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It takes time and effort to research and apply for funding, but the payoff can be worth it if you secure a grant for your small business. To help you get started, here’s a list of federal, state and private small-business grants and resources.
Federal small-business grants
Government agencies are among the biggest distributors of business grants, supporting a range of enterprises from environmental conservation to child care services. Applying may seem intimidating, but federal business grants are great opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to grow.
Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs
USDA Rural Business Development Grant
Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs
State and regional government grants for small businesses
Because federal grants can be particularly competitive — and limited in number — you might also look into government small-business grants at the state and local levels. Start your search with options like these:
Economic Development Administration
Small Business Development Center
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Minority Business Development Agency centers
State Trade Expansion Program
The available funding amounts and eligibility criteria of these government small-business grants vary based on your state, but capital can be used to participate in export trade shows, design international marketing products, support website globalization and more.
Employability Business Grant: This grant offers small- and medium-sized businesses in California an opportunity to grow their operations and create job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The program is designed to cover new hire costs, including advertising, onboarding, training and first month’s wages. Grants are available in amounts ranging from $20,000 to $200,000. Businesses must qualify with the California Department of Rehabilitation which will create a contract that determines the schedule for funding reimbursement.
Restaurants Care Resilience Fund: Restaurants Care runs an annual grant program to support independently owned restaurants in California. Eligible restaurant owners can receive $5,000 small-business grants to upgrade their kitchen equipment or retain employees. To qualify, restaurants must be located in California and owned by a California resident, have under $3 million in annual revenue and have been open for at least one year. You must also be a customer of SoCalGas, Pacific Gas and Electric or San Diego Gas & Electric. The next cycle runs from October 25 – November 8, 2023.
Founders First Job Creators Quest Grant: This small-business grant program is designed to help Southern California business owners hire or rehire premium wage jobs. A total of $100,000 is available to 25 small businesses in award amounts between $1,500 and $10,000. Each grant recipient will also receive a tuition scholarship to one of Founders First’s business accelerator training programs. To qualify for one of these California small-business grants, you must have between two and 20 employees and annual revenue between $100,000 and $3 million. Business owners must also identify as one of the following: woman, military veteran, Latinx, Black, Asian, LGBTQIA+ or be located in a low-to-moderate income area. Applications for this cycle will be accepted until November 13, 2023.
San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund: Women-owned businesses in San Francisco can get grants of up to $5,000 that can be used to help them grow. These grants are distributed by the Mission Economic Development Agency in collaboration with San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. To qualify, you must work with a local nonprofit that provides technical assistance to small businesses. With that organization, you need to complete at least three months and a total of eight hours of consulting. Additional eligibility criteria apply.
Immigrants Rising SEED Grant: The organization Immigrants Rising offers two types of small-business grants to California residents who are looking to start or grow their California-based business that addresses a social problem or community need. The grants are available in amounts of $5,000 and $10,000, and eligibility is based on how much revenue your business made in the last tax year. To qualify for either of these California business grants, you must identify with one of the following: non-U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or limited English proficiency (regardless of immigration or citizenship status). The latest cycle’s application period closed in May 2023.
Florida High Tech Corridor Research Grants: Florida businesses involved in technology and research can access up to $150,000 from Florida High Tech Corridor’s Matching Grants Research Program. To qualify, business owners must work with a university researcher from either the University of Central Florida or the University of South Florida. Businesses should also focus on research projects that support the development and commercialization of new technologies. These grants can be combined with funding from the federal SBIR and STTR programs.
Prospera Business Grants: Prospera is a Florida-based nonprofit organization that focuses on providing bilingual support to Hispanic entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their businesses. Through the Prospera grant program, small-business owners can receive free professional business development services, including legal and accounting assessments, marketing and sales planning, branding development, QuickBooks consulting and more. Prospera ’s consultants meet with applicants and award grants for professional services based on their individual needs.
City of Orlando Business Assistance Program: This matching grant program helps promote expansion and redevelopment in Orlando, Florida. Through the program, the Economic Development Department will match 50% of the fees — up to $20,000 — assessed against a small business for an eligible improvement project. Some eligible improvements include water and sewer line construction; street lighting; sidewalk repairs; and curb, gutter and street improvements. Small-business owners must get city approval and the proper permits for their projects before they can receive financing. Only businesses within certain industries can qualify.
North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency Grants: Small businesses in the city of North Miami, Florida, can apply for a variety of different grants that range in maximum amounts from up to $7,500 to $150,000. These grants are administered by North Miami CRA, an independent government agency, and include the Business Attraction Grant, Beautification and Enhancement Grant, Rehabilitation Grant and Capacity Building/Retention Grant. Each program has unique requirements, but you’ll need to be located in the North Miami regional area to qualify.
