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Top Grants & Funding Opportunities for Small Businesses

In the world of entrepreneurship, securing funding is often the first hurdle for small businesses. Grants are a fantastic option as they provide capital without the need for repayment. However, the process of finding and applying for grants can be daunting. In this guide, we'll explore various types of grants available to small businesses, focusing particularly on the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).


Top Grants & Funding Opportunities for Small Businesses


Additionally, we'll provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply for SSBCI grants and highlight the top 20 government grants for small businesses.


Types of Grants for Small Businesses:


1. Federal Grants:

  • Where to Find: Federal grants are typically listed on government websites such as Grants.gov, which serves as a centralized database for grant opportunities across various federal agencies.

  • How to Apply: To apply for federal grants, businesses must register on Grants.gov and carefully review the eligibility criteria and application instructions provided for each grant opportunity. Applications are usually submitted electronically through the Grants.gov portal, and applicants may need to provide detailed project proposals, budgets, and other supporting documents.



2. State Grants:

  • Where to Find: State-specific grant opportunities can often be found on state government websites, economic deelopment agencies, or through local business assistance programs. Additionally, networking with local chambers of commerce or small business associations can provide valuable insights into available grants.

  • How to Apply: Businesses interested in state grants should contact the relevant state agency or administering authority to obtain application guidelines and forms. Application processes vary by state but typically involve submitting detailed proposals outlining the intended use of funds, project timelines, and expected outcomes.


3. Corporate Grants:

  • Where to Find: Information about corporate grant programs can usually be found on the websites of individual corporations, particularly in the corporate social responsibility or community engagement sections. Additionally, businesses can explore opportunities through industry associations, business networks, or by directly contacting corporate philanthropy departments.

  • How to Apply: Corporate grant application processes vary widely, with some corporations requiring online applications through dedicated portals and others accepting proposals via email or mail. Businesses should carefully review the eligibility criteria and application guidelines provided by each corporation and tailor their proposals to align with the company's funding priorities and objectives.


4. Nonprofit Grants:

  • Where to Find: Nonprofit grant opportunities may be listed on grant databases such as the Foundation Center or through the websites of specific nonprofit organizations. Networking with other businesses or nonprofit leaders in the community can also uncover potential grant opportunities.

  • How to Apply: Nonprofit grant application processes typically involve submitting a grant proposal outlining the organization's mission, programs, and funding needs. Businesses should thoroughly research each nonprofit's grantmaking priorities and tailor their proposals to demonstrate alignment with the organization's goals and objectives.

5. Research Grants:

  • Where to Find: Research grant opportunities can be found through government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or Department of Energy (DOE), as well as through academic institutions, industry associations, and private foundations.


  • How to Apply: Research grant application processes often require businesses to submit detailed research proposals, including project objectives, methodology, budget estimates, and potential impact. Applicants may also need to demonstrate expertise in the relevant field and provide evidence of institutional support or collaboration.



How to Apply for State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Grants:

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) was established to support small businesses by providing access to capital.


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to apply for SSBCI grants:


Step 1: Research Eligibility Criteria Before applying for SSBCI grants, carefully review the eligibility criteria outlined by your state's administering authority. Eligibility requirements may vary by state but commonly include factors such as business size, industry, and location.


Step 2: Prepare Required Documents Gather all necessary documents, including business plans, financial statements, tax returns, and any other information requested in the application guidelines. Be sure to double-check the requirements to ensure you're providing accurate and complete documentation.


Step 3: Contact Your State SSBCI Administrator Reach out to the designated SSBCI administrator in your state to inquire about available grants and the application process. They can provide guidance on which grant programs align with your business's needs and assist you in navigating the application process.


Step 4: Complete the Application Form Fill out the SSBCI grant application form thoroughly and accurately. Pay close attention to instructions and provide detailed responses to all questions. Be prepared to articulate how your business will utilize the grant funds and the anticipated impact on your operations.


Step 5: Submit Your Application Once you've completed the application form and assembled all required documents, submit your application to the SSBCI administrator by the specified deadline. Make sure to retain copies of all submitted materials for your records.


Step 6: Follow Up After submitting your application, follow up with the SSBCI administrator to confirm receipt and inquire about the timeline for review and funding decisions. Be proactive in addressing any additional information or documentation requested during the evaluation process.


Top 20 Government Grants for Small Businesses:

  1. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

  2. Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program

  3. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

  4. Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG)

  5. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Grants

  6. Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

  7. Veteran-Owned Small Business Grants

  8. Native American Business Development Grants

  9. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants

  10. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants

  11. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants

  12. National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants

  13. Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

  14. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Grants

  15. Department of Transportation (DOT) Grants

  16. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Grants

  17. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grants

  18. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Grants

  19. Department of Education Grants

  20. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Grants

Global Funding Opportunities and Gransts for Small Businesses


Amazon App Store Small Business Accelerator The Small Business Accelerator Program by Amazon App Store offers developers earning less than 1 million USD annually additional benefits equivalent to 20% of Appstore revenue. Eligible participants receive a 10% increase in royalty payments and AWS credits equal to 10% of their app revenue.


