The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal government agency that provides support for small businesses with the goal of strengthening the nation’s economy. The SBA has Small Business Development Centers across the country and offers a wide variety of federal grants, loans, and other programs helping to connect small business owners with funding from federal, state, and local governments. Following the enactment of COVID-19 emergency legislation, the SBA has now provided more than 3.7 million small businesses employing more than 20 million people with $200 billion in small business loans through the unprecedented COVID-19 EIDL loan program
Government Grant Options; Small Business Administration (SBA) Grants:
The COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) offers relief in the form of federal grants for businesses that have been affected by the pandemic, such as restaurants, concert venues, and other businesses.
The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) offers federal small business grants throughout the US meant to assist existing businesses in expanding globally, offering funds for foreign-market trade shows and expansion opportunities.
The SBA offers several veteran assistance programs that provide funding for veteran-owned businesses.
The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program offers funds specifically to women-owned businesses, with the goal of leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs.
The HUBZone program helps small businesses with the aim of fueling growth in historically underutilized business zones.
The Natural Resource Sales Assistance program assists small businesses in securing state and federal government contracts through a bidding system that prioritizes them. Eligible industries include timber and forestry products, minerals, coal, oil, gas, and real estate.
Other US Government Small Business Grants:
Apart from the SBA, there are a number of other federal agencies offering grant programs for small businesses in the US.
The US Economic Development Administration (EDA) offers a variety of funding programs for projects that support regional economic development. Federal grant recipients receive funding for construction projects, construction planning, technology development research, and more.
The National Institute of Health is offering a wide variety of funding grant opportunities for businesses developing biomedical research related to COVID-19.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs offer funding for technological research for small companies, with the goal of promoting high-tech innovation.
Grants for Women-owned businesses
The Women Who Tech Grants Program provides grants for women-owned tech and health tech startups, with the goal of closing the gender gap in the tech industry.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Awards program offers yearly financial awards to women-owned businesses in their initial stages of development that are working to meet one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Hello Alice Small Business Growth Fund offers grants of up to $5,000 to small business owners, “including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ folks, people with disabilities, and every American with an entrepreneurial dream and the will to work for it.”
HelloAlice, in partnership with DoorDash, is also currently offering grants via their Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund, with the goal of assisting restaurants in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Non-government grants for small businesses
Government agencies aren’t the only source of small business grants: many private corporations and non-profit organizations also offer private grant programs designed to help small business owners start and expand their companies.
The Comcast RISE Investment Fund offers assistance for independently owned businesses providing funds for advertising, commercialization, and marketing consultations, media placements, commercial creative production services, and other technical assistance.
Activist-minded outdoor brand Patagonia offers funding for small businesses seeking to address the root causes of climate change and confront environmental injustice.
The National Association for the Self-Employed is an organization that provides a broad range of assistance programs for small businesses, with the goal of keeping markets competitive and preventing monopolization by larger companies. The NASE offers growth grants of up to $4,000 for small businesses that it believes have the potential for growth.
The 500 Global Flagship Accelerator program provides startup capital for fast-growing technology companies with the goal of promoting technological innovation.
The Halstead Grant offers a grand prize of $7,500 in start-up capital, as well as smaller grants to businesses offering innovation and advancing the artistry of the jewelery industry.
The StartOut Founders Program aims to provide resources for LGBT-owned businesses at all stages of their development, from aspiring founders just developing their ideas to established companies.
The StreetShares Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting veteran-owned businesses with access to financing and educational material. Its Veteran Small Business Award grants funds to veteran-owned businesses, especially ones that address social change within the military community.