Enterprise Florida Trade Grants: Florida export businesses can apply for a variety of government business grants through the Florida Export Diversification and Expansion Program. In order to qualify, businesses must have been in operation for at least two years; must employ between three and 500 workers; and must have at least $250,000 in annual sales in the previous calendar year. Each individual grant has additional eligibility requirements.
Global NY Fund Grant Program: This program offers grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses across New York that are looking to start exporting or trying to increase their global exports. These small-business grants will reimburse up to 50% of total project costs for uses such as participation in trade shows, export workshops and market customization. To qualify, your business must have fewer than 500 employees, be in operation for at least one year and show your intent to begin or expand exporting in global markets. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
New York Public Library StartUP! Business Plan Competition: The New York Public Library runs an annual small-business grant competition for startup entrepreneurs located in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. Applicants enter a business plan and then must attend training workshops and meet with a business advisor and business librarian during the competition. Entrepreneurs can win $7,500, $10,000 or $15,000 to start their business. Applications for the 2023 cycle are closed; information about the 2024 competition will be available in the fall. The Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Economic Development Corporation both run similar grant programs for startup businesses located in those boroughs.
City of Rochester Neighborhood Commercial Assistance Program: Both established and startup businesses within the city of Rochester can apply for reimbursement grants for a variety of common business expenditures, including furniture, equipment, advertising, computers, exterior signage and security systems. Existing businesses (with 12 months or more in business) are eligible for grants up to $8,000, and new businesses (with up to 12 months in business) are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Businesses must provide proper cost documentation to receive a reimbursement grant.
Wayne County Microburst Grant Program: Entrepreneurs in Wayne County, New York, can earn grants from $5,000 to $20,000 to fund their startup businesses. Through this program, microbusinesses (with fewer than five employees) submit a potential project and provide a minimum of 10% cash to match the total project cost. With the proposed project, businesses must be able to create one full-time job for an individual from a low-to-moderate-income family. To qualify, small businesses must be in business for less than a year at the time of application. Small-business owners are also required to complete business classes from SCORE, a nonprofit organization of business mentors and SBA resource partner, in order to apply.
CitizensNYC Neighborhood Business Grants: CitizensNYC offers two grant programs to support local businesses and community groups throughout New York City. The Neighborhood Business Grant offers up to $5,000 to fund a variety of small business needs, such as technical upgrades, hiring support, marketing, training and more. This program also prioritizes businesses owned by people of color, immigrants and women. The Community Leader (All In Neighborhood) Grant provides microgrants of up to $3,000 for community-building projects. These grants are awarded to resident-led groups trying to address issues and improve life in their communities.
Texas Workforce Commission Skills for Small Business Program: Small businesses in Texas with newly hired workers can receive grants to cover employee training. The program offers up to $1,800 for each new employee being trained and $900 for existing employees per 12-month period. Training must be provided by a public community or technical college, or the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. To qualify, your business must have fewer than 100 employees.
Center for Women Entrepreneurs StartHER Grant: Female entrepreneurs in Texas who own or are starting a business can apply for this annual program to receive $5,000 in grant funding. These business grants can be used for a variety of purposes, including purchasing equipment, inventory or technology, property improvements, marketing or advertising campaigns and more. To qualify, small-business owners must provide documentation to show their business is 51% or more woman-owned and controlled. Winners for the 2023 grant cycle were announced on October 30.
Amegy Bank Small Business Boost Program: Through this program, Amegy Bank partners with the Houston Texans to provide $5,000 grants to local small businesses. To qualify, businesses must have under 500 employees, be independently owned and operated and operate primarily in the Houston area. The 2023 cycle is open to nominations until November 15.
Dayton Community Development Corporation Grant Programs: The city of Dayton, Texas, administers several programs that offer grants to small businesses to fund projects that promote the growth and development of downtown Dayton. For example, businesses can receive a 50% grant match — up to $7,500 — for exterior and interior projects such as facade improvements, signage, parking lot improvements and landscaping projects. To qualify for any of these programs, your business must be within city limits and you must receive approval for the proposed project.
Texas State Trade Expansion Program Grant: Texas businesses that want to start exporting or expand their current exporting initiatives can apply for reimbursement grants for expenses such as shipping costs, interpreter fees, compliance testing, travel costs and market analysis fees, among other expenses. To qualify, you must have been in business for at least one year, be in good standing with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, have a product or service created in Texas and meet the SBA’s definition of a small business. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed in February; the next application period is anticipated for late December or early January 2024.