Antler Global Startup Program Antler is a global early-stage VC offering multiple programs for startups worldwide. Visit their website for program details and application dates.


Awesome Foundation The Awesome Foundation distributes $1,000 grants monthly to projects and creators globally, with no strings attached. Funds are pooled from micro-trustees in autonomous chapters.


AWS Startup Loft Accelerator The AWS Startup Loft Accelerator provides technical teams with resources, guidance, and community support, including $25,000 in AWS credits. Sessions cover various topics like recruiting, managing teams, and cloud architecture.


Canva Pro For Nonprofits Nonprofits can access Canva's premium features for free through the Canva Pro For Nonprofits program.


Emergent Ventures Grant/Fellowship Application Through the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Emergent Ventures supports entrepreneurs with scalable ideas for societal improvement, offering fellowships or grants. Fellowships include residence at the Mercatus Center, while grants provide one-time payments.


Entrepreneurship World Cup The Entrepreneurship World Cup offers over $1 million in cash prizes, mentorship, and global exposure to top entrepreneurs. Deadline for applications is 7/31/2024.


Etsy Disaster Relief Fund Etsy offers $2,500 grants to active sellers affected by federally declared natural disasters within the past year through the Etsy Disaster Relief Fund.


F6S List of Accelerators and Pitch Competitions F6S provides a comprehensive list of accelerators, contests, and pitch competitions worldwide.


48 in 48 - Website Build Event 48in48 provides free websites to nonprofits, with their next event focusing on social justice nonprofits in June 2024. Nonprofits with less than $3MM in revenue are eligible to apply.


Global Good Fund Fellowship The Global Good Fund Fellowship is a 12-month program supporting social enterprise leaders worldwide with mentoring, sector expertise, and $10,000 funding. Applications open in May 2024.


GrowNY The Grow-NY business competition offers funding, mentorship, and support to food and ag startups globally. Up to $1 million in prizes is available, with a deadline of 5/15/2024 for applications.


Pollination Project The Pollination Project provides grants to global nonprofits with an annual budget under $50,000 and project costs under $40,000.


Roddenberry Catalyst Fund The Catalyst Fund offers grants up to $15,000 to nonprofits and social enterprises for high-impact projects. Eligible candidates include individuals, teams, nonprofits, or social enterprises.


Savvy Fellowship Savvy Fellowship is a 12-week virtual program for young professionals aiming to become impact entrepreneurs. Applicants must be 40 or younger.


SheTrades Accelerator The SheTrades Accelerator Programme supports women entrepreneurs and business support organizations in the Apparel, Accessories, and Home Décor sectors across several countries.


Techstars Accelerators Techstars Accelerators provide entrepreneurs in North American time zones with mentorship, network access, and $20,000 for 6% equity. Various locations and due dates are available.


TiE Global Program for Women The TiE Women Program 2024 offers $50,000 funding for women entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. Deadline for applications is 6/15/2024.


Watson Institute Flagship Fellowship The Watson Institute Flagship Fellowship offers fully-funded Venture Accelerator programs for next-generation entrepreneurs, including virtual and in-person components. Fellows receive $6,000 funding.


We Make Change We Make Change matches small businesses, mainly nonprofits, with volunteers for free, helping impact startups build remote volunteer teams.


Funding Opportunities Within the U.S. Only

Amazon's Black Business Accelerator The Black Business Accelerator by Amazon is dedicated to supporting Black entrepreneurs in the United States. Participants receive financial support, strategic guidance, mentorship, and marketing assistance to foster sustainable growth.


American Dream Grant The American Dream Awards celebrate US small businesses embodying the modern American Dream. Recipients receive $1,000, business acceleration support, media exposure, and more. Application deadline is 4/30/2023.


Angel City Football Club’s Player 22 Small Business Grant Program Angel City FC, in partnership with IFundWomen, offers entrepreneurs the chance to win a $10k grant and one year of business coaching through the Player 22 Small Business Grant Program. Apply by 4/8/2024.


Backing Small Business Grant (with AmEx) The Backing Small Businesses grant program, in collaboration with American Express, offers $10,000 grants to economically vulnerable small businesses in the US. Apply by 4/7/2024.


Bank of America Access to Capital Connector Bank of America's Access to Capital Connector helps US small business owners find loans and provides coaching for running resilient businesses.


Bank of America's Business Education Center for Entrepreneurs Visit Bank of America's Small Business Education site for free webinars on accessing capital, building credit, and more.


Bank of America Supplier Diversity Small & Diverse Business Scholarship Program The Supplier Diversity Small & Diverse Business Scholarship Program by Bank of America offers $10,000 scholarships to diverse business owners for executive business management programs. Applications open 4/8/24 - 5/23/24.


Dannon Light + Fit and Female Founder Collective (FFC) Grant Program The Dannon Light + Fit and FFC Grant Program supports women entrepreneurs with $10,000 grants, expert advisor sessions, and FFC memberships. Apply by 4/4/2024.


