Top 10 Small Business Grants to Apply for in 2024

If you’re running a small business in 2024, securing funding is critical to its success. You might be wondering about the best small business grants you can apply for. After all, with the right grant, you can drive your business’s economic growth with new opportunities to innovate, expand, and thrive. And the best part? Small business grants don’t come with repayment terms; once the grant is granted, the money’s yours to use.

Small business grants come in diverse forms, catering to various industries and stages of growth. From startup funds to grants aimed at specific sectors like technology, healthcare, or green initiatives, these programs provide essential support tailored to different business needs. By tapping into these resources, small businesses can access the capital necessary for research and development, marketing, infrastructure, and other vital operations.

The potential benefits of securing a grant extend beyond financial relief. Grant recipients often gain credibility, increased visibility, and networking opportunities, which can further accelerate their growth. In the competitive landscape of small business financing, grants offer a unique opportunity to overcome funding challenges and achieve sustainable success.

We picked the best small business grants based on their popularity, different geographic locations, financial ranges, acceptance sizes, and overall well-roundedness, ranking them in no particular order. If you’re seeking funding for your small business, these 10 grants are a great place to start.

1. The FedEx Small Business Grant

Every year, FedEx awards $230,000 total to small businesses across the country in an exciting and competitive grant process. Here are the essential facts to know about the FedEx Small Business Grant

  • Total money awarded: $50,000 to the grand prize winner, $20,000 to other winners
  • Who can apply: Any for-profit business that has operated for six months or more and has fewer than 99 employees. Must also have a FedEx account.
  • Application due date: April 1, 2024 (2025 date pending)

While the 2024 application window has closed, it’s not too early to start working on your 2025 application. To apply, you’ll need to prepare these items: 

  • A detailed business plan
  • A compelling video explaining your business’s story and how you’d use the grant money 

2. NASE Growth Grants

Since 2006, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has awarded over $1,000,000 in grant money to different micro-businesses.

  • Total money awarded: up to $4,000
  • Who can apply: NASE members in good standing (monthly members must have been part of the association for at least three months)
  • Application due date: None; applications are reviewed once a quarter

To apply for a NASE Growth Grant, you’ll need to log into your NASE member portal and upload the following documents: 

  • Copy of your business plan (can be concise or detailed; your choice)
  • Statement of how you intend to use the grant funds
  • Tax return or copy of a profit/loss statement
  • Photo: This can be of your business storefront, your team, your founders, etc. 
  • Any other supporting documents you feel you should include

3. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Grants

To support minority-owned business owners as they grow their businesses, the Minority Business Development Agency offers a variety of different grant opportunities to apply for. 

  • Total money awarded: Varies based on need
  • Who can apply: Minority business owners; exact specifics vary depending on the grant in question
  • Application due date: Varies depending on the grant

To apply for a MBDA grant, you’ll actually need these pieces of paperwork: 

MBDA highly recommends that you attend a pre-application teleconference to help ensure that you understand the grant, its requirements, and eligibility before submitting an application. 

4. Amber Grants for Women

Every month, Women’s Net awards the Amber Grant: at least $30,000 in grants to women-owned businesses nationwide. Typically, three women each month receive a $10,000 award, but at the end of each year, the monthly winners are allowed to apply for the annual $25,000 grand prize. 

Here are the essential facts for applying: 

  • Total money awarded: $425,000 throughout the year; most grants are $10,000, but there is a $25,000 annual grand prize
  • Who can apply: any female business owner; the Startup grant and the Business Category grant are more restrictive 
  • Application due date: End of the month for the Amber Grant

For more information about Women’s Net’s different grants for women, check out their website. 

5. USDA Rural Business Development Grants

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers grant funds to small businesses that primarily serve rural areas. To foster economic success, the Department favors applications that will help create jobs and stimulate community growth. Funds from these grants can be used for training, project planning, construction, renovation, and more. 

Here are the essential details to know before you apply:

  • Total money awarded: No limit, but most grants range between $10,000 and $50,000
  • Who can apply: Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross annual revenue that serve rural communities; must be registered with the System for Award Management
  • Application due date: February 28 for 2024; 2025 date TBA

As part of your application, you’ll need to provide a detailed proposal explaining how you’ll use the funds and your business plan. There are state-specific forms for these applications, which can be found on the USDA website. Your local office can also help you with any application questions you may have. 

6. SBA 7(a) Loans

While not technically a grant, a 7(a) loan from the Small Business Administration can be a valuable financial resource for small businesses. Essentially, the Administration provides funds to act as guaranties, so lenders can extend loans to small businesses at competitive rates. 

Here are the details to know if you’re considering applying: 

  • Total money awarded: up to $5 million 
  • Who can apply: For-profit businesses that meet the SBA criteria for being a small business
  • Application due date: None; loans are always available

You can use these funds for working capital, buying furniture and supplies, purchasing property, and more. While there is a good chance that you’ll need to provide some collateral for a 7(a) loan, you can enjoy a favorable interest rate. Please note that the SBA does not directly administer these loans; you’ll need to contact a lender directly.

7. SBA 504 Loans

With the help of Certified Development Companies, the Small Business Administration also offers 504 loans, which offer substantial funding for major fixed assets, such as purchasing land, building new facilities, modernizing existing facilities, or buying equipment that lasts more than 10 years. 

