Small Business Administration Grants
The US Small Business Administration is a federal government agency that provides support for small businesses with the goal of strengthening the nations economy. The SBA has Small Business Development Centers across the country and offers a wide variety of federal grants, loans, and other programs helping to connect small business owners with funding from federal, state, and local governments.
The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan offers relief in the form of federal grants for businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, such as restaurants, concert venues, and other businesses.
Grants For Specific Groups
While business lenders cant choose to give money only to certain groupslike women, veterans, or minoritiesgrant programs can. So if youre in one of those groups, look for grants targeted at you.
If youre a female business owner, you can check out our roundup of the best small-business grants for women. Some opportunities are open to all female entrepreneurs, while others get more specific.
If youre a minority business owner, there are grants just for you. We have a list of the best business grants for minorities to get you started.
And if you served in the US military, you might be able to qualify for grants for veterans.
Grants Loans And Programs To Benefit Your Small Business
When you know where to look, help for your small business is there for the taking.
There are many grant programs available to small businesses, depending on a variety of qualifying factors.
Times are tough for small business, but help is available, from both the governmentfederal, state or localand the private sector. It may be in the form of a grant, a loan or a leg up competing in a difficult business environment. Heres a breakdown to help you sort through whats available.
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Read The Eligibility Requirements Carefully
It sounds obvious, but its not hard to overlook aspects of grant eligibility requirements and end up putting a ton of effort into applying for a grant youre ineligible for. Read the requirements carefully and evaluate whether you qualify for the grant. If youre unsure whether you qualify, contact someone from the organization and ask.
Canexport Grants For Business Expansion
The CanExport funding program provides Canadian government grants to support export expansion marketing projects including participation in trade shows and government-led trade missions. By accessing CanExport funding for exporting activities, Manitoba businesses can de-risk export market evaluation and development, and ultimately accelerate their international growth.
Amount: Manitoba businesses may access up to 75% of costs through grant funding for export marketing projects to a maximum $75,000 per application.
Eligibility: 1+ years incorporated with taxes filed, 1-500 FTE employees, and $100k-$100M in annual revenue. Budget must be > $20,000 for one market where less than $20,000 or 10% of international sales have been generated in the past 24 months.
Timeline: Continuous intake of applications. Apply at least six weeks ahead of incurring eligible project expenses. Up to two applications can be submitted per government fiscal year, but only one project can be open at a time.
Types of Projects: Business expansion marketing projects including trade shows, marketing material translation, and market research.
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Strategic Innovation Fund Grants/repayable Funding
The Strategic Innovation Fund is a Canadian government funding program that can provide support for technology development projects for Manitoba businesses. It promotes large-scale investments in Canada, while also encouraging technology transfer and development and/or commercialization of disruptive products and services.
Amount: SIF funding can offset eligible project costs by up to 50% to a minimum $10 million in grants and/or a combination of loans to help Manitoba businesses improve productivity and innovation.
Eligibility: Incorporated Canadian businesses with high growth potential and the ability to drive innovation. Must leverage significant private sector co-investments.
Timeline: Streams 1-3 and 5 offer continuous intake and stream 4 has annual intake dates. Projects can go beyond 5 years.
Types of Projects: Research, development, commercialization of innovative technologies.
What Are Small Business Grants
A small business grant is a predetermined sum of money that government agencies and/or private entities give to small businesses. It can loosely be called free money. Its important to note, however, that nothing in life is truly free. Small business grants are filled with caveats that specify how the money should be spent. Additionally, a lot of work goes into creating grant proposals and meeting the requirements for winning the grant.
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Good For: Community Businesses
The Caleb Brown Venture Capital and Consulting Project hosts a $1,000 grant aimed at promoting and nurturing young urban entrepreneurs with vision who plan to rebuild local blocks, neighborhoods, and communities by providing training and jobs to the next generation. The grant is open to startups and young businesses in urban areas. This contest is run every monthsubmit your application by the 15th to enter.
Government Funding For Western Canadian Businesses
The Western Canada and Manitoba small business grants and loans listed on this blog may offer support for your organizations upcoming projects. To discuss your eligibility and receive application assistance during the process, please contact Mentor Works.
Strong business development is one of the most important strategies a company can plan for and perform. Canadian government funding supports businesses by helping them meet their targets and project goals towards economic growth and innovation.
Interested to learn more about the different types of funding available to Canadian businesses? Different types of funding options such as grants, loans, tax credits, incentives, and vouchers are all available and each have their own advantages and limitations. Download our Types of Government Funding Slide Deck to learn more.