Enthuse Foundation Women Owned Business Grants The Enthuse Foundation offers various grants, including $2,500 grants to women entrepreneurs in the US. Apply by 4/8/2024.


Fast Break for Small Business (LegalZoom) Fast Break for Small Business by LegalZoom, NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League offers $10,000 grants to historically underserved small business owners in the US. Apply by 9/13/2024.


FedEx Small Business Grant Contest The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest offers $20,000-$50,000 grants and FedEx service credits. Apply by 4/1/2024.


Genius NY Accelerator The Genius NY Accelerator invests $3M annually into seed-stage startups focused on various technologies. Winners receive investments up to $1,000,000, along with other support. Apply by 5/15/2024.


GrowNY The Grow-NY business competition offers funding, mentorship, and support to food and ag startups in the US. Apply by 5/15/2024.


Halstead Grant The Halstead Grant provides emerging silver jewelry artists with $7,500 grants. Apply by 5/1/2024.


HerRise Micro-Grant HerRise offers monthly $500 micro-grants to US-based for-profit businesses owned by women of color. Apply through HerSuiteSpot with a $10 fee.


Idea Cafe Small Business Grant The Idea Cafe Small Business Grant offers $1,000 grants to US women entrepreneurs. Applicants must be current or aspiring business owners.


IMPACT grants IMPACT grants support US and Canada-based organizations making significant impacts within their communities. Grants amount to $1,000.


Jobber Grants For Home Service Businesses Jobber offers $10,000 grants to US and Canada-based home service business owners. Apply by 6/12/2024.


Josephine Collective Josephine Collective invests $10,000 to $100,000 in early-stage tech-enabled US businesses. Apply through Join Josephine.


Juntos Crecemos Hispanic Digital & Delivery Program (PepsiCo) PepsiCo offers Latina food service entrepreneurs personalized consultations through the Juntos Crecemos Program.


Kitty Fund - Helping Mompreneurs The Kitty Fund offers $500 grants to US-based mother-owned businesses. Applications open in March 2024.


Military Entrepreneur Challenge The Military Entrepreneur Challenge offers US veteran, military spouse, and Gold Star Family entrepreneurs the chance to compete for capital.


Minority Business Circle The Minority Business Circle offers support and opportunities, including grants and loans, to diverse entrepreneurs in the US.


Mutual of America Foundation Community Partnership Award The Mutual of America Foundation offers up to $100,000 to outstanding US nonprofit organizations fostering community partnerships. Apply by 7/1/2024.


Novae Grants Database Novae Grants Database offers funding opportunities for US small businesses, with a focus on those with 6-100 employees.


ProLiteracy grant ProLiteracy offers $6,000 grants to US-based nonprofit organizations focusing on adult literacy. Apply by 4/1/2024.


SPARK Tank Pitch Competition The SPARK Tank Pitch Competition offers US entrepreneurs the chance to win $5,000 grants. Apply by 4/5/2024.


SPUR (Shared Purpose, Unlimited Reach) Pathways SPUR Pathways by Macy’s and Momentus offers US entrepreneurs access to various capital options.


Start Small Think Big Start Small Think Big provides free support and resources to US small businesses, including personalized assistance and webinars.


Truist NonProfit Grant Truist Foundation offers grants to US nonprofits focusing on leadership development, economic mobility, and educational equity.


Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Resources and Grants Verizon offers $10,000 grants to small businesses in Houston, Miami, Phoenix, and Los Angeles areas. Apply by 4/8/2024.


Veterans Business Outreach Center The Veterans Business Outreach Center offers resources, workshops, and mentorship to US veterans interested in starting or growing a small business.


Warrior Rising Grant Warrior Rising offers $20,000 grants to US veterans at any stage of business development.


Whole Foods Local and Emerging Accelerator Program Whole Foods offers US entrepreneurs mentorship, educational programs, and potential shelf placement through its Local and Emerging Accelerator Program.


Wish Local Empowerment Program Wish Local offers grants up to $2,000 to Black-owned US businesses with fewer than 20 employees.


Women and Minority Business Owner Down Payment Grant (Bank of America) Bank of America offers up to $25,000 grants to women and minority business owners in select opportunity zones.


YippityDoo Big Idea Grant YippityDoo offers $1,000 grants to US women entrepreneurs. There is a $15 application fee.


ZenBusiness Free LLC Formation for Moms ZenBusiness offers free LLC formation services to US mothers interested in entrepreneurship.


ZenBusiness Small Business Grants ZenBusiness offers $5,000 grants to US small businesses that have used their formation services. Apply by 12/31/2024.


Conclusion: Navigating the world of small business grants requires careful research, preparation, and persistence. By understanding the different types of grants available and following a structured application process, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of securing much-needed funding. The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and the top 20 government grants highlighted in this guide represent valuable opportunities for small businesses looking to grow and thrive in today's competitive landscape.


 

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