If you are a small business owner or looking to get a new small business off the ground, you may have heard that the federal government offers grants for small businesses. While the government does in fact offer small business grants through the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are only a few of these grants and they are specifically targeted to only a handful of industries. If you own a pizza shop or hair styling studio, there are no federal grants for these types of businesses that are traditionally what comes to mind when you think of small business.
Now with that said, the agency does oversee a fairly extensive loan program for small businesses of this type. So while you’re most likely not going to get a federal grant for your small business, you may be able to get a small business loan. You may also have better luck finding grants for your small businesses through state and local development agencies and small business trade organizations, however, the SBA is a great place to start when looking for small business grants in your specific area.
What the SBA grant programs do actually fund are small business start-ups in the scientific research and technology sectors. The agency has two separate grant programs that support this very small niche. Both grants are only available to companies with 500 or fewer employees. The grant amounts are quite large, offering up to $100,000 for Phase I grants and up to $750,000 if the project continues to Phase II status.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
Grants under this program are provided to fund research and development to stimulate high-tech innovation in the small business sector.
Small Business Technology Transfer Program
Grants under this program are provided to fund partnerships between non-profit research labs and companies looking to take that research and apply it to for-profit small businesses.
SBA Loan Programs
The SBA offers four different types of loans for small businesses that do not meet the narrow definition of its research and technology grant programs. The most common of these is the General Small Business Loan, also known as a 7(a) Loan. It also offers a Microloan Program, Real Estate and Equipment Loans and Disaster Loans.
SBA Loans and Grants Tool
To find out if you qualify for any SBA assistance, take a few minutes and make use of the SBA loans and grants tool on the agency website. This will quickly determine what sort of help you can expect to receive through the SBA.
State and Local Economic Development Agencies
Now just because the federal government doesn’t offer grants to most types of small businesses, this is not true for local economic development agencies. In most cases, your state, region, county or city government provides programs that encourage local economic development. These address the economic development concerns in your specific area. Many of these local economic development agencies offer grants as well as loan programs to small businesses in their development areas.
National Association for the Self Employed Growth Grants
You can receive a Growth Grant of $5,000 to help grow your small business through the National Association for the Self Employed. The NASE has already doled out over $600,000 worth of grants to self-employed small business owners through this program. To receive a growth grant, however, you must be a member in good standing of the organization.
Category: Business Grants