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Government Grant: Small Business Innovation Research Program
Although unrelated to the stimulus package for small businesses, companies engaged in scientific research can seek funding through the Small Business Innovation Research Program .
SBIR is targeted at businesses with products in the research and development stage that show promising potential for commercialization.
Like the SBIR, the Small Business Technology Transfer Program requires businesses to partner with an accredited research institution to provide them with technical assistance.
Both the SBIR and STTR are highly competitive awards-based programs that help businesses in technological innovation.
What Is A Small Business Grant
A small business grant is a sum of money awarded to a small business owner or organization. Several entities, including the federal government, state and local governments and private corporations provide funds for small businesses in specific industries that meet certain eligibility requirements.
Unlike a business credit card or loan, small business grants dont require repayment. Although grants are considered free money, an organization or individual typically has to spend a lot of time and effort researching available grants and writing grant proposals.
In addition, some small business grants come with specific guidelines on how you can use the funds. Failing to adhere to the rules may result in repaying some or all of the money you receive.
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Small Business Development Centers
Once youve exhausted your searches for grants from federal agencies, the next stop on your list should be local and state business grants. You may be able to hit paydirt and find some of these on your own, but theres a free, local resource that may help.
Small Business Development Centers are a business owners best friend. Local, regional, state, and national offices mentor small business owners and help them understand business financing options, craft marketing strategies, and connect to other local small business owners .
One thing they can help with, for example, is creating a business plan that can help you create an exciting vision for your company, and a compelling pitch on how youll use the grant money. They may also be able to help you navigate federal small business grants.
One thing they can help with is navigating the grant process. Very few people have as much visibility as SBDC advisors do on the local business grant scene. Its the one appointment you cant afford not to make when searching for small business grants.
Documents Required For Business Grant
Small business grants usually have similar requirements and application processes as loans.
These requirements include:
- Basic business information: Length of time in business, average or monthly income, and number of employees
- Elevator pitch: What the business is about and how the funds will be used
- Business plan: How you plan to succeed
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Federal Small Business Grants
The federal government awards billions of dollars in funds each year to small businesses that engage in work that benefit the public, such as infrastructure and scientific research projects. You can find federal small business grants by visiting Grants.gov.
- SBIR and STTR Programs: These programs offer federal funds to small businesses that engage in scientific and technological research and development that has the potential to be commercialized. To qualify, a business must operate for a profit and have no more than 500 employees.
- U.S. Department of Energy Grants: The DOE announced on Oct. 18, 2021 it set aside $105 million for small businesses that invest in clean energy research and development. Funding will be administered by DOEs Small Business Technology Transfer and Small Business Innovation Research programs . You can find more details on the DOEs funding opportunities page.
- National Institute of Health Grants: The NIH offers numerous grants to small businesses that engage in biomedical and behavioral research. There are thousands of grants available on its grants and funding page.
When searching for federal small business grants, keep in mind that the federal government doesnt offer free money to individuals to start a business. If a website promises to give you free money from the government, its likely a scam.
Dairy Processing Investment Fund
The Dairy Processing Investment Fund is a five year Canadian government grant program supporting dairy processors who invest in areas that improve productivity and competitiveness. This funding support includes equipment and infrastructure needed to compete on a global level.
Amount: Up to 50% of costs to a maximum of $10 million for capital expenditure projects and up to $250,000 per application for access to expertise.
Timeline: Continuous intake of funding applications until March 31, 2021 or until funds have been fully allocated.
Eligibility: Canadian dairy processors, including cheese makers. Non-profits/co-operatives can apply if involved in the dairy processing sector.
Types of Projects: Capital technology adoption and/or technology adaption to make use of surplus skim milk or improve a facilitys capacity to use milk/components by 1.6% above market forecast growth.
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Capital Investors For Small Businesses
Capital investors refer to both angel investors and venture capital funds. Accredited investors can help provide funding for your business startup in return for equity ownership or convertible debt .
The biggest benefit to capital investors is that they can provide you with large sums of money in a relatively short amount of time. At times, they can also provide valuable mentorship as you work to grow your own business.
Government Sources For Small Business Grants
There are a wide variety of grants from the government from both the federal and state level.
Grants.gov: The first place all small businesses should go to look for a federal grant. Its a database of thousands of grants with powerful filters that will help you quickly narrow down the results to grants that you have a good chance of getting.
