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5 Levels of Free Grant Money for U.S. Small Businesses

Free grant money for small businesses is available from several levels of government and the private sector.

Sometimes, the term for the money is “business hardship grants.” Another term is “economic relief payments.”

Many types of local business-to-consumer companies are eligible for grants. In addition, business-to-business organizations such as manufacturers and technology companies can qualify for specific grants.

Grants, by definition, do not require repayment.

However, most grants do require a lot of supporting paperwork to demonstrate proof of eligibility. In some cases, a business needs to show where and how they spend the grant money.

There are hundreds of billions of dollars of available grant money in the United States.

The best approach for most businesses is to apply for multiple grants — four or more.

Small businesses can receive tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant money by locating sources and following the right processes.

1. Assistance from the Federal Government

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers two types of grants.

There may be grants available from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for businesses involved in scientific research or development.

The SBA’s 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program helps eligible businesses be competitive for federal, state, and local government contracts.

2. State Business Grants

State-provided grant money varies widely between states. Many state grants are annual programs based on the current year’s budget.

In 2022, the State of Michigan launched the Growing MI Business Grant Program to deliver $409 million of support to Michigan Businesses.

New York State has a $35 million Global NY Fund for small and medium-sized businesses.

Check your local state for grant programs.

3. Money From Local Governments

Local government grants tend to be small-dollar amounts compared to federal and state grants. 

4. Corporate Small Business Grants

Many corporations offer gift money to small businesses.

For example, LegalZoom partnered with professional basketball leagues to grant $10,000 to women-owned businesses as part of its Fast Break grant program.

Merchant Maverick offered its Opportunity Grants Program. These were grants of up to $10,000 for AAPI-owned businesses in foodservice businesses. 

In June 2022, Tito’s Handmade Vodka opened applications for $250,000 in grants, to be distributed across ten small businesses.

5. Foundations

One example of foundation grant money is the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership in Pennsylvania.

Another example is the Maine Technology Initiative for innovative businesses in the Pine Tree State.

Finding Sources of Money

As with looking for and buying a house, hiring a specialist — that is paid on the back end for a successful transaction — can be the quickest path.

The fast track to grant money applications for your US-based business

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