4 Federal Grant Options for Small Businesses and Start-ups

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Ask any entrepreneur, and they’ll tell you that money is a top concern for their small business. Profits are essential, but grants specifically for small businesses can also be a gamechanger for their long-term success.

Grants – monetary awards designated for a specific purpose – help small businesses in more ways than one. They can bring in more cash flow, offer visibility and credibility, and make businesses more likely to receive other forms of funding. For U.S.-based companies, there are several small business grant options, starting with the government.

Does the government provide small business grants?

Yes! The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) aids in starting, growing, and building resilient businesses. The SBA’s mission is to help small businesses, preserve free competitive enterprise, and strengthen the country’s economy. It offers grants and many other types of financial assistance to fledgling businesses and start-ups.

4 examples of federal grants for small businesses

1. The SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is a small business grant that provides financial awards to state and territory governments to assist small businesses with export development. More specifically, STEP’s grants help small businesses cover the costs of entering and expanding into international markets. The program has awarded more than $200 million since its inception in 2011.

2. For veteran-owned small businesses, there is the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneur Training Program (VFPETP) which provides both procurement opportunity training for start-up small businesses and procurement training for established small firms. Further, there is the Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program (WVETP), which is a funding opportunity providing entrepreneurial training programs for women who are veterans, service members, and spouses of veterans and service members.

3. The Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program is a one-year funding opportunity for organizations to execute state and regional programs that:

  • Increase the number of innovations and research and development proposals
  • Increase the number of awards
  • Better prepare awardees for commercial success The FAST partnership program also works to support entrepreneurs and startups through programs that improve proposal development and team creation.

4. Finally, the Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME) is an annual, competitive grant program providing funding for microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) run either privately, by state/local governments, or Native American tribes. PRIME’s grants aim to support disadvantaged microentrepreneurs with training, technical assistance, and guidance.

SBA grants are great opportunities for the growth of your business. But before you apply, make sure you meet the specific requirements and complete any legal prerequisites outlined in the application. For more information about these and other grants, the SBA website lays out various programs, grants, and terms of eligibility.