From the National Federation of Independent Business
If you’re looking for capital to help start or grow your business, your first thought may have been a small business loan. However, grants are another way to secure cash for your company. Consider these grant opportunities as you’re planning for the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
This website is a comprehensive database of grants issued by government agencies, so it can be a bit overwhelming. To focus on relevant grants for you, click the “Search Grants” tab at the top of the page, click “Grant” under “Funding Instrument Type,” and click “Small businesses” under “Eligibility.” You can then further narrow down by category or agency if you wish. You can also search by keyword, such as the products or services your company provides. All grants fitting these criteria will show up under the matching results, with deadlines listed along the righthand side.
SBIR, STTR, and FAST
These federal grant programs are focused on research and development and technological innovation. The Small Business Innovation Research program rewards small businesses for conducting federal research and development that has commercial potential. The Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR) funds technology research and development and requires small businesses to partner with research institutions. The Federal and State Technology Partnership Program encourages small technology firms to participate in the innovation and commercialization of new technology. Find application instructions here.
Challenge.gov is a hub for prize and challenge competitions administered by more than 100 federal government agencies. Challenge types include software/apps, ideas, designs, scientific/engineering, and multimedia; the deadlines vary by challenge. You can visit the site to browse the opportunities, and check out Challenge’s website to get started.
REGIONAL, STATE OR LOCAL
Economic Development Administration
Each region has an EDA office, which is focused on strategic investments that foster job creation and attract private investment. Contact your local EDA, which can direct you to state or regional grant opportunities.
Small Business Development Centers
Your state’s SBDC also helps entrepreneurs and small business owners with a variety of services, including assistance with accessing capital, whether by grants or loans. Visit the SBA’s website to find the contact information for your state’s center.
CORPORATE OR NONPROFIT
FedEx Small Business Grant
In this annual grant competition, small businesses compete to earn grants of up to $25,000 and up to $7,500 in FedEx office supplies. Ten small businesses are awarded each year, and the entry period is usually late winter or spring.
Lending Tree’s one annual $50,000 grant goes to a small business that is having trouble scaling their company. The 2018 deadline hasn’t been announced yet.
Miller Lite Tap the Future
This annual, live pitch competition is designed to empower and support entrepreneurs. Twenty-five semifinalists will be selected by a team of business experts, and they pitch their business idea before judges in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York. One finalist will be chosen from each city’s live pitch event to present before a national panel of judges. The five semifinalists earn $20,000 awards, and the grand prize winner will be awarded a $100,000 prize. While the 2018 deadlines haven’t been announced yet, the 2017 online application period ran from Feb. 9 to April 14.
National Association for the Self-Employed
NASE offers grants of up to $4,000 to small business owners who are looking to finance a specific need, such as purchasing computers, farm equipment, or marketing materials; creating a website; or hiring part-time help. You must be a member to apply, the cost of which is $120 per year or $11.95 per month. There are rolling deadlines to apply, as grant applications are reviewed quarterly.
Check out the NFIB’s full website by clicking here.