Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Where to Find Grants for your Small Business

small business grants
Finding small business grants doesn't have to be complicated.
Here are some resources dedicated to funding
small businesses.

They say you have to spend money to make money - but when you're a small business owner, every penny counts. That's where small business grants come in.

Unlike loans, grants are basically free money that federal, state or private provide to give your business a boost. Grants can go toward buying new equipment for your business, expanding your workforce, developing new techniques for your trade, and more. The only catch is that finding small business grants can be an arduous task. The competition for grants is fierce, and finding just one can take hours of researching and writing application after application. If you don't even know where to start looking, finding small business grants can seem impossible.

But if you're willing to put in a little work, the money is out there. Below, we've singled out some of the most helpful websites for finding small business grants.

Federal This site is a thorough,  if overwhelming, database of all grants supported through various government agencies. You can learn more about eligibility requirements and the grant process when you click on "Applicants". When you're ready to sift through the available grants, click "Search Grants". This website is a more specialized database where various government agencies offer grant money to companies that can produce solutions to issues such as energy efficiency, environmental pollution, and green building. Depending on your sector, these grants can be highly relevant.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: This federal program is not technically a grant, but can bring in big money to your business. This program sets aside certain contracts for businesses where service-disabled veterans make up at least 51% of leadership. You have to register your business to be eligible for these special contract bids, but the application can be done online.

State The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) typically does not award grants themselves, but their local Small Business Development Centers can find help you find local grant opportunities. You can find your nearest Small Business Development Center on their website; be sure to check if there are multiple centers in your state because the funding can vary from center to center.

Rural Business Development Grant: This grant provided through the USDA supports expansion of small businesses in rural areas. Awardees can receive up to $500,000. Extra consideration is given to businesses that show job creation and community development in the local area.

State Business Incentives Database: This website compiles a list of incentives for small businesses such as tax credits and tax exemptions as well as grants.

Private/Industry Specific
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant: The women's clothing retailer divides $100,000 a year to 10 businesses where women make up at least 51% of your business' leadership. Extra consideration seems to be given to women in sectors not typically dominated by women leadership- good news for female-led contracting companies!

StreetShares Veteran Small Business Award: StreetShares, a company providing loans and other resources to veteran-owned businesses, offers a yearly grant to three lucky winners. Consideration is given to businesses that have a positive impact on the American military veteran community. If your company employs a lot of veterans, give this one a shot.

FedEx Small Business Grant: Winners of this grant typically receive between $5,000 and $25,000. Any small business operating for at least a year can enter; the website updates with the application form when the contest re-opens, which is usually in May.

NASE Small Business Grant: The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) awards $4,000 to one lucky business every year. Although you have to be a member of NASE to apply, there eligibility requirements are quite simple.

These are just a few of the financial resources available to small businesses. If you're a small business owner, be sure to check out our best classes for business development.

To learn more about other small business training options, visit Zack Academy's Business Practices Training & Courses homepage.

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