Small Business Administration Grants: The SBA mainly helps small businesses find conventional means of funding .
But they also have a few grant programs, targeted specifically at businesses involved with research or exporting.
Here are the primary grants they sponsor:
SAM.gov Grants : This is another great federal grant database with a modern re-design. While there is some overlap with Grants.gov, youll find a few unique ones as well that makes it worth your time to check. You can use the advanced search filters to only see grant results, or also see other funding sources like loans.
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Look For Grants Within Your Industry
A lot of small business grants are industry specific, so it can help narrow down your search if you focus on organizations and research institutions within your particular industry. Focusing on one industry also builds buzz around your business, and can help build connections with industry figures who may be able to offer guidance and investment opportunities.
Quick Tips For Getting More Grants
There are a lot of simple things you can do to improve your chances of winning grants. Most are easy to understand, but you need to make sure you keep them in mind.
Heres how to get more grants:
- Always look for new grant opportunities .
- Make sure the time spent to apply for a grant is actually worth the grant amount.
- Read over the individual application instructions to each grant. Some are similar, but few are the exact same.
- Double-check that you are eligible before spending a lot of time on an application.
- Provide specific numbers on how the grant will be used and how it will help.
- Double-check your spelling and grammar.
- Submitting your application early may make you look more prepared than late-submitters.
- Back up claims with credible citations.
- Be realistic when mentioning your business costs or revenue.
- Find a book from your library on grant writing if you want to write better grant proposals.
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Where To Find Startup Grants
Now that you know how to get a startup business grant, how do you actually find one you want?
Mostly, youre going to have to put in some time and effort to look.
As we said earlier, we suggest looking locally if possible. Ask around at local small business development centers, business expos, and other places.
But yes, you can look online too. Thats how we found some of our favorite grants for startup businesses.
Exploring Small Business Grants
The stimulus package for small businesses also includes provisions for small business grants.
Grants are funds given by either private or public entities for a specific purpose. The grant money could be used for research and development or to prepare your business for expansion or start-up.
There are three types of business grants:
- Government grants: State and federal grants are used to fund a worthwhile project. Because the money comes from tax dollars, government grant applications are usually rigorous. Business grants are rare, as the government usually prioritizes projects that deal with economic development, education, science, technology, or cultural affairs.
- Corporate grants: Corporate grants come from private companies. Requirements are less rigorous, but competition is tough.
- Foundational grants. These are private grants from charitable organizations.
If you are unable to get funding through the stimulus package for a small business, you may have better luck obtaining a corporate or foundational grant.
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Can You Get A Small Business Loan With Bad Credit
As with personal loans, its possible to get a small business loan with bad creditscores as low as 580. However, youll have to demonstrate strong cash flow, and banks are more likely to require collateral to reduce the risk of lending. Small business borrowers with bad credit also qualify for less competitive rates and pay more in interest over the life of the loan. If you have a low credit scoreunder 580an alternative option like invoice factoring may be your best bet.
State Trade Expansion Program
The STEP is a collection of government grants, and other support the Small Business Administration can offer assistance with obtaining or understanding STEP. This program focuses specifically on helping small businesses with export development. Grants are awarded to state entities. Small businesses can then apply to programs offered by these entities so that they can benefit from export development opportunities. Feel free to send an email to to better understand how your business can benefit.
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Resources For Economic Support
Review your financials and cash flow. How long can you make it through in case of a quarantine, lost wages, employee absenteeism . What do you need to bridge the gap? Plan on a 6-8 month drop in revenues. Map out cash flow now.
Get a credit line approved now. You don’t have to use it. But you’ll have it when you need it.
Aggressively pursue accounts receivables. Engage your lenders .
Slash your overhead. If you’re worried about losing customers or employees due to sickness, school closures or possible quarantines, cut the things you don’t HAVE to spend your money on.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate and Get Online! Keep staff and customers informed and up-to-date on your operations. It’s important for businesses to keep in touch with customers to help maintain them through this incident. Let them know what steps you are taking to ensure a safe and clean establishment what your open hours are and how to communicate with you use email auto-reply with answers to frequently asked questions to help your customers get information quickly offer alternative methods of good deliveries .
Use online platforms, like Facebook and your website, to inform customers of your operating status and how to purchase your products or services. Communicate this information through direct email to customers and through social media such as Twitter. Make sure you have a . Postal mail might be a way for your message to get customers’ attention who are being bombarded with emails.