For the 30+ million small businesses in America, grants represent something of a holy grail. Competition is fierce for debt-free cash, but if you dig deep enough, you may find people willing to support you and your professional ambitions.
When it comes to government business grants, there are probably more options available than you realized. For the duration of the pandemic, the U.S. Small Business Administration introduced a number of schemes to help struggling businesses. These include the Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL), which provides advances of up to $500,000 in accordance with your annual revenue. As the pandemic continues to drag out, affecting the profits of businesses, you may find that you’re still eligible to apply.
If you’re unaffected by COVID, you should check in with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). During normal times, they provide a host of grants and investments that can benefit startups and struggling businesses. Every state is run differently and it’s worth looking into the regional directory to see what resources are available to you.
Corporate grants tend to favor non-profit companies but there are a few available that you may be eligible to apply for. FedEx, for example, provides an annual grant program for small businesses with prizes of up to $50,000. Equally, Toyota’s ‘4Good’ program looks to support organizations involved in workforce readiness, inclusive mobility, financial inclusion, and community resilience. Then you have the Coca-Cola Foundation support scheme, which focuses on community support via sponsorship.
Many of the available corporate grants are more focused on specific criteria (i.e., women or veteran-owned businesses). If you are operating under specific circumstances, you may find that you’re qualified to apply. A major female-focused program is the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, which offers $100,000 for female entrepreneurs. Or, if you’re a veteran working in the food and beverage industry, you could look into the StreetShares Foundation grant, aimed at providing military vets with a helping business hand.
Tricks for Saving Money
If you’re just starting out, it could be worth forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) before the costs of running a business start to rack up. Although the process of founding a company costs money, if you register early as an LLC, you can benefit from limited liability, reduced tax, and less paperwork. Conditions depend on the state you’re operating in so make sure you check local regulations. You won’t even need to pay up in lawyer fees if you use company formation services. Whilst not a grant, services like ZenBusiness can save you equal amounts in the long term.
If you’re unable to invest your own money, you may consider equity financing. For the cost of some ownership, through equity financing, you can receive support and funding from a venture capitalist or local investors. Just remember that whoever invests in your business will be involved in its running and it’s important to consider whether they’ll be a good fit for you. Depending on how long-term your plans are, this initial investment may come to represent a bad deal (even if it does save money for now).
Whatever your business, if you’re starting out in America, there are plenty of options to help you succeed. Just remember, even when it comes to grants, nothing is truly free and the time it takes to apply, attached limitations, and increased paperwork all represent time that could be spent running the business itself!
Derek Goodman is an entrepreneur. He’d always wanted to make his own future, and he knew growing his own business was the only way to do that. He created his site Inbizability, to offer you tips, tricks, and resources so that you realize your business ability and potential now, not later.