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How to find free small business grants

How to find free small business grants

How to find free small business grants

How to find free small business grants

How to find free small business grants

Your guide to federal and corporate grant opportunities

Your guide to federal and corporate grant opportunities

Your guide to federal and corporate grant opportunities

Your guide to federal and corporate grant opportunities

Jesseca Lane

Brand & Marketing

One of the top inquires we receive at Palm is how to find grants to fund your small business. Grants provide free money to new and existing businesses and don’t need to be repaid (unlike loans) and can be harder to find. 

While we do not provide grants or loans, we’re still here to help small businesses find and save money. That’s why we’ve put together the top federal and corporate grant resources to consider below.  

Bear in mind that not all grant funding flows from the federal government directly to small businesses. Some funds are flowed through state and local governments, agencies, nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education. These funds would be distritubed at the local level. 

Also keep mind that you may qualify for more than one grant, so it is best to visit all of the resources below and see what is available to you.

Sign up for a free Palm account today to get more insights that help you save and check our blog for more resources. 

Your guide to apply for federal grants 


Grants.gov

The most comprehensive place to start searching for grants for your small business is grants.gov. There are thousands of types of grants available and you can search grants by keyword as well as posted date. For instance, when you type in “small business” as a keyword, over 42 pages come up - so it best to be specific and narrow down your search.  The best way to do this is follow the instructions on the grants.gov blog for how to apply for federal funding. 

Hot tip - go to the this link first and follow the instructions vs. starting your search from scratch. This will tell you what you’re qualified for so you won’t be left guessing and ultimately more likely to get approved.

The process you will follow: 


Step 1: Make sure you have registered an account on Grants.gov

Step 2: Determine Your Eligibility and Identify a Funding Opportunity using Grants.gov Search

Step 3: Apply to the Funding Opportunity by Creating a Workspace

Step 4: Complete Your Application

Step 5: Check Your Application for Errors and Submit Your Completed Application


Other Niche Federal Grants

While the SBA typically doesn’t offer grants to small businesses, there are a few niche grants that they and other government agencies do offer. 

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

The STEP grant program has helped thousands of small businesses obtain grants and find customers in the international marketplace since 2011. Through awards to U.S. states and territories, STEP helps small businesses overcome obstacles to exporting by providing grants to cover costs associated with entering and expanding into international markets.  

STEP financial support helps U.S. small businesses:

  • Learn to export

  • Participate in foreign trade missions

  • Design international marketing products and campaigns

  • Support website globalization and e-commerce capabilities

  • Pay for subscriptions to services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce and other federal agencies

  • Participate in export trade show exhibits and training workshops

  • Cover AI-related expenses in support of export-related activities


Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) doesn’t typically offer grants directly to small businesses. The Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), however, offers federal grants to microenterprise development and community organizations like private nonprofits, or state, local or tribal governments, so that they can provide assistance to disadvantaged microentrepreneurs of those communities.


Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs

The SBIR and the STTR grant programs focus on research and development for technology innovation and scientific research. The programs help connect entrepreneurs with federal business grants and contracts from 12 government agencies.

To qualify, you must operate a for-profit business, have no more than 500 employees and meet other eligibility requirements.


USDA Rural Business Development Grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Rural Business Development Grant program, which provides financing to strengthen and grow small businesses in rural communities.


Businesses must have fewer than 50 new employees, less than $1 million in gross revenue and be located in an eligible rural area to qualify. Applications are accepted once per year through the USDA Rural Development’s local or state offices.


U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

The EDA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and offers ongoing funding opportunities for projects that support regional and national economic development. Applicants can apply for a variety of rolling-basis EDA investments that fund projects in construction, non-construction, planning, technical assistance, research and evaluation, higher education, and more.

Additional grants you may qualify for are at the regional and local levels as well as corporate level. Be sure to check our blog for updates on more resources to find and save you money and sign up for your free account to start saving and stay in the loop. 


Corporate grants & other resources


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Top Small Business Awards

America’s Top Small Business Awards recognizes a small business for its contributions to the U.S. economy and offers a grant of $25,000. The competition also gives awards to businesses in a variety of categories, such as emerging business and green/sustainable business, with associated prizes.

Hello Alice grant platform

Hello Alice partners with a variety of companies to offer different grants for small businesses, including startups. You can create an account to receive notifications about new opportunities and apply for the grants that are relevant to your business.

Small Business Growth Fund Grant

The Small Business Growth Fund, a partnership between the Global Entrepreneur Fund and Hello Alice — funded by Etsy and Progressive — is an annual program designed to help entrepreneurs grow their operations.