Corporate small-business grants
Many corporations and large companies have a philanthropic component that includes small-business grants. While some provide grants to nonprofits servicing specific industries only, some also give to for-profit companies.
National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grant
Verizon Small Business Grant
Once these tasks are completed, you can submit a grant application. Verizon is offering a total of $500,000 in grant awards for 2023. The latest round of funding is open from October 12 – December 20, 2023.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
The contest is for U.S.-based, for-profit small businesses with fewer than 99 employees. You must also have a valid FedEx business shipping account number and currently ship with FedEx to apply. The next cycle will open in early 2024.
Small Business Growth Fund Grant
This year, the program will award grants between $5,000 and $25,000 to for-profit U.S.-based businesses that had less than $1 million in gross revenue in 2022. Winners for the latest round were announced in November.
Venmo Small Business Grant
Amazon Small Business Grant
Winners can also receive a one-year membership to Business Prime and free products from eero Wifi and Kindle Scribe. Recipients for the 2023 cycle were announced in July.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Top Small Business Awards
Although you must have an existing business to qualify, you only need to have been in operation for one year. Applications for the 2023 cycle closed on July 21. Finalists were announced on October 4, and the grand-prize winner was announced on October 19 at the America’s Top Small Business Summit.
Visa Everywhere Initiative
Visa will select the top five finalists in each region, and these businesses will move forward to a global finals event. The overall winner of the competition is awarded a $50,000 small-business grant. Additional grants are awarded to second- and third-place finalists, audience favorites, as well as regional and local winners. Applications for the North America region closed on June 26, 2023, and the global finals were held on Sept. 19 at TechCrunch Disrupt.
Lenovo Evolve small-business grant
Grants to start a business
Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant
To qualify, you must be planning to start a new business or grow an existing business. Incfile also offers a Young Entrepreneur Grant for students interested in starting their own businesses. The next cycle will be held in 2024.
Hello Alice grant platform
Amber Grant for women
SubSummit Pitch Competition
To apply, you have to send in a short video describing your business, the inspiration behind your brand — and if you want — what you plan to do with the grant funding. Semi-finalists will compete virtually and finalists will compete for the grand prize at a live event. You can sign up now to join the waitlist for 2024 applications.
Small-business hardship grants
Small-business hardship grants can help you recover after an emergency situation, like a natural disaster or public health crisis. These grants may be available from the government, nonprofits or corporations, among other sources.
Depending on the emergency, certain business hardship grants may only be available within a specific time frame, so it’s particularly important to check funding deadlines.
Here are some options to consider:
State and local small-business recovery grants
Some states and cities also run ongoing small-business grant programs to assist business owners when they suffer from damages as the result of fires, floods and hurricanes, among other disasters.
Etsy Emergency Relief Fund
DoorDash Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund
To qualify, you’ll also need to have three restaurant locations or fewer, 50 or fewer employees, been in business for at least six months and made $3 million or less per location in the last year.
Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis but they must be submitted within 12 months of the declared disaster. Recipients will be notified within 30 days after the application period closes. The current application cycle runs until December 31, 2023.
Small Business Readiness for Resiliency Program
Emergency relief funding is issued in amounts of $5,000 and you must be able to show that you incurred disaster-related damages or losses that equal or exceed that amount. You’ll also need to have fewer than 500 employees, among other requirements, to qualify for this small-business hardship grant.
Specialty small-business grants
To help spread entrepreneurial success across demographics, many organizations focus their free funding efforts on specific communities.
We’ve put together lists of:
Alternatives to small-business grants
Finding and applying for the right grants for your small business can be difficult, as well as time-consuming. If you don’t qualify for certain grants, there are other ways to fund your business. Here are some avenues to explore:
Small-business loans. Compare loan options — including bank loans, SBA loans, business lines of credit, term loans and equipment financing — plus, learn how to choose the right financing for your needs.
Small-business credit cards. Explore dozens of cards and find the best choice for funding your everyday business purchases — and earn rewards in the process.
Crowdfunding for business. Raise money for your small business by tapping into the power of the internet and promoting your product or service through a crowdfunding campaign.
Former NerdWallet writer Steve Nicastro contributed to this article.
Fund your dreams with a small-business loan
If grants aren’t available for your business right now, check out NerdWallet’s picks for the best small-business loans and compare your options.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find small-business grants at government agencies, state organizations and private corporations. A few good places to start your search include the government database Grants.gov, your local Small Business Development Center and nonprofits such as the Local Initiatives Support Corp.
Some of the most common types of small-business grants include government grants, such as federal, state and local grants, nonprofit grants, corporate or private grants, as well as hardship and emergency grants.