How to Get a Federal Grant for Your Small Business

free money to help you start or grow your business ? What could be good ! Each year thousands of little occupation owners across the country secure funding through politics federal grant programs. even though federal grants don ’ metric ton command you to pay back any funds you get, the serve of rule, prepping, and applying for these grants is time-consuming. To succeed during the procedure, it helps to have a plan in place. That way, you can move through the march much more efficiently and turn your grant-finding mathematical process into a well-oiled machine. here ’ s what you need to know as you start applying for grants from the federal government.

Overview: What is a federal grant?

With a award, the federal government provides funds for your small business. These grants support a rate of programs for commercial enterprise owners who have ideas and projects that provide a benefit for the public and help improve the economy. You might be surprised to learn that grants are overt to businesses of every size and type. There are grants for high-tech, science-focused inquiry vitamin a well as aid for individuals working on artistic projects. There are besides grants out there that focus on providing funds to underrepresented groups, such as businesses owned by veterans, women, and people of coloring material. On the federal level, there are over two twelve agencies that give out grants. Farmers can find grants for rural little businesses awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and high-tech companies can apply for financing from the Department of Defense .An image listing some of the federal grant-making agencies. The grant work has a three-stage lifecycle, with the timelines and duration of each stage depending on the grant. however, any federal government grant will follow this lifecycle :

  • Pre-Award stage: Here, the grant-funding organization announces the opportunity, and you can research opportunities and submit your application.
  • Award stage: If you’re selected, this stage is where you’ll get a notice of award and the funds will be distributed.
  • Post-Award stage: During this stage, you’ll submit any required reports to the granting organization to prove you used the funds appropriately.

If you want to explore other avenues for fund, there are enough of government loanword opportunities — including options for little business loans. The Small Business Administration ( SBA ) is one of the most popular places business owners turn to for loans. SBA lend programs range from express loans for quick cash flow to more significant SBA 7 ( a ) loans for real estate acquisitions .

3 types of federal grants

There are hundreds of concession programs within the government established through the grant-making organizations. These programs are broken down into over two-dozen categories ranging from agribusiness to caparison and community development. however, as you can probably imagine, the procedure of getting grants approved by the government is a long and byzantine one. due to that, there are only a handful of grant types authorized by the government .

1. Conditional (or categorical) grants

The huge majority of grants offered by the government fall under this classification. These grants are conditional because they have specifically defined purposes. A grant that must be used by the Department of Transportation for highway improvement after a natural calamity would be one case .

2. Block grants

These grants typically cover big chunks — or blocks — of funding station from the federal politics to local and state governments. normally, block grants have a much broader general determination and are intended to help the local community .

3. Earmark grants

These grants are appropriated into the budget each year by Congress and designated for finical purposes .

How to get a federal grant for your business

Getting a grant for your business takes constitution and patience. You ’ ll much be competing against like companies, so you want to do what you can to improve your chances. here are the basics of the application process :

1. Do your pre-application homework

Before you apply for any union grant, make sure you are grant-ready. That means having a project in beware, knowing how much fund you need, creating a list of grants that fit your needs, and ensuring you qualify.

While it may be tempting to apply for anything and everything out there, the reality is you want to look for a pin down list of grants that fall into your pilothouse. For example, if you ’ re a sole business owner, it might make sense to focus on politics grants for individuals versus those that will attract much bigger companies. Applying for grants is a time-consuming work that can often take weeks, if not months. Any preparation you do to get yourself ready is going to help you stay ahead of the curvature .

2. Go to grants.gov

once you ’ re cook to start digging into the grants available, your best first discontinue is grants.gov. It is a searchable database that lists all of the opportunities from the 26 federal grant-making agencies .The main search page of the grants.gov database. At any given time, it will have hundreds or thousands of opportunities listed. You can search and sort by eligibility, category, and agency .

3. Create your application and read everything twice

As you create your application, it ’ sulfur critical to follow directions. Grants from the government normally come with many hoops to jump through and a retentive list of qualifications and rules. Miss any of those in your application and you will not get the profit of the doubt ; you ’ ll have to re-submit or beginning over. This depart of the action is besides where you want to create a grant proposal that shines. It will be the kernel of your application where you will want to highlight your business goals, how you plan to use the funds, and how you will track everything. once you finish your application, submit it before the deadline .

5 best practices when applying for a federal grant

Grants typically involve a lot of paperwork and are time-consuming, so getting focused and having a plan can come in handy. otherwise, it ’ mho easily to get overpower and not apply to anything at all. here are some tips to help you start .

1. Get organized

The more organize and detail-oriented you can be at the begin of the process, the better. It will help you ensure you have all the documents you need and you meet your deadlines .

2. Ask around

never discount your network as a potential resource for information on grants and financing. You might find person in a professional organization you belong to has had achiever with federal grants. Reach out to pick their brain for advice .

3. Look for specialty grants

These grants are often modest in number, but you might find grants that you qualify for over others if you have a singular skillset or are from a historically underrepresented group. Keep an center out for them .

4. Remember the grantor’s priorities

One of the best ways to stand out with your application is to align the granting organization ’ south priorities with your goals for using the funds.

5. Take advantages of government resources

The SBA has a long ton of release resources for small business owners, including programs, classes, and mentors to help you find and apply for grants .

Now you’re ready — go forth and find your federal grants

hopefully, you feel a bit more companion with the process of applying for federal grants. While it can feel like a frustrating action at the time, being awarded a grant and helping your community is frequently worth it in the end. There are millions of dollars available in funds for belittled businesses barely like yours ; all you have to do is go out and get it .

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