Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but getting one off the ground can be a challenge. One potential source of funding is through grants, which are financial awards given to individuals or organizations for a specific purpose.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at small business grants and what entrepreneurs need to know in order to take advantage of them.
Types of Small Business Grants
There are several different types of grants available for small businesses, each with its own set of qualifications and requirements. Some of the most common types include:
- Federal grants: These are awards given out by the government at the federal level. Examples include the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
- State grants: These are awards given out by state government agencies. Examples include the California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program and the New York State Small Business Development Center (NYSSBDC) program.
- Local grants: These are awards given out by local government agencies, such as cities and counties. Examples include the City of San Francisco Small Business Assistance Center (SBAC) program and the Los Angeles County Small Business Development Center (LACSBDC) program.
- Private grants: These are awards given out by private organizations, such as foundations and corporations. Examples include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the FedEx Small Business Grant.
Eligibility for Small Business Grants
Eligibility for small business grants varies depending on the type of grant and the organization offering it. However, some common qualifications include:
- Being a small business: Most grants are specifically for small businesses, which are defined as having 500 or fewer employees.
- Meeting certain revenue or net income requirements: Some grants have specific revenue or net income requirements that businesses must meet in order to be eligible.
- Operating in a specific industry or location: Many grants are targeted towards specific industries or geographic areas.
- Having a specific purpose or goal: Many grants require businesses to have a specific purpose or goal in order to be eligible, such as research and development, export expansion, or job creation.
How to Apply for Small Business Grants
Applying for small business grants can be a complex process, but here are some general steps to follow:
- Research grants: Start by researching the different types of grants available and identifying those that align with your business and its goals.
- Review the qualifications and requirements: Carefully review the qualifications and requirements for each grant you are interested in to make sure you are eligible.
- Prepare your application: Gather all the necessary documentation, such as financial statements, business plans, and tax returns, and prepare your application according to the grant’s guidelines.
- Submit your application: Submit your application to the appropriate organization, either online or by mail, by the deadline.
- Follow up: After you’ve submitted your application, follow up to make sure it was received and to inquire about the status of your application.
Small business grants can be a valuable source of funding for entrepreneurs, but it’s important to understand the different types available, the qualifications and requirements, and the application process. With the right approach, small business owners can secure the financial support they need to grow and succeed.