Small businesses employ over 50 percent of the working population in the United States. Most are non-employers, which means there are no employees; they are either incorporated businesses, partnerships, or individuals operating as sole proprietors. Technology makes it simple to start a business, often starting small by working out of a home. For nearly the last two decades, these businesses have created more than half the new jobs that have been added to our economy, and the percentage is increasing as huge corporations downsize.
Acceptable Uses for Grants
Although small businesses are an essential piece of our economy, the government doesn’t just give out free money in the form of grants to anyone who has an idea for starting a company. In fact, the federal government does not provide grants for covering operational expenses, paying off debt, or starting or expanding a business. However, it does award grants to small businesses in particular industries and fields, such as medical, environmental, and scientific research. For instance, you may qualify for federal grants under the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) or Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs if your small business engages in scientific research and development (R&D). STTR and SBIR programs support small businesses undertaking R&D designs that have a high potential for commercialization or satisfy federal R&D objectives.
Finding a Grant
Grants are available based on the type of business and your demographics. For example, there are programs available for single mothers, women, minority business owners, and more. Most grant programs expect comprehensive proposals detailing every aspect of your business. If you believe your small business may qualify for a grant, check out the resources below for help with the search process:
- Federal grants. The federal government’s searchable database and central repository of thousands of different grants is grants.gov.
- Local and state grants. Talk to a state economic development agency representative for details about discretional incentive grants.
- Nonprofit and corporate grants. Small business grants are also accessible from select corporations and nonprofits, including the Intuit “Love Our Local Business” program.
Federal grants are difficult to obtain for small businesses because they are appropriated by Congress and funded by taxes. Also, capital allocations are tightly controlled and awarded only to small business endeavors that closely align with the agenda of a specific government agency.
Applying for a Grant
Applying for a federal grant the first time will be the most challenging. However, the process gets smoother with each federal grant application you submit. Additionally, you will see each of your subsequent grant applications improve over the previous one. It is critical to understand that there are strings attached to every federal grant award. As a federal grantee, you will undergo federal monitoring by the program that is providing the funding. To submit an application for a federal grant, you will need to follow each of these steps:
- 1.Determine if you are qualified to apply for the grant
- 2.Obtain the complete application packet
- 3.Understand the terms of the grant being offered along with all of the instructions on the grant application
- 4.Outline how you will draft the grant
- 5.Research the funding program and write toward their goals
- 6.Review carefully and finalize the application
- 7.Submit the entire grant application package
When you are ready to submit the finalized application, you can do it easily on the grants.gov portal. This system provides step-by-step instructions for completing a federal grant application and gives you a tracking number to monitor the status of your application.
Nothing is better than a grant for finding funding. Money is provided to you free of charge to put toward your startup. Naturally, finding and obtaining these grants is tough, but you’ll never receive a grant if you don’t apply.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.