Grants to Start a Business

America is a country powered by small business. In fact, 89% of businesses in the USA have less than 20 employees, and 98% have less than 100.

Small business spreads across every industry – from baking bread to writing security software. Despite their many differences, one factor unites them all; they all need money to sustain, improve and grow. Whether you’re a small business, a tech startup or even in the medical research field, there are many small business grants available to help your business thrive.

How to get free money from the government to start a business? Unlike business loans, business grants don’t need to be repaid. If you have an innovative goal and a strong vision, government grants can help lift your new or expanding business to a new level.

Government grants are easier to obtain than ever before. And most grants can be applied for directly through the relevant department’s website.

We’ve compiled 7 grants to start a business, with links directly to their funding pages.

1. US Department of Education (DoED)

There is a range of grants available to fund innovation and develop commercial products within the US education system.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides funding of up to $1.1 million over a 2 year period. These grants help to develop products which address problems within the general and special education fields.

The scheme funds the development of new educational technologies such as games, assessments, virtual reality software, and artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring.

Previous recipients of the federal grant have gone on to win industry awards for technology and innovation.

2. US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA is the national body that supports research and development in the areas of farming, forestry and food.

Through their Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, grants of up to $700,000 are available over a 2 year period. USDA offers grants to businesses making technological advances which lead to significant public and environmental benefits.

Areas of business that meet funding requirements include forestry, animal protection, aqua-culture, biofuels, small-to-mid size farms as well as food science.

In addition, the SBIR grant scheme specifically aims to encourage female-owned as well as socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses.

3. National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

NIST promotes innovation and global competitiveness in measurement science, standards and technology. It is especially involved in areas regarding economic security.

NIST provides federally funded grants for small businesses developing technology in areas including software, energy, manufacturing, healthcare and cyber-security. The aim of the grants to foster the growth of these technologies into the commercial space.

Funding of up to $400,000 is available over a 2-phase period. In 2018, 80% of grants were awarded to companies with less than 20 employees.