There are essential facts to know about applying for a 504 loan: 

  • Total money awarded: up $5.5 million for most businesses; up to $16.5 million for some energy projects
  • Who can apply: U.S.-based, for-profit businesses that have $15 million or less in net worth and $5 million or less in annual net income (after taxes)
  • Application due date: None; loans are always available

One of the biggest perks of a 504 loan is that the interest rates are fixed. You can also choose between 10-, 15- and 25-year repayment plans, making it an attractive option for raising funds for long-term efforts. 

8. SBA Microloans

The Microloan program from the Small Business Administration can be a good fit for brand-new businesses or entrepreneurs who just need a smaller loan amount. You can use a microloan for purchasing new equipment, machinery, inventory, working capital, and so on. You can’t use it for repaying old debts or buying real estate.

  • Total money awarded: up to $50,000, but the average microloan is $13,000
  • Who can apply: applicant eligibility is determined by the intermediary lender
  • Application due date: almost always available, but exact dates may be set by the intermediary lender

Intermediary lenders administer these funds, but the SBA can help you locate a lender that operates in your area.

9. 500 Global Flagship Accelerator

If you’re looking for a prestigious grant that will also transform your business program, look no further than the 500 Global Flagship Accelerator program. The program has two important components: a large monetary investment (in exchange for a 6% share of the business) and a 4-month accelerator program, which provides members with exclusive networking opportunities, learning from expert mentors with a rigorous curriculum, hands-on support, and more. 

Here are some essential facts to know if you’re thinking of applying: 

  • Total money awarded: $150,000 ($112,500 if you choose not to pay the Accelerator tuition from your award instead of out of pocket)
  • Who can apply: Virtually any company; the Accelerator accepts local and international companies in technology, marketplaces, media, AI, and more. 
  • Application due date: None; 500 Global reviews applications on a rolling basis

10. ZenBusiness $5K Grant Program

Here at ZenBusiness, we’re excited to be able to offer our own grant program. We provide over $200,000 annually through 40+ $5,000 grants. Each of our grant recipients receives financial aid, 30 days of ZenBusiness Money Pro, and one month free of ZenBusiness Banking. 

Thinking of applying? Here are the essential facts to know: 

  • Total money awarded: $5,000 per business
  • Who can apply: private U.S.-based businesses that have used ZenBusiness formation services in the last 3-6 months; applicant must be 18+ years old
  • Application due date: Applications are accepted year round, but applications are reviewed monthly; you can and should apply again, as applications don’t roll over from one month to the next

When you apply, we’d love to hear how you would use the grant money — to buy new equipment or uniforms, hire a new team member, or anything in between. Inspire us with how you’ll grow and impact your community. If selected, we do ask you to agree to a follow-up interview 30 days after you receive your funding to see how things are going. 

2024 Small Business Grant Application Tips

Applying for small business grants can be a game-changer, providing much-needed funds to help your business grow and thrive. To maximize your chances of securing a grant, follow these actionable tips and best practices:

Research grant opportunities

Start by identifying grants that are relevant to your business. Look for grants that align with your industry, business size, and specific needs. Websites like, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and local government websites are great places to begin your search. Grant opportunities are constantly evolving, so set up alerts and regularly check grant databases to stay informed about new opportunities. Many grants have specific application windows, so it’s crucial to be aware of deadlines.

Each grant has its own eligibility criteria, so carefully read the requirements to ensure your business qualifies before investing time in the application process. This includes understanding any geographic, demographic, or sector-specific stipulations. By thoroughly researching and understanding the grants available, you can better target your efforts and increase your chances of success.

Craft compelling applications

When crafting your application, it’s essential to follow the instructions meticulously. Missing a single requirement can disqualify your application, so make sure to address all the questions and provide all the requested documentation. Use your application to tell the story of your business, highlighting your mission, vision, and the impact of your work. Explain why your business is unique and how the grant will help you achieve your goals. Personal anecdotes and specific examples can make your application stand out.

While it’s important to provide detailed information, avoid unnecessary jargon and lengthy descriptions. Be clear and concise, focusing on how the grant will directly benefit your business and, by extension, the community or industry you serve. Support your claims with evidence, such as financial statements, market research, or letters of support. Demonstrating a clear understanding of your market and providing data to back up your claims can significantly strengthen your application.

Follow up with grant providers

Once you’ve submitted your application, send a polite email to acknowledge receipt and express your appreciation for the opportunity. This not only shows professionalism but also keeps your application top of mind for the grant provider. If the grant provider hasn’t specified the timeline for decisions, it’s appropriate to ask about next steps. Knowing when to expect a response can help you plan accordingly.

Whether your application is successful or not, request feedback. Understanding why an application was not selected can provide valuable insights for future submissions. Grant providers often appreciate this proactive approach and may provide constructive comments. Building relationships with grant providers can be beneficial for future opportunities. Keep in touch with updates about your business progress and express continued interest in their programs. Networking with grant providers and other applicants can also open doors to other opportunities.

By following these tips, you can enhance the quality of your grant applications and increase your chances of securing funding. Remember, persistence is key. Even if you don’t succeed at first, each application is a learning experience that brings you closer to your goal.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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