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Small Business Grants 101

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It takes money to make money, and some of the most successful businesses started with a grant. From government grants to corporate grants, there are many options available. What kind of small business grants are available for your business? Read on to understand what is available to you and how beneficial these grants can be.

Federal Small Business Grants

The U.S. government is one of the most prominent grant distributors, funding many endeavors that benefit society. Some of the projects they support include environmental initiatives, childcare and development, agriculture, and materials engineering. Applying for a federal grant is an in-depth process that may seem daunting, but approval can be just the thing your business needs to take off and thrive. is an excellent starting point to browse grants in your industry. Various federal agencies post grant opportunities in this database. You can learn about grant opportunities, requirements and the application process by clicking on “Apply for Grants” on the homepage.

If your business revolves around technological or scientific research and development, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant programs may be enticing options. Both programs link small businesses, research organizations and universities to federal grant opportunities across a dozen industries. To qualify for a grant, you must meet the organization’s eligibility criteria which includes workforce size, business type and ownership details.

Agriculture-based businesses and small businesses in rural areas may qualify for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. is a contest-based grant website that awards funding to businesses that come up with the most innovative and effective solutions to various challenges such as design, outreach, education, and urban planning.

While may not offer small business grant opportunities, it’s full of resources and advice for current and prospective small business owners. If you have tried without avail to apply for federal grants, provides information on an alternative option: federal loans.

State & Local Small Business Grants

Startups and inexperienced small businesses may have more luck acquiring funding at the state and local levels. These grants focus on boosting the local economy and increasing employment opportunities in the area.

The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a variety of grants and resources to small businesses. Businesses with innovative and cost-effective ways to bolster the local economy may succeed with this route.

Each U.S. state has its own agency that helps small businesses find grants or loans and ways to grow and hire talented employees. You can learn more by looking up or contacting your state’s Economic Development Agency (EDA).

One of the best local resources may be your small business development center. These organizations are often partnered with universities or the state’s EDA and provide a wealth of funding, learning and networking opportunities for small businesses.

Private Small Business Grants

Many small business grant opportunities reside in the private sector. Many corporations such as FedEx offer small business grant opportunities with more lenient requirements than government grants. Some organizations also offer specialty grants geared toward women, minorities, military, and other select groups.

Take time to research reputable grant providers and learn your options. The resources above can help you save time, avoid obsolete websites, and give your business the funding it needs to succeed.

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