Understanding Federal and State Grants for Business
Understanding Federal and State Grants for Business

Understanding Federal and State Grants for Business

Which type of grant is right for your business?

As a business owner, you may be privy to variety of grant options available for your business including local, state, regional, and federal programs. Not all companies qualify for every grant, but learning more about how this assistance is distributed can help your business thrive.

Let's take a deep dive into these programs to help you determine which grants are best suited for your business.


Applying for a grant: A complex process to navigate

Grants come from a variety of sources, and there are only a few places where grants are easily searched. As Forbes contributor Jared Hecht pointed out, one of the hardest parts of applying for a grant is finding one for which your business clearly qualifies.

The Search Grants page on the official federal Grants.gov website offers resources to help small businesses learn more about funding options. Keep in mind that many of these options are limited to certain organizations or are otherwise highly specific. For state and local grants, start by checking out municipal, county and state government websites. For additional information, reach out to agencies that provide grants as well as the local branch of the U.S. Small Business Administration or Small Business Development Center.


Federal grants: Limited and highly specific

The federal government offers a limited number of general-purpose grants directly, a fact noted by the SBA. The SBA is recognized as a provider of guarantees for a variety of small business loans, but does not offer grants. Federal grant programs generally focus on nonprofits and local and state governments. These are the same organizations that may provide grant funding for a small business like yours.

You may not find many grants on the federal level unless your organization focuses on research or technological development or has been impacted by a major natural disaster. However, you may discover an opportunity for which your business qualifies by visiting Grants.gov.


State and local grants

There are many government bodies that provide grants that your business qualifies for or information about them, from your state economic development agency to your area's Small Business Development Center, as NerdWallet pointed out. The best course of action is to review information online and then follow up with a phone call or, in-person visit to learn more.

Although some states and local grants have similar restrictions as federal grants such as targeting specific types of businesses or only providing support if certain conditions are met, other states are broader and may be easier to obtain. The different qualifications from state to state should encourage you to start investigating the situation in your area and determine if your business is eligible for any grants and the financial benefits they provide.


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