There are many places to find free grants for small businesses. Grants can be awarded by governments at the federal, state, or local level, as well as by private enterprises. They are lump sums of money that, unlike loans, don’t need to be repaid. However, some grants come with stipulations about how the awarded money should be used. As a financial professional, grants provide additional capital used to add new products and services, open a new business or office meeting location, or hire more staff. Read on to discover where to find free grants for small businesses.
Grants.gov is a landing page run by the federal government that contains all federal government grants. It includes grants from school systems, local governments, individuals, and nonprofits. The sheer variety of grants found here necessitates a time investment to find one right for your specific business. Additionally, federal small business grants often have size requirements and other regulations. These regulations include: grant money can’t be used to start a business, nor can it be used to pay off debts or cover operational costs. Also, local and state grants provided by the federal government are typically awarded to organizations assisting in economic developments. Surely, Grants.gov is an incredible resource for finding small business grants due to its completeness and variety.
Economic Industry Disaster Loans
Economic industry disaster loans (EIDLs) provide assistance to businesses losing revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Small Business Association grants up to $10,000 to businesses suffering in this way. This amount is often enough for businesses to transition into online-based practices and protocols, such as remote work and online retailing. Additionally, while the word “loan” is in the title, these small business loans work more like grants, as the money does not need to be repaid. Absolutely, EIDLs provide capital for keeping up with changing industry standards.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
The Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) helps businesses providing research and development opportunities with commercial potential. Eleven government agencies are part of this program, and each sets their own parameters. These parameters include eligibility guidelines, research/development topics, and application reviews. Grants from this program start at $150,000, but promising businesses may receive up to $1 million. Certainly, the SBIR maintains technological innovation and scientific commerce by providing research grants.
Small Business Technology Transfer Program
The Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) is also available to businesses in the research and development industry. Several federal agencies including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Health offer grants to small businesses. This grant puts a focus on the transfer of technology from research institutions to small businesses, and, eventually, the consumer market research industry. Most of the eligibility requirements are the same as the SBIR, but businesses applying for the STTR must also partner with a nonprofit research institution. Definitely, the STTR provides grants to small businesses furthering research and technological advancement.
USDA Rural Business Development
The USDA Rural Business Development grant benefits small businesses operating in rural areas with less than 50,000 people. Public entities are awarded this grant to benefit small businesses engaged in several industries, such as land acquisition/development and pollution control/abatement. Additionally, grants are typically awarded to the rural transportation improvement and economic development industries as well. There are other grants offered by the USDA as well, and they provide searches with parameters such as sector, state, eligibility requirements, funding amounts, and deadlines. Of course, USDA rural business development grants provide economic growth in often stagnant communities.
There is a myriad of places to find free grants for small businesses. One such place is Grants.gov, which provides and expansive database of grants to sift through. Another is to look for EIDLs, which are grants meant to help your business keep up with changing industry standards. Third, SBIR grants provide assistance to businesses furthering research and technological innovations. STTR grants ensure the continued operations of businesses bringing innovative technology to the public. Finally, USDA rural business development grants stimulate economic growth in communities where it often stagnates. When wondering where to find free grants for small businesses online, consider the points described above.