Types of Small Business Grants
Government small business grants from either the federal or state government are very limited. They typically are of two types:
- Grants to assist certain types of people: women, minorities, disabled, veterans. If you don't fit into one of these categories, you aren't going to qualify.
- Grants to further business development in certain areas: disaster areas, rural and tribal areas, and low-income development areas. For example, if you want to start a business in an area that was flooded in the past few years, you may be able to get grant assistance. Or if you want to start a business in an area that has been designated as a re-development area, you are likely to get grant money. Otherwise, you probably won't.
Small Business Grants are Indirect Funding
Most small business grants are indirect. They are for non-profit groups helping small businesses, not for businesses themselves. For example a listing from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) for Women's Business Ownership Assistance was to fund groups that help women in business. The grant did not provide money for actual individual women in business.
Specific Business Grants You Might Qualify For
- Worker training grants can help you hire and train new employees
- Small Business Innovation and Research Grants are available to help companies develop new products
Places to Find Grants
- Grants.gov is the official U.S. government site where all current federal grants are listed. Try the employment grants section, but be aware that it is very difficult to get a U.S. government grant.
- Go to your state's economic development agency website (the name varies by state) or search on [state name business grants]
- Your local government (city or county) may have tax incentives or grants available to encourage small businesses to locate in the area.
- Using the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, you may be able to find grants for your business, but it takes some time and patience to navigate the site and weed out all the small business grants you don't want and aren't qualified for.