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If you've tried starting a startup or currently in the works of trying to make a startup or small business, then you  already know how hard it is to get funding to get the ball rolling. Well lucky you for you here at BizGrips, we've put together a comprehensive guide on government grants for startups!

Overview

Before you go off and grant yourself a grant to start your business, it's important to understand what a grant is, why they exist, and the difference between a grant and a loan. So, without further adieu let's dive in! A grant, put simply is a predetermined sum of money that has caveats and limits on how it can be spent. Furthermore, the government gives grants in order to develop the MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprises) sector of it's nation. This sector is crucial for growth of a nation and is the building blocks of expansion, and competition with other nations so that a nation does not fall behind. Because of it's important the government will poor tax dollars into giving grants that it sees as beneficial to it's countries growth.

This is so cool! Because there are so many different business ideas that have vast potential for growth and development of not only the country, but the world! However, not any business qualifies for a grant. It's important to note, government grants for startups tend to go towards innovation and scientific research.

Government Grants For Startups vs Business Loans

Government grants are very different than a loan. Firstly loans needed to be repaid, typically with interest. Grants, on the other hand have no interest, and don't get repaid. The ideas is that your business will repay the nation with it's services and value it adds rather than repaying with money. Government grants for startups and small business encourage meaningful impact on the community, and this is how a business repays their grant.

One important thing to consider is how quickly you need the money. Government grants, due to their competitive nature, tend to take much longer to get. You also need to decide whether you are able to repay a loan. In the case you cannot repay a loan, a government grant is your only option.

Self-funding your business is the best option. However, that's not always possible, and waiting around for funding can come organically can take years. Below is a pros vs cons of government grants vs loans to help you make the best choice for your business:

Pros of Government GrantsCons of Government Grants
No repayment necessaryMoney can only be used for specific purposes
Abundant federal agencies offering grantsCan be difficult to meet qualification requirements
Not based on credit scoreHighly competitive (everyone wants free money)
Can take a long time to get
Usually only offered once a year

Pros vs Cons of Government Grants

Pros of LoansCons of Loans
Money can be used for whatever you'd likeInterest
Shorter approval processLoans put company in debt
Not repaying debt can lead to bankruptcy of your business

Pros vs Cons of Business Loans

Types of Government Grants for Startups

As mentioned, there are abundant federal agencies offering grants for small businesses and startups. Your job is to find the entity that aligns with your vision for your business. To do that, take a look at the comprehensive list below of various types of government grants offered in the United States.

Finding Government grants for startups. Finding grants for startups

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

This government grant is given to startups trying to make technological innovation. There are two main tiers to this grant:

  • Phase 1 - $150,000
  • Phase 2 - $1,000,000

To learn more about this grant and get in-depth information visit https://www.sbir.gov/

US Economic Development Administration (EDA)

Startups and small businesses fostering economic development should look into this grant. According to their website,

"EDA provides economic development financial assistance to communities so they can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in a way that works best for them. Through its network of regionally-based staff and portfolio of flexible grant tools, EDA helps communities experiencing economic distress, take control of their future and position themselves for economic prosperity and resiliency."

The goal is to help businesses start and grow n the United States. For more information visit their website here

Department of Education Grants (DOE)

Education related businesses are a great thing to help the community and can be very rewarding! For this very reason, the government has specific grants for startups pursuing education related content. The department of education government grant for startups is specifically engineered for businesses wishing to further instruct and teach the community. Check it out here!

US Department of Agriculture Grants (USDA)

Small businesses and startups pushing forward the agriculture, telecommunications infrastructure, or rural energy industries should investigate this grant. Interestingly enough, this government grant for startups fosters not only agricultural development, but also telecommunications infrastructure and rural energy.

In the event that your small business or startup is in this industry, get more information about USDA government grants for startups here.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Grants (NIST)

This government grant for startups is targeted towards those pursuing information technology. Read more about them here.

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

Are you interested in starting a business participating in foreign trade campaigns? Then check out the State trade Expansion Program (STEP). This is a type of government grant offered to those businesses focused on website globalization or e-commerce expansion. Learn more about it here.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Check out this government grant for startups and small businesses if your business is to be involved with scientific research that will better the environment. Learn more about the environmental Protection agency government grant for small business here.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Grants

Last but not least, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers government grants for small businesses that are in the market of weather, climate, fisheries management, coastal restoration or marine commerce. If that's you, then check out the grant and learn more here.

Conclusion

After reading this you should now know where to get started on finding a government grant for your small business or startup. Furthermore, this will give you a founding block to begin growing your business, which will save you time and get the ball rolling faster! If you have any questions or comments leave them in the comments below!

Catch you on the flip,

-Noah

P.S. If you are wanting to, or have ever wanted to start a business, but are lost on where to start, click here and check this out