If you’ve been looking for funding options for your business, you might have come across business grants. These are quite useful and can be a perfect solution for your growing business.
So, we’ve selected the 20 best business grants to get you the funding you need.
- The Best Business Grants (Overview)
- What Are Business Grants?
- What Do I Need to Apply for a Business Grant?
- 20 Best Business Grants to Apply for in 2023
- 1. SBIR and STTR
- 2. Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms
- 3. The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
- 4. Start a SUD Startup Challenge
- 5. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
- 6. Pass-Through
- 7. Natural Resource Sales Assistance Programs
- 8. Formula Grants
- 9. Research Grants
- 10. Nav Business Grant Contest
- 11. Visa Everywhere Initiative
- 12. Idea Cafe Small Business Grant
- 13. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
- 14. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
- 15. Queer to Stay Initiative
- 16. SoGal Black Founder Startup
- 17. Patagonia Corporate
- 18. Seed Money
- 19. Facilities and Equipment Programs
- 20. Technical Assistance Grants
- Wrapping Up
The Best Business Grants (Overview)
We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.
- SBIR and STTR
- Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms
- The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
- Start a SUD Startup Challenge
- The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
- Natural Resource Sales Assistance Programs
- Formula Grants
- Research Grants
- Nav Business Grant Contest
- Visa Everywhere Initiative
- Idea Cafe Small Business Grant
- National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
- FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
- Queer to Stay Initiative
- SoGal Black Founder Startup
- Patagonia Corporate
- Seed Money
- Facilities and Equipment Programs
- Technical Assistance Grants
What Are Business Grants?
Business grants are basically free money offered by the federal government, private companies, private grant programs, and other companies or organizations.
These funding opportunities can be used for various things, like hiring new employees, buying equipment, or even research and development.
What Do I Need to Apply for a Business Grant?
Every grant has its specific guidelines, so make sure you read them carefully.
However, let’s dig into some of the most frequently-asked for documents:
- A Completed Grant Application Form: This form asks for information about your business, such as its legal structure, history, and mission.
- Prepare a Business Plan: This document should provide an overview of your business, including its goals and objectives, products or services, target market, and financial projections.
- Proof of Business Ownership and Registration: This could include documents such as articles of incorporation or a business license.
- Financial Documents: These may include income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and information about your business’s financial history and current financial status.
- Other Support Materials: These may include resumes of key staff members, testimonials from customers or clients, and samples of your products or services.
20 Best Business Grants to Apply for in 2023
Now, let’s get into the juicy details of the best grant opportunities out there.
SBIR and STTR (Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer) grants are federal small business grants designed to support businesses in developing new technologies.
The innovation research program, SBIR, is provided by 11 different federal agencies, while STTR grants are provided by five.
The main difference between the two federal grants is that SBIR small business grants require that the small business perform at least 51% of the research, while STTR federal grants require that they perform at least 40% of the research in collaboration with a research institution.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) business grants are designed to help small businesses negatively impacted by foreign trade.
These government grants can pay for various expenses, including marketing, technical assistance, and working capital.
TAAF grants are provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The MBDA grants are meant for minority-owned small businesses.
These business grants are designed to support small enterprises in the development and expansion of their operations, with a focus on helping them access new markets and contracts.
The grants are ideal for minority women-owned businesses as well.
It’s important to note that MBDA grants aren’t for personal loans or business expansions; they’re provided to organizations that operate MBDA’s Minority Business Centers across the United States.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) always hosts its traditional “Start a SUD Startup Challenge.”
The competition’s purpose is to promote unique research concepts that might further our comprehension of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) and perhaps lead to the formation of new businesses in the field.
NIDA is always on the lookout for ideas that have the potential to be turned into successful biotech startups and is offering a total purse of $100,000 to be awarded to up to 10 winners.
Each winner receives $10,000 and guidance from NIDA’s scientific research and entrepreneurship experts to help turn their ideas into a reality.
This program’s grants and loan guarantees are meant for small rural businesses and farmers to help them invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is designed to help rural businesses reduce their energy costs and promote energy independence.
The grants are only available for rural businesses and farmers, which may limit the pool of eligible applicants.
Pass-through grants are provided by government agencies, state and local governments, foundations, and other non-profit organizations.
They can be used to fund a wide range of projects for smaller organizations or individuals.
The federal government allows certain organizations to act as pass-through entities, which means they receive federal funds and then pass them on to other organizations.
These organizations that receive funding from the pass-through entity are known as sub-recipients.
Applying for pass-through grant funds has some advantages, such as facing less competition and being able to develop a relationship with the agency that administers the grant.
These small business grants are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are designed to promote sustainable development, conservation, and growth.
