businesses can access matching grants of $50,000+ for businesses that provide other entities with technical assistance, capital access programs, or flexible coworking space.

 

Rhode Island also offers an Innovation Voucher Program for companies with 500 or fewer employees who want to commercialize a new product, process, or service; access scientific, engineering, or design expertise; or bring to market a new, innovative idea. Eligible businesses can receive up to $50,000 through this program.

 

The state offers grants of up to $3,000 to help small businesses offset the costs of preparing a competitive Phase I SBIR/STTR application; up to $45,000 to recipients of those Phase I awards; and up to $100,000 to recipients of Phase II awards through its Science and Technology Grants program.

 

Rhode Island also offers an Internship Grant program that provides up to $3,000 to help companies offset the cost of providing internships to RI residents attending an in-state college or university.

Tennessee's FastTrack Program offers a grant for job training assistance. It also sets aside money to help offset the costs companies incur when locating or expanding a business in Tennessee.

The Texas Department of Agriculture offers the Young Farmer Grant Program to provide dollar-for-dollar matching grant funds to select young agricultural producers who will engage in creating or expanding an agricultural business in the state. Grant awards range from $5,000-$20,000.

The Texas Food & Wine Alliance offers grants to chefs, culinary businesses, farmers, artisan producers, and wine, beer, and spirit makers for culinary innovation. Grant awards vary by project.

Starting in 2023, Lynchburg-area businesses are eligible to receive grant funding to fill vacant storefronts or expand their businesses

The Ready for Business Fund, launched by GSBA, Washington State's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, Comcast, and others, offers 76 small businesses grants between $2,500 and $4,000 to help them grow and thrive. This grant was specifically designed to support business owners who identify as LGBTQ, BIPOC, or female, as well as those operating in rural parts of the state.

Washington, D.C.'s Department of Small and Local Business Development awards select businesses grant money of up to $7,500 to maintain operations and viability.

Other grant (and contest) options

Certain nonprofits, corporations, and local agencies also offer grants for small business owners. Others offer contests that provide cash and services to qualified business owners. Below, you'll find a few grant and contest programs you might consider (click the options that suit you best).

The Budweiser Veterans Project provides 16 veteran-owned businesses with grants ranging from $1,000 to $5000.

The Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Woman's University provides $5,000 in grant funds to 10 female veterans in Texas who are starting or already own a business.

The FedEx Entrepreneur Fund awards thirty $10,000 grants to veterans, active-duty military members, military spouses, military family members, and people with disabilities to help their businesses succeed.

Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur Lab provides select veterans and military spouses with three months of free entrepreneurship training, mentoring, and networking opportunities. It also allows participants to take part in a pitch showcase that awards $25,000 or more in prize money.

The Second Service Foundation provides three military veterans or their spouses with funds to start or grow a business that will create a social impact. One winner receives $15,000. The second-place winner receives $6,000, and the third-place winner earns $4,000.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Award offers a $25,000 cash prize to business owners in various categories, including veteran-owned businesses, who operate a for-profit business operating for at least one year, primarily in the United States, with either less than 250 employees or gross revenues of less than $20 million over the previous two years.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Program helps eligible service members and veterans with a service-connected disability and employment barrier connect with resources to develop a business plan; analyze a business concept; train in operations, marketing, and finance; and get started with implementation.

Warrior Rising This entrepreneur training program helps veterans and members of their immediate families develop the business skills they need to start and grow a business. It also provides an invite-only opportunity to compete for a grant to invest in their businesses.

Every quarter, AARP (in partnership with the National Association for the Self-Employed) offers AARP Grow Grants that provide $4,000 grants to three minority business owners aged 45 or older.

Through the Bank of America Small Business Down Payment Grant Program, Bank of America helps historically disadvantaged business owners cover up to 50% of the down payment that's required for SBA 504 and 7(a) loans.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and American Express team up to award $5,000 grants to 272 Black-owned small businesses through the Coalition to Back Black Businesses program.

The Comcast RISE grant program provides select businesses owned by women or people of color $5,000, plus training, resources, and the opportunity to compete for $25,000 enhancement grants.

Through the EnrichHER program, select female founders and founders of color can access a $5,000 small business grant.

The First Peoples Fund offers grant money and fellowships to select Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native artists, culture bearers, and community development financial institutions (CDFI).

