Free money to start a business

Starting a small business is no easy feat. First you have to hone the skills required, then you need to refine your idea to a sharp edge, and after all that work, you have to overcome the massive barrier of funding.

Sure, there are some people who are wealthy enough to fund their own business ventures, but for most of us, we need to find other means of getting our business rolling. Luckily, in our business-oriented world, there are many methods of raising money that could further your company.

The best method of acquiring funding for your business is through the use of small business grants. There are many state and federal grants that you can take advantage of if you’re trying to raise funds for your business. The best part is that, unlike investors, the providers of the grants won’t expect anything in return except that you use the money appropriately and not to buy yourself a new Lamborghini.

Here’s a list of 17 Government Grants for Small Business for you to check out:

1. Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)
2. National Science Foundation (NSF)
3. NASA
4. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)
5. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
6. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
7. Energy Department’s Office of Science (EDOS)
8. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
9. Department of Defense
10. Department of Transportation – Volpe Center
11. Department of Justice Grants (DOJ)
12. National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
13. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
14. Department of Energy Grant (DOE)
15. InnovateHER Women Business Challenge
16. Green Technology Business Grant Program
17. Recovery Challenge Grant

Small Business Grants

 Small Business Grants 

1. Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

The SBIR has always strived to further technology and help people succeed in all their entrepreneurial pursuits. If you prove that your business model is sound and the idea behind it is beneficial to society, you’d have a good shot of getting one of the SBIR grants available. The size of the grants start out at around $150,000 but if your idea manages to pique the interest of one of the benefactors, you could get yourself as much as a million dollars for your business. Bear in mind that most million-dollar grants are follow-ups after you’ve already put the $150,000 to use and displayed promising results.

2. National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation offers grants to businesses that are in specific categories — specifically medicine, engineering, and of course, science. The topics tend to shift every year, but if your business falls into one of these categories, you might be able to get yourself some free funding. This is great for all the startups that are trying to better the lives of their consumers with medical gadgets or those who strive to make the world greener with their clean technology that will make energy cheaper and the ice caps larger.

3. NASA

It may sound far-fetched, but you could actually get a grant for your business from the hardworking humans behind the moon landing (yes, it was real.) Not only will you get money to further your business pursuits, but you’ll have the benefit of bragging about the fact that you collaborate with NASA. If that’s not good press then I don’t know what is. Energy efficiency and alternative fuel sources are two topics that particularly interest NASA. Space travel could be a whole lot easier if someone were to come up with a new type of fuel that helps our astronauts go further than anyone has gone before. You could also start building spaceships like Elon Musk if you so choose. The point is that you should target an area that directly benefits NASA if you want to receive one of their grants.

4. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another Government program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development areas. Their goal is to support scientific and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds to build a strong national economy. This programs is structured in three phases:

Phase I – Analyse the merit and commercial potential of each business proposal prior to the Federal support. This phase the usually amount awarded is no more than $150,000.00 per 1 year.
Phase II – Only business that were awarded on phase I are eligible for phase II. The funding on this phase is based on the results achieved on phase I. Normally the award on this phase do not exceed $1,000,000 total cost for 2 years.
Phase II – If appropriate, phase III is directed to those business to pursue commercialization resulting from prior phases.

5. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

If your research is trying to further our understanding of medicine and all the solutions necessary to keep our fellow humans alive then you could try to get your business a grant from the National Institute of Health. The National Institute of Health is a subset of the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the main concerns that led to the creation of this agency along with its grant program is the idea that someone may come up with a technology that could save lives only to not turn the idea into a reality for lack of funding. Businesses that are developing biomedical technologies such as nanites, prosthetics, vaccines, and other things that could treat diseases or even prevent them will have a greater chance of getting an NIH grant. Much like with the NASA grants, the best way to get a hold of an NIH grant is by focusing on a topic that is both relevant to the agency and benefits them directly. Remember, what you don’t pay back in cash, you should pay back in knowledge.

6. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland Security offers provides grants to state and local jurisdictions that can be used for training, exercises, planning, personnel, and equipment to prepare for many threats and hazards. These small business grants are funded to companies that work in the areas of border and maritime security, biological defense, cyber security, or explosives.

7. Energy Department’s Office of Science (EDOS)

The Energy Department’s office of science also offers grants to small businesses who need them. The businesses need to fall under the categories of energy efficiency, clean energy generation, or research into environmental sciences like global warming or the impact of fossil fuels if they hope to get a grant. Many grants are provided to those who research these topics, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a non-research grant. For instance, if a company that was producing energy-efficient equipment that reduces the carbon footprint of humanity, it would stand a good chance of getting an EDOS grant to expand operations so that it can reach more people with the beneficial technology that it has to offer.

8. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Environmental Protection Agency offers small business grants for those organizations that are focused on the sustainability and environment. Every year, EPA awards more than $4 billion in funding for grants and other assistance agreements.

9. Department of Defense

You’ll find that most firearms developers have gotten a grant from the Department of Defense at one time or another. Regardless of whether your invention benefits the Air Force, Navy, or even DARPA, you should really consider getting your funding straight from the US government. Bear in mind that you don’t have to be producing weapons to get a Department of Defense grant. If your science has the potential to be applied in a military context, you could easily snatch a grant up. Guidance systems fall under this category despite the fact that they aren’t a weapon on their own because they can be used to fire missiles at enemies of the state. Even if your business doesn’t produce weapons, it would still be wise to outline the potential military applications of whatever you produce as it will greatly boost your chances of landing the grant. What better place to get a grant than one of the most heavily funded government agencies in all of the world

10. Department of Transportation – Volpe Center

The Department of Transportation participates in the Small Business Innovation Research program. The Department offers small business grants to business that pursue research on and develop innovate solutions to the national transportation. Over the past five years, the Department of Transportation has invested $50 million in qualified small businesses.

11. Department of Justice Grants (DOJ)

The Department of Justice allocates grant funds to projects that support law enforcement, public safety activities, programs to improve the criminal justice system.

12. National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

The NIST offers small business grants to business that are related to technology areas, such as Cybersecurity and Privacy, Health and Bioscience, Exploratory Measurement Science, and more. The Institute allocates funds to help small these small business with research and development opportunities.

13. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The Technology Partnerships Office of NOAA offers small business grants for research and development in coastline communities, such as healthy ocean monitoring.

14. Department of Energy Grant (DOE)

The Department of Energy together with SBIR offer grants to small business that are looking for resources and/or financing to support an energy project.

15. InnovateHER Women Business Challenge

The InnovateHER Grant is sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA awards the grants to businesses developing innovative products and services that help influence and empower the lives of women and families. The applications are hosted by universities, economic development organizations and others.

16. Green Technology Business Grant Program

The Green Technology Business Grant program is a state local grant designed to attract and expand green technology businesses.

17. Recovery Challenge Grant

The Recovery Challenge Grant is offered by the US Department of the Interior” Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS).  The Department awards small business up to $3 million, for those who companies are taking actionable steps to help prevent endangerment and reintroduce endangered species into their natural habitats.

Conclusion

There are many grants out there that you could go for, but we’ve found that it’s best if you target grants in your niche.

You should try to niche down based on your field. The SBIR grant could be a viable option if your business falls into the category of research and development. This is great for scientific startups that are struggling to explain the complex mechanics of their idea to crowdfunds and investors.

We hope that you’ve learned something in this article. If you did learn something, please share this article with fellow business owners who are trying to make their way in this tough world. Who knows, it might help them climb the wall of funding and take their business to the level it always deserved to be at.