Getting your startup’s name out there can prove to be challenging, especially if you’re trying a hand at a fairly underdeveloped niche, which is exactly why it’s so easy to lose motivation to keep pressing forward.
At times like these, it feels like the slightest nudge forward could mean a lot, and you probably aren’t wrong to think that, but where can you even find someone willing to give you what’s practically “free money“ to help you run your business?
Well, you’d be surprised at how many options are actually available to you, and even though it takes a lot of time and effort to receive funding, the payoff is worth it more than 90% of the time.
This money that you’d receive is a grant, meaning that you don’t have to pay it back so long as you adhere to the terms of the contract that you signed to get it, and we’ll go over some of the more popular grants for small businesses.
If you do a deep dive into the granting opportunities available in the US, you may find that government agencies are practically the biggest distributors of this free money, and they extend a helping hand to a number of different business ventures.
Whether your work involves preserving the environment or offering help to those that need it more than you do, it’s highly likely that you’ll find a government grant to help promote and contribute to your cause.
Your first application may look intimidating at first, but if you convince yourself that it’s something you’ve got to do if you wish to see your business move forward, it’ll soon become like second nature, allowing you to grow at an astonishing rate, both as a business owner and as a person with all the experience you’ll gain.
With websites like grants.gov, you can browse the numerous grants that federal agencies offer to small businesses, most of which are provided by the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
You could also apply for a USDA grant, although this may only be applicable if your business is located in a rural area, with additional requirements being that you have less than 50 employees and under $1 million in gross revenue.
Once your application has been submitted, it’s sent off to the US Department of Agriculture, which will review it and get back to you through one of their local or state offices.
State and regional grants
Similarly to how federal agencies offer assistance to small businesses that just made their way onto the market, local and state agencies perform a similar role, administering the funds they’re given to granting programs for business owners from all walks of life.
Grants like this are offered by agencies like the Economic Development Administration, which receives funding from the US Department of Commerce in hopes that these funds will help support economic growth.
On top of this, these grants may also offer initiative to potential entrepreneurs, pushing them to innovate and take the market by storm with their ideas, which often leads to further development.
Most areas may also have a Small Business Development Center, which offers help to small, aspiring businesses.
Oftentimes, these centers are associated with local educational institutions and even a state’s economic development agency.
These centers can make obtaining these grants much easier, sometimes even giving you additional guidance regarding financial management, such as counseling, training, and technical assistance when need be.
From time to time, large companies offer a small portion of their wealth to help small businesses make a name for themselves on the market, and while this money can be insignificant for the company offering it, it can mean the world to someone who’s just starting out.
Every year, FedEx creates competition for small US-based businesses, with the rewards being over $250k to the top 10 businesses on the list.
This also includes a $50k grant and almost $4k in FedEx services to the top three companies that rose above the rest.
At times, sports leagues can also donate money to help developing businesses, and through the Action Opportunity Fund, the WNBA and the NBA have partnered together to give grants of up to $10k to qualifying small businesses.
Apart from the grant, the winners also receive $500 in services from LegalZoom, which has been helping businesses from underrepresented communities grow at an astonishing rate.
Your small business may just be in need of a tiny little push to get you going, and even though that may sound difficult if you’re on your own, remember that there’s always help out there that you can rely on.
Business grants are everywhere, and you’re highly likely to find one that fits you and your current circumstances with ease, so long as you look hard enough.
Remember, this grant doesn’t mean all the work is done, but rather, it means that you should begin working harder than ever before, capitalizing on every single dollar you were given, and once you can safely say you’re at the point of financial stability, you can rest easy knowing your life’s been taken care of.