Discover the best small business grants to consider in 2023.
If you’re wondering what small business grants to apply for, look no further. Small business grants are a powerful funding tool for new businesses like LLCs, partnerships, and even corporations. But getting them can be challenging if you’re not sure where to start.
In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials of small business grants in 2023, including what they are, the different types of grants you might be eligible for, and how to make your applications as successful as you can.
A small business grant is money that’s awarded to a small business with no strings attached. A grant doesn’t have to be repaid; the funds are yours to use to further your business objectives. In some cases, you have to use the funds for specific business purposes, but that depends on the grant.
In a way, a grant is somewhat similar to a scholarship granted to a college student; the student doesn’t have to repay their scholarship, unlike any loans they apply for. A grant is the same way. It’s a great way to fund your LLC or other business.
Small business grants come from a wide variety of sources, and they can benefit different types of businesses: ones in a specific industry, ones owned by veterans or minority groups, and more.
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There are a wide variety of different kinds of grants available to many different business types. No two grants are alike, either. Here’s a look at the different grants your business might be able to apply for.
Federal grants are those offered by federal government agencies. While federal grants tend to be quite large, they’re available to entrepreneurs across the entire country. So competition for them can be quite stiff. It’s still possible to obtain one, but be aware they aren’t a surefire way to receive funding.
Some of the top federal grants are offered by the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The Chamber of Commerce is also a great resource for federal funding opportunities. The government generally favors grants that foster entrepreneurship, technological advancement, and community organizations. Learn more on the sbir.gov and uschamber.com websites.
State grants are a great alternative to federal government grants because there’s generally less competition since they’re exclusive to businesses in your state. State grants usually award a smaller dollar amount than federal grants, but they can still give you a much-needed financial boost.
Every state has unique grant opportunities for different types of businesses. We recommend checking with your state’s Small Business Development Center for some initial guidance regarding what grants are available in your area. Your Secretary of State’s website might also have a page for grants and resources. You can also consult with your local chapter of the Economic Development Administration. Learn more on the eda.gov website.
It’s not uncommon for cities or counties to foster growth for their local economy by offering grants to its local small businesses. How much money is up for grabs and how much competition varies, though. Some areas offer large grants, and others offer microgrants instead.
Some areas have a “mom and pop” nonprofit organization that sponsors these grants, so that might be a good place to start. You can also contact your local government directly for more information.
Sometimes, large corporations will offer grants (and other programs) for small businesses to help them get up and running. Sometimes you have to keep your “ear to the ground” to know about these opportunities, but other high-profile grants get a lot of publicity. Here are just a few examples:
These are just some high-profile grant options with highly competitive applicants. That said, keep your eyes open for new grant offerings, even from smaller brands. For example, if there’s a company you like whose services you use regularly, you can watch for grant opportunities. Or better yet, inquire directly if they have any grant opportunities coming up.
Small businesses owned and operated by female entrepreneurs have plenty of opportunities for funding, at both the federal and state levels. Here are just a few resources to check out.
Veterans returning to civilian life and running a business can apply for several specific loans. Here are just a few of the potential opportunities.
Learn more with our business grants for veterans guide.
Business owners who are members of different minority communities can find financial support through a variety of different grants across the country.
Part of the LBGTQIA business community? Here are just a few of the grant opportunities to check out.
You can also check out the SBA’s LGBTQ support page, on sba.gov, for additional resources and information on support groups and financial grants.
Black small business owners can take advantage of a variety of grant opportunities at the federal, state, and local levels. Here are just a few examples.
You can also check out the SBA’s minority-owned business page, on sba.gov, for more information on resources, funding, and support.
Members of the Native American business community can find a variety of different programs to financially support their small businesses. Here are just a few examples of grants available to tribal organizations.
Many of these grant opportunities are presented by state agencies in western states. We suggest contacting your state’s Department of Commerce for more information. You can also check out the SBA’s Native-American Owned Businesses page, on sba.gov, for more resources.
Members of the AAPI business community can take advantage of quite a few different grant opportunities.
You can also consult the SBA’s minority-owned businesses page for more resources and support.
Applying for grants takes a lot of time, and no entrepreneur wants to waste their time on grant applications. But with the right approach, you could be set up for success. Here are some tips on how to apply for grants successfully.
With some legwork and determination, you can find the perfect grant for your business.
Starting a business can be an expensive, time-consuming process. But here at ZenBusiness, we can help you keep the process cost-effective and low-stress. Whether you need a no-cost LLC formation, an operating agreement to govern your business profits, a streamlined money app, or anything in between, we’ve got your back.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational 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.
Every small business grant has different criteria that you have to meet in order to be eligible. To qualify, you’ll have to meet those criteria and fill out an application. Often, a grant application will ask for your business plan, a picture of your business finances, and more, so be prepared to have that information on hand.
Additionally, if there are terms for how you have to use the grant money, be sure to uphold those requirements.
Unlike a loan, you don’t have to pay back a small business grant. It’s much like a student doesn’t have to pay back their grant to the financial aid office — only student loans have to be paid back. Grants (for both businesses and students) are gifted funds.
Small business grants are like scholarships for businesses; they’re awarded to qualifying start-ups or small businesses so they can pursue success. To be awarded a grant, a small business has to meet the grant criteria and submit by the application deadline. After that, the grantor can choose to give the grant to their chosen applicant.
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