Small Business Grants

Yes, there are, indeed, small business grants available. From the Small Business Administration (SBA) to nonprofits, these grants provide much needed funds.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides essential information for the small business owner/operator. It is important to note, however, that the U.S. Federal Government does not provide start-up or expansion funds. Perhaps one of the most crucial questions to answer as it relates to a small business is this: Is the business actually a small business? The question may sound crazy, but if a small business wants to register as a government contractor, then the distinction becomes crucial. Once registered with the government as a small business, that business must adhere to all industry size standards established by the SBA.

What, then, is the definition of a small business? The SBA defines a “small business” “either in terms of its average number of employees over the past 12 months” or “average number of receipts over the past three years.” Additional criteria: organized as a for-profit; has a place of business in the U.S.; operates primarily in the U.S. or makes significant economic contribution within the U.S. through the payment of taxes, or “use of American products, materials, or labor;” independently owned and operated; and is “not dominant in its field on a national basis.” Industry size standards are determined by the SBA, and all federal agencies must adhere to them. Once a small business registers as a government contractor, the business must meet the size standard for that industry type.

While all this might sound incredibly daunting…it mainly concerns the federal government. The SBA does provide grants to specific small business through two of its programs: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). However, while the SBA encourages small business to conduct research and development, the following criteria apply: “must meet federal R&D objectives and have high potential for commercialization, if successful.” Numerous federal agencies award these grants: each has specific programs and eligibility requirements.

State governments offer small business grants as well, and should be thoroughly investigated as potential grant sources. Keep in mind, though, that much of this funding comes via the federal government whereby states re-direct it to other sources such as local governments or qualified non-profits.

Perhaps, one of the most important documents, outside of the grant application itself, is to invest the time, and if need be, the money into developing a comprehensive business plan. The plan defines the business, identifies the target population, and marketing strategies. It will provide current financials, and make financial projections for the future. A well-written business plan an easily translate into an excellent grant application.

If the business is minority-or-woman-owned then more for small businesses grants exist. Extensive research is needed to identify possible granting agencies. These agencies may be at the state, county or city levels, or non-profits. If the small business satisfies the requirements as outlined by the granting agency then submit a well-written, cogent grant.

Comments are closed.