Is my business eligible?
Federal and state governments don’t provide grants to:
- Start a business
- Pay off debt
- Cover operational expenses
Grants from the federal government are authorized through bills passed by Congress and signed by the President – and grant authority varies widely across the various agencies (such as SBA, USDA, DOE, etc.).
Federal grants are typically aimed at specific industries and causes identified by the government. These usually include scientific and medical research, conservation efforts, and so on.
Sometimes at the state government level, business grants or “discretionary incentive grants” are available, but they’re still closely tied to the agency’s agenda. These grants usually serve to advance regional economies and promote causes, such as clean energy development. Unfortunately for small businesses, however, state grants are often geared toward large businesses. They may also require that the grant be matched or combined with other forms of financing such as a loan.
If your small business is engaged in scientific research and development (R&D), you may qualify for federal grants under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
SBIR and STTR programs encourage small businesses to undertake R&D projects that:
- Meet federal R&D objectives
- Have high potential for commercialization
You can explore SBIR.gov to learn more about specific SBIR and STTR programs and opportunities throughout the federal government.