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Grants are one of the most desirable ways to finance a business because you do not have to pay it back like a loan. Getting a grant from the government for your small business may prove difficult because the government only provides funding to small business for purposes the government deems important. With persistence, however, you may find an agency that wants to fund small businesses in your industry.  There are several ways to receive grant funding.  Some have less requirements than others while some payout more than others. CASH@HAND has partnered with Business Credit Literacy Initiative, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, to provide a easier way to provide small businesses with grant funding. We exchange funding for a few hours of your time per week. To find out how your business can receive grant funding, Contact CASH@HAND Today!

Federal Grants

If you want to get a government grant for your small business you almost always have to go through state and local governments or a nonprofit, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The federal government primarily offers grants to non-commercial enterprises, such as universities and colleges and nonprofit companies. 

The US government provides business grants at the federal and state level. Federal grants, however, don’t typically go to small businesses unless they’re involved in technology, development, scientific research or other issues of national concern. If this sounds like your business, you might want to look at two programs offered through the Small Business Innovation Research program:

  • The Small Business Innovation Research program grant. The SBIR grant is designed to move government economic development initiatives into the private sector by funding tech businesses. You can apply to participate in SBIR through several federal agencies, which have their own guidelines.

  • The Small Business Technology Transfer program grant. The STTR program is a slightly more rigorous version of SBIR. It’s available to businesses in the technology sector, and you’re required to work in partnership with a research institution if accepted. Like the SBIR, you can only apply through federal agencies.

All grants are competitive, but SBIR and STTR are especially difficult to get. That doesn’t mean you should write them off.

State and City Grants 

To get a state government grant, you will probably have to contact agencies on your own and see if they have any available grants, according to the National Institute of Small Business Grants. Even if you receive a grant from your state's government or a nonprofit, if may not even be entirely "free" money, according to the Small Business Administration. Many grants come with stipulations that the recipient must put an amount of money equal to the grant into their business--with their own money or a business loan. In addition, grant amounts depend on the industry classification of your small business and who offers the grant.

Small businesses outside of the tech sector might have better luck looking local. State and city grants tend to offer less money, but they’re also less competitive than other types of grants. Because they’re tailored to your community, these grants could have requirements that you’re more likely to fit.You might want to start your local grant search with:

  • This site has a section that provides a directory of small business resources by state, including grants, loans, tax incentives and training programs. It’s worth a look even if you aren’t sure you want a grant — you just might find financing you didn’t know as an option.

  • Your local development center. State and city economic development centers might offer grant opportunities you won’t find on You can typically find your local center with a quick Google search.

Business Grants From Companies

Businesses that don’t qualify for a government grant might want to turn to the private sector.

Many large corporations run foundations that offer grants to small businesses, often within a specific type of industry or charitable cause. You might want to start with these two popular ones:

  • Chase Mission Main Street. Chase Manhattan Bank awards $150,000 each year to 20 businesses who can tell the most compelling story of their business and its affect on their communities through an essay contest.

  • Wells Fargo Community Investment. Wells Fargo offers grants to small businesses in almost every state, with a focus on nonprofits. Small businesses involved in education, environmental conservation, housing, veteran care and disaster relief might want to take a close look at this program.

Finding a Corporate Grant

Search engines are your best bet to find a corporate grant. Try searching for grants by industry and your financial needs, rather than corporate grants in general — it’ll take you a lot longer to weed through foundations that can’t do anything for you.


Eligibility requirements vary with corporate grants. You generally won’t be able to get a grant if your business is less than six months old. You could also have trouble finding a corporate grant if you run a for-profit business or political organization. However, if you’re a for-profit business that’s involved with charitable activities or works to improve a community you may still qualify.

Finding FREE FUNDING for your business isn’t impossible. But make sure you’re ready to invest the often intensive time and resources in researching and applying for business grants.

If you want your money more quickly, consider joining our Grant Funding Program.

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