One of the challenges of running a small business is to keep it funded. You can use your own savings, tap friends and family, or get a bank loan. But one source you may not have considered is government grants. Start with these insights into getting government grants for small business.
Federal, state and local governments offer grants in various amounts. Some are available to small businesses that meet certain conditions. For example, there are grants for businesses owned by under-represented groups, like women or veterans. Others are for specific purposes, like adding energy-efficient lighting. The Small Business Administration does not offer grants for starting or expanding a business, but they do offer loans.
The biggest advantage of grants is that they do not have to be repaid. While it may not be enough to cover everything, it can be a valuable supplement. It may also give you the credibility to apply for more traditional loans.
Grants also have disadvantages. The application process can be time consuming. Be prepared to provide a solid business case with supporting documentation. And you may need to wait for an answer. Some grants have conditions attached. For example, you may have to secure matching funds.
One of the challenges in getting a grant is finding one for which you are eligible. Grants.gov lets you search grants by a number of categories. In addition, Fundera offers this list of 108 small business grants. Here are examples of some grants from various government entities:
Federal grants – Available only to non-commercial organizations (non-profits and educational institutions) in areas such as medicine, education, scientific research, or technology.
State grants – These are geared toward a state’s economic or social concern. Many require you to match the grant. Other states do not give grants to specific businesses but provide grants to fund agencies that support small businesses. Check your state’s official web page and search for grants or programs.
Once you’ve found a grant that you’re eligible for, here are some quick tips to help you through the process:
Securing a grant for your small business takes commitment. But it can be a great way to supplement the funding you need. Start by digging in with this information to find a grant that will work for your small business, and then stick with it.