Through the Galaxy Grant, Hidden Star, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offers select minority and women entrepreneurs a $4,250 grant to help them succeed.

The Go.Be. Grant offers up to $4,000 to select female and minority business owners to accomplish projects that would help them grow their businesses. To be eligible, owners must have a business that's been operational for at least two years, and they must be actively meeting with a business coach through the Go.Be. program.

Through the Instacart's Ads Initiative Program, Instacart has set aside $1 million in advertising dollars to amplify Black-owned and women-owned consumer packaged goods brands on their platform. Business owners can apply for a portion of this investment and receive Instacart ad credits.

The Justworks' Grant Program sets aside money for early-stage minority and women-owned nonprofits. It often awards five $50,000 grants per year.

Kinetic's Black Business Support Fund is available to select new or existing Black-owned businesses with 25 or fewer employees in a Kinetic broadband market that meets specific criteria. Awards of $2,500 cash and a year of free internet services is available.

Through the Power Forward Small Business Grant, Vistaprint and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation are offering select Black-owned small businesses in New England $25,000 to grow and thrive.

The SoGal Foundation has teamed up with Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, Twilio, Walmart.org's Center for Racial Equity, and others to provide several $5,000 and $10,000 cash grants and tactical help to Black women or Black nonbinary entrepreneurs through the SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant Program.

Through the The Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund by SIA Scotch, SIA Scotch Whiskey sets aside 25 $10,000 grants and provides mentorship and community for small business owners of color so they can take action, build stronger businesses, and positively impact the economy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Award program offers a $25,000 cash prize to business owners in various categories, including minority-owned businesses, that operate a for-profit business operating for at least one year, primarily in the United States, with either less than 250 employees or gross revenues of less than $20 million in 2021 and in 2022.

Through the American Express IFundWomen of Color 100 for 100 Program, 100 Black female entrepreneurs can attain $25,000 grants and 100 days of resources to help their ventures thrive.

 

The Caress Dreams Fund offers $5,000 grants, coaching, and creative services to select women-of-color founders.

 

The Fearless Fund, in collaboration with Mastercard, offers 11 small black women-owned businesses $10,000 grants, plus digital tools and one-on-one mentorship through the Fearless Strivers program.

 

Through the K4 Foundation Grant Program, the K4 Foundation offers $500 grants and educational workshops to help women of color go after their entrepreneurial goals.

 

Visa has set up the Visa Grant Program for Black Women-Owned Businesses to help Black women in the United States grow their businesses.

Each month, the Amber Grant Amber Grant program provides one female business owner a $10,000 award and five runners-up can receive $1,000. Monthly grant winners are entered to win the program's annual $25,000 award for a total of $35,000 in award money. WomensNet also offers non-profit grants each quarter (valued at $10,000), business category grants each month (valued at $10,000), and a twice-yearly marketing grant.

 

Through the Bank of America Small Business Down Payment Grant Program, Bank of America is helping historically disadvantaged business owners cover up to 50% of the down payment that's required for SBA 504 and 7(a) loans.

 

The Cartier Women's Initiative Awards grant program offers seven grant awards of $100,000 each and another 14 grants of $30,000 each to female business owners who show the potential to grow their businesses in significant ways in the coming years.

 

The Cocokind Impact Foundation Grant Program provides grants of $2,500 to $10,000 plus a mentorship to select female founders creating social impact through health, wellness, and sustainability who have yet to raise institutional capital.

 

The Comcast RISE grant program provides select businesses owned by women or people of color $5,000, plus training, resources, and the opportunity to compete for $25,000 enhancement grants.

 

Through the EnrichHER program, select female founders and founders of color can access a $5,000 small business grant.

 

Through the Galaxy Grant program, Hidden Star, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offers select minority and women entrepreneurs a $4,250 grant to help them succeed.

 

The Go.Be. Grant program offers up to $4,000 to select female and minority business owners to accomplish projects that would help them grow their businesses. To be eligible, owners must have a business that's been operational for at least two years, and they must be actively meeting with a business coach through the Go.Be. program.

 

The Gusto • IFundWomen Jumpstart Grant Program provides four early-stage, women-owned small businesses with a $2,500 grant to jumpstart a year of growth, plus three months of Gusto's payroll services.

