What are the top government grants for small businesses?
The federal government normally provides grants to nonprofits and educational institutions only. At times local governments may offer grants through specific departments e.g. for economic development. SBA.gov outlines in detail the full list of eligibility requirements, terms and conditions for Small business funding grants.
What are the major federal grants for small businesses and how to apply for them?
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
The mission of the SBIR and STTR programs is to entice federal and scientific research and development as well as technological innovation.
Both grant programs assist connect small businesses, universities and research with federal grants. For businesses to qualify the requirement is to be a for-profit entity with 500 or less employees. Nonprofits are not eligible.
The SBIR and STTR grant programs consist of three stages.
- SBIR Stage I awards are normally between $50,000 and $250,000 for six months or one year,
- and Stage II awards are typically $750,000 for two years.
- Stage III is designed for small businesses to pursue monetization as a resulting next phase from Stage I and Stage II. The SBIR program does not provide funding for Stage III.
One of the grantors participating in the SBIR and STTR grant programs is The Office of Science which is a subset of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It provides various funding opportunities for over sixty technical research topics and 250 subtopics, including but not limited to projects that support energy-production and -use, fundamental energy sciences, defense nuclear nonproliferation and environmental management.
National Institutes of Health
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides federal grants via The National Institutes of Health for small businesses that do research and development in biomedical technologies.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, engages via its branch the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in research, educational and extension efforts in several rural areas related to agricultural and behavioral sciences. These categories include food science, animal- and plant-life, farming and ranching as well as business and economics.
NIFA grants have four stages:
- Pre-award: This stage starts with the announcement of funding opportunities for grants and includes the preparation, submission and review of proposals related to those according grants.
- Award: This stage is about making funding decisions and notifying awardees of their eligibility for such a grant.
- Post-award: This stage involves setting up accounts in the financial payment system and monitoring awardees for compliance with applicable laws, policies and guidelines, regulations as well as the submission of required reports.
- Closeout: The closeout stage consists of submission, review and approval of all final reports according to the specific program requirements, policies and regulations.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides R&D grants for small businesses that specialize in advanced communications, neutron research, artificial intelligence, bioscience, and nanotechnology.
Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants over $4 billion annually to small nonprofit organizations and even large state governments achieve their environmental objectives. In December 2021 for example, the EPA funded clean diesel projects across New England with $4.6 million. The underlying nationwide grant distributed $77 million for new ideas that target diesel emission reduction.
Department of Transportation
The Volpe Center, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) systems center, is a federal resource that accepts solicitations for financial aid. The organization seeks funding for proposals that deliver innovative systems for transportation.
Pandemic related government grants
In 2020 and 2021 small businesses suffered a lot from restrictions, lockdowns, supply chain interruptions, partial suspensions and other orders that lead to reduced or even wiped out revenue. The Small Business Administration has introduced grants via the IRS such as the Employment Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) that help businesses in hard-hit industries to survive. Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program loan, these grants do not have to be paid back.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
When lockdowns were put in place, virtually all event venues such as stadiums, concert halls, theaters and indoor performance spaces had to close their doors. As a consequence these small businesses faced existential crisis and a completely unexpected halt. But their their expenses did not stop. The Small Business Administration introduced the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program to assist these businesses survive in times of unprecedented crisis. Eligible small businesses include theaters, live venues, talent representatives, museums and live performing arts organizations. Eligible businesses that qualify receive grants up to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with a limitation of $10 million. The Small Business Administration has also reserved $2 billion in SVOG funding for businesses with a maximum of 50 employees. Even though the program has officially expired on Aug. 20, 2021, for prior participants may apply for complementary grants up to 50% of their original amount.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Just as so many other businesses immediately lost most of their revenue sources during pandemic-related lockdowns, so did restaurants. The Small Business Administration also pulled off a grant program for restaurants. Through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), qualifying restaurants can receive up to $10 million in Small Business Administration grant money. Although the program closed on May 24, 2021, the Small Business Administration is continuing to disburse funds to eligible applicants.
Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance
Unlike the SVOG, ERTC and RRF grants, the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance program applies to any business regardless in which sector. The distinguishing requirement is that the business must be located in a low-income community. If businesses can prove that the pandemic related crisis resulted in a substantial loss in revenue, they may qualify for EIDL grants of up to $10,000.
What Are The Requirements For The Small Business Grant Fund?
Crowdfunding for Small Businesses
Crowdfunding is a clever way for some sorts of companies to do fundraising from their peers online. There are four kinds of crowdfunding: financial obligation, benefits, equity, and charity. With incentivized crowdfunding, you do not need to pay the cash back; instead, you consent to provide your backers something in return for their contribution. With equity-based crowdfunding, somebody purchases your organization for a share of your business/product. Chances are that you will be charged a fee by the crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding for small company is another alternate resource of financing that is normally helpful for product launches. Sometimes, crowdfunding can act as a type of equity funding. To be successful with crowdfunding, you need to have a decent crowdfunding business plan ready. Remember, crowdfunding can take a long period of time. This might not be the appropriate choice for you if you need funds swiftly.
How To Become Eligible For Small Business Grants Funding
Is there a limit to small business grants?
There are hardly ever any type of restrictions on the number of grants for which you may apply. But each business can only apply once for a specific grant. In some cases, a program provides numerous grants each year. A lot of them enable business to send applications multiple times, however a couple of them do not. Check the grant details to discover these details.
Which Companies Are Eligible For The 50k Business Grant?
Repurposing retirement funds for entrepreneurial endeavors
Some could consider utilizing money from a retirement to be high risk. However, at times it can be a reliable means to buy your entrepreneurial undertakings and an increasing number of today's business owners have done very well with this funding approach. As laid out by the federal government's ERISA legislation, you can invest your existing IRA or 401(k) funds to the acquisition of a company without taking any sustaining or early distribution fines.
Fund Small Business Grant
Same day grant approval is the exception
Once you have written and submitted your grant proposal, the last point to do is stand by. Inspect the grant entry standards to see their approval/rejection process, as sometimes this will certainly give you a timeframe or a series of next steps for you to take. Some funders provide a monitoring number, so you can monitor the progression of your grant submission. When your proposition is pending and your proposal is authorized or turned down, you will generally be notified. If you are not able to identify submission standards or monitoring information, wait at the very least three to six months before reaching out to the grantor.
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