Corporate small-business grants
Many corporations and large companies have a philanthropic component that includes small-business grants. While some provide grants to nonprofits servicing specific industries only, some also give to for-profit companies.
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest: The company’s annual grant competition awards over $250,000 to 10 small businesses, including a $30,000 grant and $1,000 in FedEx print credits to its grand prize winners. The 2023 contest will announce winners in May. The contest is for U.S.-based for-profit small businesses that have been operating at least six months, with no more than 99 employees.
National Association for the Self-Employed: NASE members can apply for monthly small-business grants worth up to $4,000, as well as an annual $3,000 college scholarship for members’ dependents. Grants are awarded year-round, with completed applications reviewed quarterly in January, April, July and October.
Fast Break for Small Business: LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League have partnered with Accion Opportunity Fund to offer $10,000 grants and up to $500 in LegalZoom services for small-business owners. This program focuses on helping businesses in underserved and underrepresented communities. Applications are open twice a year.
Visa Everywhere Initiative: The Visa Everywhere Initiative is a grant competition that offers funding to tech-forward startups across five different regions around the globe. Applicants must show how they’ve developed a product or service that creatively involves Visa’s products.
Visa will select the top five finalists in each region — and these businesses will move forward to a global finals event. The overall winner of the competition is awarded a $100,000 small-business grant. Additional grants are awarded to second- and third-place finalists, audience favorites, as well as regional and local winners.
Venmo Small Business Grant: The Venmo Small Business Grant program awards 20 eligible small businesses with $10,000 in free funding — plus, public promotion on the Venmo and PayPal websites and social media accounts, business resources, as well as professional consulting services. To qualify, you must have a U.S. Venmo account and valid business profile on Venmo in good standing. You also must have less than $50,000 in annual sales and 10 employees or fewer.
Lenovo Evolve Small Grant: The Lenovo Evolve Small initiative is a program designed to support small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada by offering grants and technology donations. This year, the Lenovo Evolve Grant provided 30 small businesses with $10,000 in funding, a Lenovo laptop and business support.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Grant Program: Verizon’s Digital Ready program gives business owners the opportunity to access free courses and educational materials, as well as apply for grant funding. To be eligible for a $10,000 small-business grant, entrepreneurs must register through the Verizon website and complete at least two of the following: courses, live coaching or community events. Once these tasks are completed, you can submit a grant application. Verizon is offering a total of $500,000 in grant awards for 2023.
Grants to start a business
If you’re looking for startup business grants, you may have more difficulty finding available federal grants. Some state and local governments, as well as private companies, however, offer startup grants for small businesses.
Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant: Incfile’s Fresh Start Business Grant offers a grant of $2,500 to help new entrepreneurs cover startup costs. The winning business owner will also receive free formation services in their state, free Registered Agent services for a year and a free tax consultation from Incfile. To qualify, you must be planning to start a new business or grow an existing business. Incfile also offers a Young Entrepreneur Grant for students interested in starting their own business.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Awards: The annual Dream Big Awards recognizes a small business for its contributions to the U.S. economy and offers a grant of $25,000. The competition also gives awards to businesses in a variety of categories, such as emerging business and green/sustainable business, with associated prizes. Although you must have an existing business to qualify, you need to have been in operation for only one year.
Hello Alice Grant Platform: Hello Alice partners with a variety of companies, such as Progressive and DoorDash, to offer different grants for small businesses, including startups. You can create an account to receive notifications about new opportunities and apply to the grants that are relevant to your business.
Amber Grant for Women: WomensNet offers the $10,000 monthly Amber Grant and awards two $25,000 grants on an annual basis. The foundation also gives additional funding throughout the year. To qualify for any of the grants offered by WomensNet, businesses only have to fill out a single application. Startups and existing women-owned businesses are eligible.
COVID-19 small-business grants
Although many federal, state and private grant programs have stopped accepting applications, there are still a handful of options available for small businesses that need relief as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what you need to know:
SBA small-business grants: COVID-19 relief grant programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration — including the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund — are closed and no longer accepting new applications. Similarly, the period to apply for the $10,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance, or grant, has also expired.
State and local coronavirus small-business grants: Some state and local governments are still running grant programs that are specific to COVID-19 relief. For example, small businesses in Los Angeles County can access free financing up to $20,000 (up to $25,000 for nonprofits) through the LA County Economic Opportunity Grant Program.
Similarly, in El Paso, Texas, small businesses can apply for grants of $10,000 through the City of El Paso Small Business COVID Grants Program. You can visit your secretary of state, department of economic development or other official government websites in your area to see what options may be available for your business.
Specialty small-business grants
To help spread entrepreneurial success across demographics, many organizations focus funding efforts on specific communities.
We’ve put together lists of:
Alternatives to small-business grants
Finding and applying for the right grants for your small business can be difficult, as well as time-consuming. If you don’t qualify for certain grants, there are other ways to fund your business. Here are some avenues to explore:
Small-business loans. Compare loan options — including bank loans, SBA loans, business lines of credit, term loans and equipment financing — plus, learn how to choose the right financing for your needs. Small-business credit cards. Explore dozens of cards and find the best choice for funding your everyday business purchases — and earn rewards in the process. Crowdfunding for business. Raise money for your small business by tapping into the power of the internet and promoting your product or service through a crowdfunding campaign.