Too often, for-profit organizations assume that grants and other designated funds aren’t available to them. After all, it would make sense that only the nonprofit sector be privy to this assistance since they’re not in the business of growing their bottom line. However, the business world is more gracious than you realize and in fact, you’ll find a host of grants and other funding alternatives to consider if you need a little financial help.
Of course, these grants and funds aren’t all created equally. Some may have specific application or qualification requirements. Others may only be available to startups or businesses with less than 10 employees, for example. There are a lot of variables involved, but if you know where to look, you’ll find a lot more than you anticipated.
It might seem counterintuitive, but a lot of these discretionary funds are designed specifically to be used by for-profit companies that need a little boost. In light of the pandemic and its aftermath, the demand and market for grants are increasing, offering SMBs and solopreneurs the chance to get assistance that doesn’t have to be repaid.
A grant is different from a loan in that it typically does not have to be repaid. This is a form of financial assistance offered to an individual or business that operates at any level and as any type of business. There are certain grants available for certain types of businesses, and so forth. There are several organizations out there offering business grants for all kinds of purposes or elements and you won’t have to look hard to find them.
Business grants can be targeted in just about any fashion, including those specifically for women, veterans, nonprofits, and so forth. The good news is that there are several grants available today that many businesses will qualify for. Of course, there’s also a lot of competition, so you may have to fight for the best funds if you want them.
It’s not hard to apply for grants once you find them. Always make sure that you validate them with a reputable authority to ensure that you aren’t wasting anyone’s time. Then, you’ll want to apply for as many grants as you feel necessary. It might be necessary to apply for more of the generalized business grants, for example.
Another way to ensure your success or at least increase your odds is to choose niche grants that are industry or position-specific, or that are based on the makeup, ownership structure, and other factors of the business. You have to make sure that you’re taking the time to set things up the right way so that you get the results that you deserve.
There are different grants from different sources. Know which you’re applying with before you even get started and take the time to learn about the different funds available. You have a few different options:
Now that you know more about what’s available, take the time to check out the 20 best grants below that are designed specifically for those businesses that are working for a profit.
Without further ado, here are the top grants that you should consider applying for.
Existing businesses can benefit from this contest, which is open to applicants for a single month each year. Applicants will need to submit a video with their brand’s story to qualify for the grant. After the applications have been received, FedEx awards the $25,000 grants to the businesses that are chosen to win. This program’s short window means that a lot of businesses miss it, but it’s a great source of extra cash.
This grant is designed for those who are self-employed and belong to the NASE. These growth grants are awarded in amounts up to $4,000 and they are available to be used for all kinds of business purposes, from hiring help to buying equipment, creating promo materials, and more. You can use these funds however you desire. Applying is simple but you must be a member to qualify.
The StreetShares Foundation focuses on helping veterans find the money that they need to run their for-profit business. This is an award that’s open to active-duty military members, veterans, and their spouses. Any applicant will be required to submit their business idea and they will earn up to $15,000 in business grants based on their idea, the use of the funds in question, and what kind of product fit they're bringing to market. Winners are also chosen based on what kind of influence they'll have in the community.
This grant is designed to help small businesses take their operations to the next level or solve a big business problem. Nav awards $10,000 to a small business each quarter based on the applications received and which businesses have the best answer to their own problems or the best expansion plan.
This grant is awarded $1,000 at a time, designed to nurture and promote young entrepreneurs that are taking up residence in urban communities. The idea is to provide training and jobs for the next generation, and the contest runs monthly. Any business with a young owner in an urban area can apply, and applications are due by the 15th of each month.
This grant is specifically for jewelry businesses that are looking to get started or expand their operations. The Halstead offers an annual grant of $7,500 to assist artists in fine-tuning business plans, developing their operations, and hitting their business goals. Applicants will need to submit a business plan and a portfolio to be considered for these funds.
This federal program is research-based and designed for entrepreneurs that are innovating in the realm of technology. The potential for commercialization is considered here, and the different technologies are compared to see what is going to be most likely to be viable. Awards from the past were given in areas of healthcare, green construction, homeland security, and even the advancement of safe water initiatives and land revitalization.
This program is designed to fund research and development in innovative technology that leverages the use of existing technology to help improve the world around us. The program is unique because it allows businesses to collaborate with named research institutions along the way, and each agency will set its own guidelines for the awards. The STTR grant program is open throughout the year, and you’ll have to check with each agency to see what the application requirements are.
The U.S. Department of Defense offers a selection of small business grants through the STTR program, as well as other initiatives that they manage. The Defense Enterprise Science Initiative is one such example. The Air Force Office, the U.S. Army Research Institute, and the Office of Naval Research are all in search of better technology to achieve their own goals and will award grants to private, for-profit companies that can assist in this vein.
The Department of Energy is also on a mission to find innovative technology, and as a result, they will award grants to people based on their creations, innovations, or ideas that fuel energy businesses or help the energy industry in some capacity.
The National Institute of Health offers its own selection of grants to assist for-profit businesses in the healthcare sector. Biomedical businesses can also find plenty of funds here. Currently, the NIH is focused on organizations that are working on things related to COVID-19 research, of course, but the programs vary throughout the year and are based on various public health needs.
The U.S. Department of Justice offers its own collection of grants that can be awarded to for-profit businesses that are working on projects that support public safety, law enforcement, or the criminal justice system. There are grants from the DOJ itself as well as from various agencies within the DOJ, and each will have its own application requirements and guidelines.
The Department of the Interior has grants available for several different businesses, including many that work for a profit. The grants are offered through several departments, including the Department of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Department, the National Park Service, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, among others. These funds will be awarded on a discretionary basis as related to each group or department.
Rural and agricultural developments and businesses can find funds here, as part of the USDA’s rural development efforts. These business grants are given to for-profit companies that are working in rural areas, improving a community, or assisting in the development of an area. Applications are accepted based on the exact grant program chosen, but there are millions of dollars in funds available.
The NIFA offers grants and funding for leadership and agricultural businesses that are making strides to help improve the industry and the economy as a whole. The grants also come with guidance and support, and while some grants are focused on nonprofits, there are some options here for the for-profit business.
The Amber Grant Program is a business grant program that’s set up specifically to offer funds to women running businesses in the U.S. This is a $10,000 grant that is awarded for seed money and other business expenses. All grant recipients awarded monthly grants will also be able to win an additional $25,000 grant to fund their business and provide operational or startup costs.
The STEP program awards grants to businesses that are involved in the export industry. There isn’t really a lot of information about this grant available online, but you can check qualifications and apply by contacting the Small Business Association’s Office of International Trade.
The Open Meadows Foundation is a women-focused organization that also helps improve communities and support small businesses. The grants available from this organization are offered in $2,000 amounts to businesses that show a need for the money. It's typically awarded to startups and very small businesses.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a host of grants for businesses that are working in the technology or science sector. These for-profit businesses can apply for various grants throughout the year based on what grant programs are running and when deadlines for applications take place. Any business in the tech or science field can benefit from applying for these funds.
The Department of Education has several grants available for people who are working in the education industry. There is an active list on their website for businesses that want to apply for the various available funds, and the ceiling for these awards can go as high as millions of dollars, so education businesses should definitely take note of these funds.
You are running a business—it shouldn’t be running you. If you’re busy applying for grants and funding your business, who’s tending to your customers? When you hire the dedicated receptionists at Smith.ai, you’ll never have to worry. We'll field all of your calls, messages, and other customer needs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plus, we’ll help you craft the perfect strategy to manage it all so that you can get back to taking care of business while we take care of your admin tasks and more.
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