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Small Business Grants You Need To Know About

Manasa Reddigari

If you can't self-fund your business, you may want to seek outside help through a grant. Unlike loans, a grant allows you to secure funding without the obligation of repaying it. Many reputable organizations offer business development grants to small businesses. Here are five small business grants that can help you launch or grow your business.      

5 Small Business Grants To Know

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

This FedEx-run contest annually awards ten small business with up to $25,000 in grants. It doles out awards in tiers. One grand prize winner has received $25,000. This is followed by a $15,000 winner and eight $7,500 winners. Eligible businesses should be for-profit and in business for at least six months. The business must also have 50 or fewer employees.  

The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grants Program

The NASE Growth Grants Program is ideal if you already launched your business but need a leg up through a small grant. NASE members can apply for grants up to $4,000 each. Past recipients have used their grants to buy equipment or hire workers. But you can also put the money toward marketing materials or even a new business website.  


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The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program

There were over 9.4 million women-owned firms generating $1.5 trillion in sales in 2015, according to NAWBO findings. This grant supports their cause. The Eileen Fisher Grant Program awards $120,000 in grants for up to ten women-owned businesses. This is an annual award for businesses that strive for environmental or social change.    Firms must be at owned and led by at least 51 percent women. They must also have been operating for at least three years. You must generate $1 million or less in revenue in the year before grant application to be eligible.  

Operation HOPE Small Business Empowerment Program

Small business grants are particularly beneficial to entrepreneurs from economically-disadvantaged areas. The Operation HOPE program takes a two-prong approach to serving businesses in low-wealth neighborhoods.    Program participants receive both business training and financial counseling and help. Financial help includes lines of credit, access to lenders and loan packaging help. Entrepreneurial and financial training includes business plan development help, credit counseling and money management.  

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

 The SBIR is a grant program run with cooperation from several federal agencies. The program is geared toward small businesses in science and engineering fields. Specifically, the businesses should participate in federal research and development efforts with commercial potential. The SBIR program operates in three phases:  

  • Phase 1: This phase assesses the merit, viability and commercial potential of the research efforts. Awards typically do not exceed $150,000 for a six-month period.
  • Phase 2: This phase confers awards based on the success of the first phase efforts. Awards in this phase typically do not exceed $1 million for two years. You are only eligible for an award in this phase if you received an award during the first phase.
  • Phase 3: This unfunded phase aims to realize the commercial potential established in earlier phases.

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