DoorDash Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund

Restaurants that have experienced a natural disaster may be able to get a small-business recovery grant from the DoorDash Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund (also on Hello Alice). This program offers $10,000 business grants to brick-and-mortar restaurants that have been impacted by a federally or state-declared disaster, such as a wildfire, hurricane or earthquake.

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. 

Small Business Readiness for Resiliency Program

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and FedEx have teamed up to create the Small Business Readiness for Resiliency (R4R) Program. The program helps small businesses put plans in place to prepare for disaster and also provides immediate emergency funding when necessary. Businesses are asked to complete a four-step process to be eligible for funding opportunities

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

In 2024, FedEx’s annual grant competition will award one $50,000 grand prize and nine additional $20,000 grants. The application window is open from March 1 to April 1.

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.


American Express Backing Small Businesses

The Backing Small Businesses grant program is a collaboration between American Express and Main Street America. Now in its third year, the program will award $10,000 grants to up to 500 small businesses. Of those, 25 businesses will receive $30,000 Enhancement Grants, which have limited use cases. To be eligible, your business must be located in historic main street, downtown or commercial district. Applications are accepted from March 14 - April 7, 2024.

Verizon Small Business Grant

Verizon’s Digital Ready program gives business owners the opportunity to access free courses and educational materials, as well as apply for grant funding. To be eligible for a $10,000 small-business grant, entrepreneurs must register through the Verizon website and complete at least two of the following: courses, live coaching or community events.

Once these tasks are completed, you can submit a grant application. The latest round of funding is open to businesses located in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix. Applications are accepted from Feb. 26 - April 8, 2024.


Venmo Small Business Grant

The Venmo Small Business Grant program awards 20 eligible entrepreneurs with $10,000 grants for their small businesses. It also offers public promotion on the Venmo website and social media accounts, as well as mentorship from industry leaders.

To qualify, you must have a U.S. Venmo account and a valid business profile on Venmo in good standing. You also must have less than $50,000 in annual sales and 10 employees or fewer. Applications for the 2024 cycle have not yet been announced.

Amazon Small Business Grant

The annual Amazon Small Business Grant program offers free grants to small businesses that have an Amazon Business account and $1 million or less in annual revenue. The program offers grants to 15 businesses, ranging in amounts from $15,000 to $25,000.

Winners can also receive a one-year membership to Business Prime and free products from eero Wifi and Kindle Scribe. Grant applications are due May 21st, 2024. 


Visa Everywhere Initiative

The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a grant competition that offers free funding to tech-forward startups across five different regions around the globe. Applicants must show how they’ve developed a product or service that creatively involves Visa’s products.

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.


Lenovo Evolve small-business grant

The Lenovo Evolve Small initiative is a program designed to support small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada by offering grants and technology donations. This year, the Lenovo Evolve Grant provided 30 small businesses with $10,000 in funding, a Lenovo laptop and business support. 


Fast Break for Small Business

LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA and NBA G-League partner with Accion Opportunity Fund to offer $10,000 grants and up to $500 in LegalZoom services to small-business owners. The Fast Break for Small Business program is available to entrepreneurs with at least three months in business.

If you have less than three months in operation or haven't started your business yet, you can also apply to receive a LegalZoom product of your choosing (up to $500). Applications for the 2024 cycle of this grant program are open until Sept. 13, 2024. 


Bizee Fresh Start Business Grant

Bizee's Fresh Start Business Grant (previously known as the Incfile Fresh Start grant) offers $2,500 to help new entrepreneurs cover startup costs. The winning business owner will also receive free formation services in their state, free registered agent services for a year and a free tax consultation from Bizee.


To qualify, you must be planning to start a new business or grow an existing business. Bizee also offers a Young Entrepreneur Grant for students interested in starting their own businesses.

Etsy Emergency Relief Fund

Etsy partners with the nonprofit organization, CERF+, to provide its sellers with financial relief after they’re affected by a disaster. To qualify for this small-business hardship grant, you’ll need to have experienced a federally declared natural disaster within the last year, as well as have had an active Etsy seller account in good standing for at least one year.

Etsy Emergency Relief grants are available in amounts of $2,000. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and funds are issued quarterly.


Sources & other links to check out: 

https://www.newsweek.com/vault/business-loans/best-small-business-grants-for-veterans/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/small-business/small-business-grants

https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/business-financing/small-business-grants-and-programs 



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