Understanding federal and state grants for small business

understanding federal and state government grants

understanding federal and state government grantsGrants can be awarded from Federal, State, and Private sources and can be used for a variety of purposes. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support a law of the United States.

State and Private grants can be awarded to a small business, non-profit, or individual recipients. Small business grants may be available in your own home state.

Who is Eligible for State and Private Grants

While the Federal government does not offer small business grants to individuals, your State and Local government offers direct small business grants and grants to individuals.

Private Foundations and Companies also offer grants to small businesses and individuals. Your State may also offer other types of financial assistance designed to encourage and assist entrepreneurs in starting or expanding a small business.

Research your State’s website to find information on types of grants and the application process.As for Private Foundation grant and grants from Companies, a more extensive and time-consuming search will have to be launched. The Internet and the Library are good places to start.

Some category of grants you may be eligible for:

  • Women in Business Grants
  • Grants for Minorities in Business
  • Pre-K through 12 Educational Grants
  • Low Income Housing and Repairs Grants
  • Seed money or start-up grants
  • Research and Technology
  • Charter School Grants
  • Community Development Grants
  • Health Care Grants
  • After School Grants
  • Personal Needs and Cash Grants
  • Non-Profit Grants
  • Crime Prevention
  • Business
  • Child Care
  • Personal Grants to Attend US Colleges
  • 1st Time Home Buyers/Owners
  • Adult Education
  • Single Parent Grants
  • Farms and Farming Grants
  • Real Estate Investment
  • College Grants
  • Home Improvement
  • Rental Housing
  • Single Mother
  • Grants for Writers and People in the Arts

Who is Eligible for a Federal Grant:

Government Organizations

  • State Governments
  • Local Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments

Education Organizations

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public and State Controlled Institutions of Higher
  • Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

Public Housing Organizations

  • Public Housing Authorities
  • Indian Housing Authorities

Non-Profit Organizations

For-Profit Organizations (other than small businesses)

Small Businesses

Small business loans and small business grants may be awarded to companies that meet the size standards that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established for most industries in the economy. Small Business Loans are not grants. For more information on SBA Loans from the Small Business Administration visit their website: www.sba.gov


An individual submits a grant on their behalf, and not on behalf of a company, organization, institution, or government. Most federal grants are awarded to organizations planning major projects of benefit to their community. For example:

  • A neighborhood street paving project
  • A state-wide program to re-train displaced workers
  • A project to attract new businesses to a depressed downtown area
  • A regional water conservation program
  • A county-wide flood control project

The typical entities that receive federal grants are other federal agencies, states, cities, colleges and universities, and research organizations.

Federal Grants are issued by 26 grant-making agencies and these grants fall into the following 21 categories:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts
  • Business and Commerce
  • Community Development
  • Disaster Prevention and Relief
  • Education
  • Employment, Labor & Training
  • Energy
  • Environmental Quality
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Health
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Humanities
  • Information and Statistics
  • Law, Justice and Legal Services
  • Natural Resources
  • Regional Development
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Services and Income
  • Security
  • Transportation

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