It sounds a little too good to be true. Raise money and don’t worry about paying anybody back? How could I do that?
It’s actually pretty simple: small business grants.
The U.S. government awards $500 billion annually in Federal Assistance Agreements, consisting mostly of grants. More than $80 million is given out to individuals, colleges and businesses in the form of “free” government grants.
Unlike loans, grants don’t have to be paid back. They are pretty competitive, however, and many come with rigid requirements, so this is by no means “easy.” But nothing worth doing is easy, right?
So, how can you take advantage of this avenue as an entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level or help your business stay afloat?
Here is a brief overview of several ways you can apply for grants to help raise money you don’t have to pay back.
See Also: 7 Ways to Find Startup Funding
Small Business Innovation Research Program
The Small Business Innovation Research Program encourages small businesses to engage in research or development projects that have a high potential for commercialization. The SBIR program is meant to increase private-sector commercialization, stimulate technological innovation and encourage entrepreneurship.
Small Business Technology Transfer Program
The STTR program expands funding opportunities for federal innovation research and development. The STTR requires collaboration between the agency and your business. Every year, STTR requires five federal departments and agencies to set aside a portion of their R&D funds to award to non-profit small businesses.
There are also niche grants available for veterans and minority women.
In addition, here are just a few of the many options available in the corporate and private sector.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready
Verizon has created an exclusive pool of grants for Verizon Small Business Digital Ready participants. Complete two courses or coaching events to be eligible to apply for a $10,000 grant.
FedEx Small Business Grant
FedEx has a small business grant contest, where the company awards grants to 10 small businesses nationwide, with a grand prize a check of $25,000.
Chase Mission Main Street Grants
To raise awareness for the role small businesses play in their communities, JPMorgan Chase Bank provides yearly grants to 20 small businesses.