Exploring how to access business grants, with examples of interesting grant options in the U.S. and Canada.
As a business owner, your demand for working capital can be met through multiple funding solutions. One of these routes to accessing capital is through business grants.
Grants exist with local governments as well as private foundations. They can include cash grants, equity grants, interest-free loans, microfinancing and more, and many don’t need to be paid back, making it an attractive option. However, competition for grants can be high, and the grant writing process can be quite intensive. So it’s important to have enough time to focus on submitting a solid application—and you may want to even get expert help with your submission.
Grants to help growing businesses
There are so many different grants available. However, some are only available in specific regions, for certain industries or types of businesses. Be sure to read the details about each grant to confirm if your business will qualify.
Here are interesting grants and associations as an example of what’s out there:
U.S. Business Grants
Black Founder Grant
The Black Founder Startup Grant program provides grants of up to $10,000 to black or multiracial women and non-binary businesspeople. The program accepts new applicants on an ongoing basis and is open to any entrepreneur with a legally registered business.
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
Since 2006, the NASE has distributed more than $1,000,000 in new funding to its members. They have grants to assist with training, education marketing and more. Note that you must be a member for 90 days before you are able to apply.
FedEx Small Business Grant Startup
FedEx offers grants through contests that are designed to help support small businesses around the United States. FedEx also has a lot of great resources for small businesses to utilize throughout their startup journey.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are programs that encourage small businesses to engage in Research and Development with the potential for commercialization. SBIR and STTR offer grant money for businesses through their awards program.
Canadian Business Grants
Government of Canada
A good place to start learning more about the grant process and details you’ll need to pull together is the Government of Canada Business grants and financing portal. From their Business Benefits Finder, you’ll see what opportunities exist for your organization.
Innovate BC Hiring, Mentorship and Research Grants
This provincial organization offers multiple grants to help growing businesses including:
- Hiring grants for hiring young people to subsidize their salaries and build up the pool of talent.
- Mentorship grants for small and medium-sized tech companies to help grow their businesses.
- Research grants to commercialize a special project.
Local Chambers of Commerce
Whether you’re already a member of a local Chamber of Commerce or not, they may provide opportunities to apply for grants. For example, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce offers grants of up to $5,000 “to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses to reopen safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.”
How do I find more grants?
There are even more funding opportunities out there. However, it can be difficult to find these grants on your own. So how do you go about finding what’s available and if you qualify?
Thankfully, there are great resources online that make it easier for entrepreneurs to access all the information they need to know when it comes to business grants. Here are some great places you can get started:
- Foundation Center
- Shopify’s list of small business grants
- Canada Startups funding database
- Futurpreneur Canada
Funding to supplement grants
How will you know if your business qualifies for grants? How much funding are you eligible for from a grant program? And how does the grant writing process work?
These are all questions that come up when small businesses consider applying for grants.
Fortunately, there are some great resources online that make it easier for entrepreneurs to access all the information they need to know when it comes to business grants. Hopefully, this helps you get started on the journey to accessing the right funding to grow your business.