The SBA program helps small businesses get a fair share of government property sales and leases.
It does this by setting aside specific products for small business bidding only, giving them a chance to bid with limited competition before the products are offered to larger businesses.
Formula grants are small business grants provided to states, municipalities, and other organizations, based on a predetermined formula.
This grant money is often used to fund specific programs or projects and may have strict guidelines and criteria that must be met.
Research grants are ones that are provided to organizations and individuals to support the conduct of scientific or academic research.
These financial resources are provided by agencies (federal and local governments), foundations, and other organizations, and they can fund a wide range of research projects.
The Nav.com contest is a competition that provides small business grants to businesses with innovative ideas.
The competition provides a platform for small business owners to showcase their ideas and connect with potential investors and partners.
Visa Everywhere Initiative is a global competition for startups that helps to identify, fund, and support the next generation of fintech experts that are solving real business problems.
Visa is always looking to support startups that can create new solutions and technologies to accelerate digital commerce growth.
Idea Cafe, a small business resource center, provides small business grant programs.
This program provides funding to small businesses with innovative ideas and strong potential for a growth grant.
To apply, you don’t have to pay any fee or prepare a complete business plan; you have to sign up as an Idea Cafe Regular.
It also features small biz grants in its “Grants du Jour” and provides a Time-Saving Guide to Government Grants to help you navigate the SBA, CFDA, SBIR/STTR Grant Program, and more.
This small business grants program is provided by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), a membership organization for self-employed individuals and small business owners.
The NASE offers business development grants worth up to $4,000 for small business owners.
You must be a member in good standing and meet the eligibility requirements to apply.
The funds can be used for marketing, advertising, employing staff, developing facilities, and other specific business needs.
The application deadline is reviewed quarterly.
The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses to gain financial support for their growth and development.
By participating in the contest, businesses can showcase their innovative ideas, strategies, and products to a panel of judges.
The top selected businesses receive the funding to improve their business.
This program is a great way for small businesses to gain visibility and get the financial support they need to grow.
The contest is usually held annually; businesses can apply online and submit their application and business plan.
The judges will then select the top businesses based on several criteria like innovation, scalability, and impact.
Queer to Stay is a business grants program that aims to provide financial assistance to LGBTQ-owned businesses that have been disproportionately hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program aims to help these businesses stay afloat and continue to operate during challenging times.
The grant may be particularly attractive to local businesses, as it offers a way for them to receive the grant money they need to keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities.
The grant may be used for a variety of purposes, such as covering expenses related to renting, utilities, employee wages, and other operational costs.
The SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant is a funding opportunity provided by SoGal, a venture capital firm that’s dedicated to supporting and investing in diverse founders and minority-owned businesses.
This grant is specifically designed to provide financial assistance to black-identifying entrepreneurs and startups that have innovative ideas and are looking to bring them to market.
The grant may cover expenses related to product development, market research, and other costs associated with starting a new business.
It also provides access to mentorship and other resources to help recipients build and scale their businesses.
The grant program is open to a wide range of industries, including technology, healthcare, and consumer goods, and is perfect for local small business owners.
This business grants program is provided by Patagonia, a clothing company known for its environmental and social activism.
These are private grants with a simple application process.
It provides funding to environmental and social mission-driven organizations working on causes Patagonia cares about.
Both a profit and a non-profit organization can apply.
18. Seed Money
The Seed Money Grant is designed to provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting their businesses.
This business grant is intended to help cover the costs associated with getting a new business off the ground, such as product development, marketing, and operational expenses, and is ideal for women-owned businesses.
The Facilities and Equipment Programs grant is specifically designed to assist small businesses and organizations in acquiring or upgrading the necessary facilities or equipment to run their operations effectively.
This business grant can cover a wide range of expenses, such as purchasing new machinery, construction or remodeling of buildings, and other related expenses.
It’s also ideal for businesses looking to expand their operations, increase production, or improve their overall efficiency, thus fostering economic growth.
The grant funding is known for its inclusive application process, available to all types of small business owners.
These small business grants are provided to small businesses and organizations to help them acquire technical knowledge.
This business innovation research program helps provide grants, skills, and human services needed to start or grow operations or to improve their performance and small business administration.
We hope this article helps you find grant opportunities to receive money for your business idea without the added stress of repaying small business loans.
Here’s one final tip for finding grants: always be on the lookout for federal government grants, private small business grants, and those offered by small business development centers.
The competition for grants can be fierce, but you increase your chances of success with the right approach and a solid business plan.
Remember, a grant isn’t just free money but an investment in your future and a great way to avoid repaying a huge business credit.