 

The IFundWomen Fund Forward Awards program offers one grand-prize winner a $100,000 equity investment in their business. It also awards category honorees and runners-up monetary grants and coaching scholarships.

 

Through the Instacart's Ads Initiative Program, Instacart has set aside $1 million in advertising dollars to amplify Black-owned and women-owned consumer packaged goods brands on their platform. Business owners can apply for a portion of this investment and receive Instacart ad credits.

 

The Jane Walker • IFund Women First Women Grant Program supports 15 ground-breaking women-owned businesses that focus on entertainment, music, sports, journalism, or hospitality with a $10,000 grant plus a one-year coaching membership.

 

The Johnnie Walker First Strides Grant Program offers a $10,000 grant plus a year of premium coaching services to 10 groundbreaking women-owned businesses.

 

The Justworks' Grant Program This Justworks program sets aside money for early-stage minority and women-owned nonprofits. It often awards five $50,000 grants per year.

 

Through the Live Your Dream Awards program, women who are the primary source of financial support for their families can apply to receive one of 1,300 cash awards of $1,000 and be entered for an additional $3,000 or $5,000 and the opportunity to be one of three winners to earn an extra $10,000.

 

The Peanut StartHER Microfund Program sets aside money for select early-stage, pre-seed, women-owned businesses that strive to make a positive impact on society, healthcare, or the environment.

 

Through the Real Relief for Visionary Women Program, SYSTANE and business legend Barbara Corcoran have set aside grants of $5,000 for ten female business owners. The grand prize winner also receives business coaching from Barbara herself.

 

Through Stacy's Rise Project, Stacy's Pita Chips offers 10 female founders in the consumer packaged goods industry the opportunity to attain a $15,000 grant and virtual mentorship.

 

The Eileen Fisher Grant Program (temporarily suspended) offers grants of $10,000 to $40,000 to 501(c)(3) nonprofits that increase women's participation in decision-making, train women and girls in climate change adaption or mitigation and advocacy, and engage women in the sustainable economy. The program sets aside up to $200,000 in award money each year.

 

Through the IFundWomen x Neutrogena Fund, 18 qualified U.S.-based female entrepreneurs can receive a $10,000 grant to support a fresh start in their business.

 

The Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program offers 50 grants of $5,000 to select female entrepreneurs. It also offers opportunities for community building and networking.

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Award program offers a $25,000 cash prize to business owners in various categories, including woman-owned businesses, that operate a for-profit business operating for at least one year, primarily in the United States, with either less than 250 employees or gross revenues of less than $20 million over the last two years.

 

Each year, the Women Founders Network hosts a fast-pitch competition that enables female investors to win cash prizes, access to a pitch coach, financial mentorship, a connection to a potential investor, and feedback on their business.

The Alibaba Manifest Grants Program provides up to 50 business owners with a physical product that's on the market today or will be within six months an award of $10,000 plus up to $5,000 in shipping reimbursements for products ordered through Alibaba.com.

 

Through the Amazon's Products for Tomorrow program, owners with innovative products (in terms of design, materiality, or chemistry) can apply for access to the Amazon Launchpad program, a $20,000 grant, guidance and assistance with sustainability certifications, and product placement opportunities in multiple Amazon storefronts.

 

The popular Fast Break for Small Businesses is backed by Legal Zoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League. It sets aside money for up to 50 U.S.-based small business owners who face obstacles because of who they are, who they love, or how they identify. Grant award winners receive $10,000 and a free Legal Zoom product.

 

Through the Grants for Growth program, Uber and Visa offer restaurant owners an opportunity to receive up to $10,000 to cover the costs of immediate needs. Preference is often given to veterans, minorities, women, and LGBTQIA+ business owners.

 

The Halstead Grant awards one silver jewelry artist a $7,500 cash prize and other benefits to jumpstart their business.

 

Through the Incfile's Fresh Start Business Grant, one entrepreneur will receive $2,500 to put toward business startup costs and free formation services from Incfile.

 

Incfile's Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant program provides one business-minded high school senior, undergraduate, graduate, or trade school student with $2,500 to put toward education expenses.

 

The Jack Daniel's Pitch Distilled contest, which runs in multiple cities throughout the U.S., offers entrepreneurs a chance to compete for a $5,000 award. 

