Melvin Feller Business Group in and Dallas Texas and Oklahoma City Oklahoma. Now serving Houston Texas.
I have taken the guesswork out of getting a loan in the United States and have done the research for you, compiling a list of loan and financing resources for your small business. New business? No problem! Low personal credit score? I have got you covered. From startups to established businesses, these resources can help any entrepreneur achieve your business goals.
Small Business Grants: Federal
Although there are plenty of federal small business grants, they are primarily open to companies in the science, technology, or health fields. If your business is involved in research and development or in scientific initiatives — including environmental and climate initiatives — then federal grant programs might be able to cover some of your expenses.
Sometimes, grant winners receive the funding directly from the federal government. However, in most cases, the federal government just determines eligibility but doles out grant money to state and local governments. States and localities then distribute the funds to small businesses.
Here are the top federal small business grants:
Small Business Innovation Research Program
The SBIR encourages small businesses engaged in research and development that has commercial potential. The SBIR aims to stimulate technological innovation and scientific entrepreneurship. Eleven government agencies participate in the program, and each creates their own eligibility guidelines, research and development topics, and reviews applications.
Grants start at $150,000, but if your business shows promise, then you can receive additional grants of up to $1 million.
Small Business Technology Transfer Program
The STTR has similar goals, but requires its small business applicants to collaborate with a research institution. Five federal agencies currently participate in in this program, setting aside a bit of their budget to work with small businesses. As with the SBIR grants, these grants start at $150,000 and then go up to $1 million. That is where this small business grant comes into play. Let us take a quick look at the five main federal agencies that participate in the SBIR and STTR programs.
National Science Foundation
The NSF accepts proposals in the areas of engineering, science, or medicine, though specific topics change from year to year. They even have a YouTube channel to help you get your application in order.
What is cooler than collaborating with NASA? Being paid to collaborate with NASA. Plenty of technology sectors are important to develop for NASA, but they are especially interested in energy efficiency, alternative and renewable energy or efficient ways of building space crafts.
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health, a subset of the Department of Health & Human Services, offers small business grants to companies researching and developing commercially innovative biomedical technologies. Save some money while you’re saving lives.
Department of Energy
The Energy Department’s Office of Science also participates in these two small business grants. Topics include environmental science, clean energy, and material science. Check out their hour-long program overview webinar for more details.
Department of Defense
Whether your technology research and development is meant for the Army, Navy, Air Force, or DARPA’s advanced initiatives, the Department of Defense will help you fund and commercialize your products.
There are also a few governmental agencies that offer small business grants for the Small Business Innovation Research program only. The STTR mandates collaboration between a research institution and your small business, but the SBIR does not — which could be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on what you are looking for. Let’s take a look.
National Institute of Food & Agriculture
This branch of the Department of Agriculture supports research and development in the agricultural field specifically. Topics include forestry, food science and nutrition, aqua-cultural, bio fuel products, animal protection, and more.
National Institute of Standards & Technology
A division of the Department of Commerce, NIST gives small business grants to companies developing technology under topics like cybersecurity, manufacturing, software, and trade. Note that it also deals with energy, healthcare, and others — you are free to apply to some or all of these departments if you qualify for the SBIR!
Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA rewards businesses looking to advance green technology and sustainable scientific developments.
Department of Transportation
The Department of Transportation’s transportation systems center, Volpe, accepts solicitations for aid in developing technology regarding aviation, railroads, and highways, but make sure to check their updated topic listings before you apply.
The Department of Homeland Security provides grants to small businesses that work in the areas of border and maritime security, chemical and biological defense, cyber security, explosives, or first responder group technology.
Department of Education
The Department of Education’s SBIR grant topics are listed under the National Center for Education Research branch, and range from pre-reading and pre-writing technology developments to research that deals with STEM skills, language learning, and behavioral learning patterns.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
The Technology Partnerships Office of NOAA offers small business grants for developments and research in coastline communities and economies, healthy ocean monitoring, climate adaptation and mitigation, and much more.
Beyond SBIR and STTR, the two major federal research and development grant programs, some Federal government agencies also offer some specific grants to small businesses. We trawled through a few databases of
Federal small business grants — of which the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is the authoritative source — and pulled the most important. Still, make sure to search yourself, especially if your small business is involved in agriculture, public health, or sustainable development! These offerings update regularly.
Rural Energy for America Program
This grant program, run by the Department of Agriculture, centers on small businesses in eligible rural areas looking to purchase, construct, or install renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvement technologies. You can collaborate it with a USDA loan guaranty as well, and together they will back up to 75% of your eligible project costs.
Value Added Producer Grant
If you are an agricultural producer, the VAPG program could help with you with working capital expenses, ranging from processing, to marketing and advertising, to inventory and salary expenses.
Distance Learning and Tele-Medicine Grant
The Department of Agriculture offers this grant program for small businesses and agricultural producers that are modernizing education and health in rural communities. Specifically, these grants are an option if your company provides education or health services through telecommunications. Awards range from $50,000 to $500,000.
3D Elevation Grant
The Department of the Interior is offering a grant to small businesses that can creatively leverage LIDAR and map data to come up with natural 3D imaging of the nation’s topographical boundaries. This is a great grant for design and technology firms.
Cyber Tip Line Grant
This grant program, run by the Department of Homeland Security, offers money to small businesses that provide services and programs that help prevent sex trafficking and exploitation of children.
Recovery Challenge Grant
The Fish and Wildlife Service, a branch of the Department of the Interior, makes the Recovery Challenge grant to researchers and small businesses that are taking actionable steps to help prevent endangerment and reintroduce endangered species into their natural habitats. Awards go up to $3 million.