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Finance and Small Business: Your Guide to Grants

By Minara El-Rahman on January 22, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We have written about how bleak the economy looks for finance and small business. While there are definitely some dark clouds hovering over small business loan opportunities, there are some bright spots in terms of small business grants. Small business grants afford you the opportunity to grow your business with funding that you don't have to pay back. It is typically given by the federal government, state governments, and by private corporations.

So what exactly do you need to do in order to make sure that your small business can get a grant? Keep reading for places to look for grants and for tips on how to land a grant that could help your small business.

Is Your Small Business a Tech Company?

According to CNN, you have a chance of winning a grant from either the federal government's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The total amount they award per year is more than $2 billion dollars. One of those businesses that they award that money to could be your small business. Just keep in mind that you need to meet their prerequisites. It could be worth it to tailor a program in your small business in order to have a chance at the funding you need.

Think Clean and Green

More and more small businesses are finding free money with clean renewable energy projects. We wrote about how there are immense grant opportunities if your small business is involved in biomass, solar, wind and other renewable energy production initiatives previously in Free Enterprise.

Make sure to check out the U.S. Department of Energy website for more opportunities. 

Think Not-for-Profit

A lot of not-for-profit corporations are able to receive grant money because they are
people active in education, health, and community services. There are two more added benefits for non-profits. They are tax-exempt and they have liability protection. Some of the small businesses that can possibly apply for this status are: childcare centers, shelters for the homeless, community healthcare clinics, museums, performing arts groups and conservation groups. Check out opportunities at the Foundation Center.

If you are not currently a non-profit, you can get creative by doing a non-profit spinoff. We wrote about how small businesses are doing green spinoffs in Free Enterprise. In our post, we wrote about how nonprofits spun off for-profit green initiatives. You can get creative and perhaps spin off a non-profit green initiative. It could give you a double whammy effect in your grants search.  

Know Where To Look

Make sure you look into your local government's grant opportunities. You might be eligible for a grant that you never even knew existed. For example, if you are a minority owned, woman-owned, or even veteran-owned small business, you could be eligible for more small business grants.

Sign up at for federal grants opportunities. While you can not personally qualify for the grant money, you can direct your local government agency on how to apply for federal grant money that could help your small business in the long run.

While this is just a small list of ways to tap into grant money for your small business, we do hope that it gives you a step in the right direction for your small business.

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