When times get tough, Americans seem to start their own businesses. In fact, according to CBS News, approximately 5 million businesses were launched in the United States in 2022 alone. Americans have created 15 million new businesses since the pandemic began in 2020.
Getting a business off the ground is difficult, but there are grants available to help entrepreneurs move forward. If you're a small business owner, you have all kinds of financial concerns to deal with, from keeping your business accounts in the black to knowing when to hire employees.
There are thousands of grant opportunities out there, waiting for the right applicant. In the meantime, here are some things to consider in 2024.
1. USDA Rural Development Business Program
The Rural Development Business Program provides financial support (and technical assistance) to promote the development of rural businesses. In addition to grants, USDA provides loans and financial guarantees. It's all about increasing business opportunities in rural areas. So, if you are looking to start a business in a less developed part of the country, this might be perfect for you.
2. U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA)
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency dedicated to helping minority businesses grow and compete in global markets. MBDA accomplishes this goal by providing companies with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to get off the ground and expand.
To customize our services, MBDA has poured resources into building centers, each designed to enhance your business in a different way. The four centers operated by MBDA are:
- MBDA Business Center
- MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center
- MBDA Export Center
- MBDA Federal Procurement Center
Thanks to the MBDA, minority-owned businesses are eligible for these targeted grants and loans.
3. U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
The Small Business Administration's (SBA) National Trade Expansion Program is designed to assist small businesses that wish to export their products. Because the SBA is national, standards for financial aid are set by each state's SBA office. Companies can use this funding to participate in foreign trade missions and shows, to enter overseas markets, and to undertake practical marketing tasks such as building websites and designing marketing materials for international audiences. You can use it to address your concerns.
4. Amber Grant Foundation
The Amber Grant Foundation exists to support women business owners. The foundation awards monthly grants of $10,000 to women entrepreneurs with outstanding careers, and each December she awards an additional $25,000 grant. Whether you run an online business or a brick-and-mortar store, $10,000 can go a long way in establishing your company.
Considering the number of communities in which Walmart has established itself, it's no surprise that the retail giant provides grants to local nonprofits. Grants range from $250 to $5,000 and are targeted to nonprofit businesses focused on one of eight areas:
- Community and economic development
- diversity and inclusion
- environmental sustainability
- Health and welfare services
- Hunger relief and healthy eating
- Public security
- Quality of life
6. IFundWomen Universal Grant
Another resource for women entrepreneurs is the IFundWomen Universal Grant. IFundWomen has provided more than $170 million in grants to business owners through partnerships with companies such as Visa, COMCAST, and Caress.
IFundWomen takes a holistic approach to supporting women business owners. IFundWomen doesn't just measure a company's success by the amount of funds raised, but also focuses on the overall well-being of business owners. According to the organization, business success depends on more than equipment and marketing budgets. Success depends on business owners' readiness to address problems, solve them, and pivot when necessary. To help women entrepreneurs build confidence and resilience, the grants will pay for traditional business expenses, as well as coaching, therapy and other health-related expenses.
7. National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
To date, NASE has awarded more than $1 million in grants to its members. Although you must have been a member of the organization for at least 990 days to apply, the NASE grant provides business owners up to $4,000 to help with things like training and marketing. During the first few years of running the business, having $4,000 as operating capital will be very helpful to him.
If you are interested in any of these grants, check out the link for that organization. If you can't find anything here that fits your specific situation, the best place to start your grant search is at Grants.gov. Grants.gov provides the most comprehensive database of U.S. government funding opportunities. There are literally thousands of grants waiting to be applied for, and there are opportunities for all types of businesses.
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