Startup business grants are available from the U.S. government, government authorities like the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as state governments, in order to help citizens get their businesses off the ground. Unlike loans, these grants do not need to be repaid.
There are many government grants for business operations available from a variety of sources. The type of grant for which an individual qualifies depends on varying eligibility criteria. Likewise, unlike a small business loan, a grant has very specific guidelines regarding the expenses surrounding the grant issued.
Government grants for small business owners issued by federal sources are primarily geared toward businesses involved in technology, science and medical research. However, state sources often provide more general grants.
Local government business grants are even more adaptable, and are often designed for businesses that promote local economic or environmental gain. For example, the Miami Mom & Pop grant aims to bridge the gap between large local government and small businesses. For more information about business grants, continue reading the topics below.
Start Up Business Grants
Start up business grants are designed to provide new business owners with the funding they need to research, develop and produce. These types of grants are mainly available at the state level and through third-party organizations.
Government business grants for startup companies help owners get the funding they need, without taking on more debt. Some grants have very specific eligibility guidelines, especially those that are distributed by government authorities.
Those interested in government grants for small business ventures should consider applying to the certain grant programs. These include:
- DC Small and Local Business Grant – As an example of a state grant, start up companies can apply and receive funding to help their businesses grow. State grants for start ups often focus on companies (such as retail businesses) that revitalize areas of the towns and cities.
- Jack Daniels: Pitch Distilled – The Jack Daniels whiskey distillery hosts an annual Pitch Distilled program, in which applicants attend a convention and pitch their business ideas.
- Miller Lite: Tap the Future – Miller Lite’s Tap the Future grant program provides one start up company with $100,000 and a chance to work with Daymond John, a Shark Tank entrepreneur.
- NASE Growth Grants – The National Association for the Self-Employed provides awards of up to $4,000 to help start up businesses meet their goals.
Grants for Small Businesses
Government business grants for small businesses are similar to start-up grants. The goal is to provide business owners with the funding they need to meet business goals and get off the ground. The Small Business Administration (SBA) promotes several types of grants.
Many federal small business grants are designed for nonprofit businesses and organizations. As such, applicants must typically meet 501c(3) status to receive these grants. Small business owners that do not meet this status should look into state, local and third-party sources for grants.
There are several organizational and government grants for small business owners available. These include:
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) – This competitive program provides funding to small businesses, in exchange for federal research and development. Through this program, small businesses can explore their technological potential and profit from the growth.
- National Institutes of Health – The NIH, a subset of the Department of Health & Human Services, provides small business grants to companies involved in researching and developing new biomedical technologies.
- Environmental Protection Agency Grants – These government business grants are awarded to small businesses that are researching, developing and advancing green technology and sustainable developments.
- Kansas Job Creation Fund – While this grant is only open to businesses located in Kansas, it serves as an example of what one can expect from a state-level grant program. The state provides funding to businesses looking to establish themselves in Kansas. Many states provide similar types of grants.
- FedEx Small Business Grant – Although not a government grant, this program awards grants of up to $25,000. Small businesses across the country are invited to apply and tell their business stories for a chance to win.
Grants for Veterans
Small business grants for veterans are part of a specific category of awards issued to veteran-owned businesses. These financial awards are issued by the government, nonprofit organizations, and even some largescale corporations.
Veterans business grants are different from veteran loans, which must be repaid. The SBA has many loan programs with extra benefits for disabled veterans, like low rates of interest and waived fees. It is important to understand the difference between veteran loans and veteran grants.
Most grants for veteran-owned businesses are available from sources outside the government. In order to help their businesses grow, veteran business owners should consider applying to veteran grant programs, such as:
- USDA Veteran and Minority Farmer Grant – U.S. veterans interested in pursuing a farming business (or growing their current agricultural business) are eligible to apply for this grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition to funding, recipients will also receive education, outreach and training in the agricultural industry.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small-Business Program – This veterans business grants program, provided by the SBA, helps qualified applicants receive government contracts of up to $5 million. To qualify, veterans must own at least 51 percent of the business, and have a service-related disability.
- Commander’s Call Veteran Business Award – Veterans and military spouses who own their own businesses are eligible to apply for this grant program. StreetShares awards up to $15,000 to promote veteran-owned businesses and encourage owners to grow their teams.
- UPS Franchise Discount – Veterans looking to open and run a UPS franchise are eligible to receive $10,000 off the franchise fee, and up to 75 percent off the application fee. The grant encourages veterans to join the UPS franchise; many of the corporation’s franchise locations and owned and operated by U.S. veterans.
- Little Caesars Veterans Program – Similar to the UPS discount, Little Caesars pizza chain offers numerous discounts for veterans. Applicants receive $5,000 of the franchise fee, $5,000 off the first equipment order and up to $15,000 in additional marketing discounts. Service-disabled veterans receive a full waiver of the franchise fee (a discount of $20,000) and additional savings.