 

The new Kapitus' Building Resilient Businesses Contest awards up to $100,000 to small business owners who show resilience through hardships, including the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation, supply chain issues, and “The Great Resignation.” Owners, who must be actively generating revenue (which could not have exceeded $5 million in the previous year), may also win free advisory sessions on digital marketing, finance management, or data analytics.

 

Small businesses located in communities with populations of 50,000 people or less are eligible to apply for the LISC-Lowe's Rural Relief Small Business Grants program, which has $18 million across 900 grants to date.

 

The Love, Tito's Small Business Grant Program offers grants of $25,000 to 10 owners of U.S.-based small businesses who show grit, love, kindness, family, meaning, and purpose.

 

Through the Nav's Small Business Grant program, owners apply for up to $10,000 to take their businesses to the next level. The grand prize is a $10,000 check made out to the owner's business. A runner-up can earn a $5,000 check made out to their business.

 

The Samuel Adams Pitch Room Competition offers a $10,000 grant to an entrepreneur who successfully pitches a packaged food or beverage product to their team.

 

The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation Grants and Grand Challenge programs offer grants to select 501(c)(3) and other tax-exempt businesses innovating to solve key health and development problems. Winners are chosen by the proposals they make for specific problems. Prize amounts vary.

 

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest offers 10 awards to support U.S.-based, for-profit small businesses. Eligible businesses must have shipping needs, a FedEx 9-digit shipping account, fewer than 99 employees, and continuously operated for six months prior to the contest date. Franchised and direct-seller businesses may not enter. The contest gives three $50,000 awards and seven $20,000 awards, and it awards winners in five special categories another $10,000.

 

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants program awards $4,000 grants to select NASE members who need capital to take on a business need.

 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Award program offers a $25,000 cash prize to business owners in various categories, including emerging businesses, green/sustainable businesses, young entrepreneur businesses, and LGTBQ-owned businesses, that operate a for-profit business operating for at least one year, primarily in the United States, with either less than 250 employees or gross revenues of less than $20 million over the last two years.

 

Through the Venmo Small Business Grant Program, PayPal Holdings offers 20 new and existing Venmo Business Profile customers $10,000 to cover some of the expenses involved in starting and growing their businesses.

 

Through the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready program, Verizon offers $10,000 grants to select users who complete two courses, coaching events, or community events through their Small Business Digital Ready program.

 Want to find more grants? Pocketed is a resource thousands of business owners use to seek out grants that suit their goals. Their free, basic grant-matching service is robust enough to help most business owners take on the task, but many prefer Pocketed+, which offers more filtering and an alert service, and Pocketed's managed service, which can apply for grants on an owner's behalf. If you'd like to work with Pocketed, check out this offer:

 

What do I need to do to apply for small business grants?

For most grant programs, you'll need to complete an application, write a grant proposal, and provide your business plan. In some cases, you may also need to make a pitch on your idea, where you stand today, and how you'll use new funding.

We have a few resources that can help you apply for grant funding.

To start, check out this free grant proposal template from JotForm. It's fully customizable and includes a cover letter you can modify to communicate what matters most.

Next, take a look at this guide for writing a business plan:

Finally, this resource can help you work on your pitch:

Not willing to take this take on alone? Think about working with a grant writer who can help you build a winning grant proposal. Many owners look for proposal writers on Upwork, but you can also search the web for a local grant expert.

 

Are small business grants a smart choice for my business?

They can be. Unlike loans, grants have no interest terms or repayment obligations. But there are drawbacks, too. Here are a few:

  • Grants are taxable income. Because of this, you'll need to set aside a portion of the grant proceeds to cover your tax obligations.
  • Unlike loans, grants can't help you build business credit, which you may need for other forms of financing.
  • Grants are much more difficult to attain than loans because grant money is in far shorter supply.
  • The grant application process is long and involved. The hands-on work it requires can pull you away from other tasks you need to take on to grow your business.

 

Are there other ways to find the funding I need?

Yes. Lots of owners use SBA loans, term loans, asset-backed loans, 401(k) options, portfolio loans to build up the cash they need. Some explore other options, including angel investment and venture capital. You can learn more about all these options in this guide:

 

Need more support? Log into your owner’s portal for a free, step-by-step guide to make your venture a success.

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