When your business needs money for capital investment, employees, marketing and more, what options do you have. Free business grants can be one of the most sought-after ways for small businesses to secure the finance they desperately need. And, unlike business loans, they don’t accrue interest and the money doesn’t have to be paid back.
However, generally speaking, free grants for small businesses are not handed out arbitrarily and grant providers are specific about what type of business can apply and what they can spend the money on.
Free Grants for Small Business
If you think your small business may qualify for a free grant, here’s where to go to apply for the money to help your small business grow and become more profitable.
Grants.gov is a comprehensive database of grants administered by different government agencies. The database is a good place to search for grants relevant to your field, to check your eligibility, apply for money and track your application.
Small Business Innovation Research Program
If you operate a small business engaged in federal research or research and development which has commercialization potential, you may qualify for the Small Business Innovation Research R/R&D program. This competitive program enables small businesses in the research field to explore their technological potential and offers the incentive to profit from its commercialization.
Economic Development Administration
The US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration provides state and regional small business grants designed to support regional economic growth by encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.
Visit the administration’s website to view funding opportunities and programs and learn more about small business success stories through the agency’s assistance.
National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE)
NASE offers monthly grants of $4,000 to small businesses. You must be a member of NASE to have the opportunity to be awarded with a $4,000 grant.
Previous recipients have used the business growth grants for farming equipment, computers, marketing, hiring part-time help, and much more.
LendingTree issues a $50,000 annual grant to small businesses that are finding it difficult to grow. Previous recipients of LendingTree grants have shown they are passionate entrepreneurs, have a growth mindset, and offer enrichment to the community, including creating new jobs.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Enter your small business in the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest and you could win up to $25,000. FedEx launched the sixth annual Small Business Grant Contest aimed at recognizing small business passion and innovation across the United States in 2018.
The 2018 contest offered a $120,500 prize pool for 10 US-based small businesses, with the winner being awarded $25,000.
Amber Grant Foundation
If you’re a female entrepreneur, then you may be eligible for a $1000 grant from the Amber Grant Foundation. Each month, the foundation awards $1000 to a different woman-owned small business. At the end of the year, one of the 12 grant recipients is awarded a further $10,000. The foundation’s board of advisors look for women who are particularly passionate about what they do and have a good story to tell.
Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
Similar to the Amber Grant, the Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant is awarded to women entrepreneurs. Awards totaling $100,000 are given to up to 10 female business owners every year. To be eligible for the grants, at least 51% of your business must be women owned and led. Businesses must have been operating for at least three years and bring in less than $1 million in revenue each year. Businesses must also be centered on social or environmental change.
Photo via Shutterstock