Skip to main content

Original text

Powered by Google TranslateTranslate
Powered by Google TranslateTranslate
How to Get a Small Business Grant
by Gerri Detweiler
March 7, 2024

Understanding Small Business Grants

If you’re looking for small business grants you’re not alone. Many business owners are hoping they can find a grant to help them start or grow their small businesses.  

Grants offer money that doesn’t have to be repaid and that’s very attractive to many entrepreneurs. But finding—and landing—a small business grant takes research and work. Here’s how to get started. 

Who Makes Small Business Grants?

First, understand that there are hundreds of small business grants offered every year. (While this article focuses on grants for for-profit businesses, much of the information also applies to grants for nonprofits.) 

The three main funding sources are:

  • Federal government grants
  • State and local grants
  • Private organizations and foundations

Later in this article, we’ll suggest resources for searching for each. 

Tip: Sign up to get email alerts from your SCORE chapter. Many will alert you to local grants as they become available.

How to Find Grants

Searching for grants takes time and effort; there’s no shortcut, and a grant shouldn’t be considered “easy” money. If you are serious about applying for and receiving a grant, you will have to regularly look for opportunities. Subscription services, such as those listed below, may ease your search by alerting you to grants that meet your criteria. 

Here are some resources you can use to find grants: is a website operated by the federal government. It lists grants from different government agencies. You can register for free at Note that if your business does not have a D-U-N-S number, you will need to request one. (It’s free.) This will be used as an identifier for your business in the federal government’s system. It may also be required for state or local grants. and Foundation Directory Online are two additional resources that provide up-to-date information on available grants. Both charge a subscription fee; your local library might have a subscription if money is tight. Your librarian can also help you find other resources to search for grants. 

Tips for Success

If you find the perfect grant, you’ll want to give your business the best shot possible at landing that funding. Most grants are competitive, and you’ll need to stand out. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Make sure your business plan is up-to-date and compelling.
  • Perfect your “elevator pitch.” 
  • Make sure your bookkeeping is up-to-date.
  • Nurture your fans; some grants require “votes,” and having an email list or social media following will help you get the votes for your business.
  • Understand the grantor’s motivations. What are they trying to accomplish with this grant?
  • Follow directions exactly.
  • Ask your SCORE mentor or a trusted colleague to review your application before you submit it. 
  • Don’t wait until the last minute! Note deadlines and try to apply early if possible. 

There are many business grants available, and the businesses awarded these grants often demonstrate how they will use the money to solve a business challenge or take their business to the next level. Try to present your grant application the way you’d present your business to a customer or client. 

Startup Business Grants

There aren’t a lot of grants to start a brand-new business. In particular, the federal government does not give grants to begin a business. But don’t let that stop you from investigating your options. 

If your goal is to start a business, your first step—before you try to find a grant—is to create a business plan. This will allow you to understand how much money your business needs and how you will successfully use funds. Your local SCORE chapter is a great place to start. You can use their free services to learn how to create a business plan and grow your business. 

Alternatives to Grants

A grant is not the only way to fund a small business. In addition to grants, you may want to look at financing, including: 

  • SBA loans: These include a variety of loan programs (up to $5 million with low-interest rates).
  • Microloans: These are smaller loans often made by non-profit organizations.
  • Crowdfunding: Raise money online from individuals or groups.
  • Business credit cards: low-rate credit cards may provide small amounts of funding.
  • Small business loans: A variety of multipurpose small business financing options are available. 

Some of these options are available to newer and established businesses. 

For detailed information on how to get a small business grant, watch the recording of How to Find and Get A Small Business Grant

About the author
Gerri Detweiler
Gerri Detweiler has more than twenty years of experience guiding individuals through the confusing world of credit, and has earned a reputation as a reliable and independent resource on personal and small business credit. She serves as Education Director for Nav, developing educational programs and content for small business owners.
Read full bio
712 H St NE PMB 98848
Washington, DC 20002

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

Chat generously provided by:LiveChat

In partnership with
Jump back to top