Written by Lyle Solomon
The pandemic has had a significant impact on many small businesses. This is arguably the toughest challenge small business entrepreneurs have ever faced. Our government stepped in to help with several grants.
What is a business grant?
A grant is a financial gift from federal, state, county, and local governments, corporations, or private enterprises to a person, business, corporation, or organization. The funds are used to help businesses expand their business. The best part about grants is that organizations don’t have to pay them back. Each grant may have its own eligibility requirements, which makes them differ from grant to grant.
Here are some grants available to small businesses to help them during the pandemic.
Grant Name: Community Browser Pilot Program
Eligibility criteria: Non-profit organizations that provide outreach, education and training services to small businesses in underserved areas.
Grant amount: $1 million – $5 million
Grant deadline: Finished July 12, 2021
Grant Name: COVID-19 Economic Disaster Loan
Eligibility criteria: Businesses located in low-income communities that experience a loss due to the pandemic.
Grant amount: Up to $10,000 in targeted EIDL advances through SBA.
Grant Name: National Institute of Health (NIH) Grants
Eligibility criteria: Small companies that develop and research biomedical technologies. Several grants are available.
Grant deadline: Throughout 2021 and beyond
Grant Name: Subsidy for operators of closed sites (SVOG)
Eligibility criteria: Live venues that were in operation as of February 29, 2020 and have been impacted by the pandemic.
Grant amount: Eequal to 45% of gross revenue earned in 2019 or $10 million, whichever is lower.
Grant Name: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
Eligibility criteria: Small businesses that are a for-profit business. Need to meet other requirements too.
Grant amount: $225,000 over 6 to 12 months (the period to be determined by the applicant).
Useful information: Highly competitive rewards-based program.
Grant Name: Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)
Eligibility criteria: Small companies that have a formal collaboration with a research institute. Must operate a for-profit business. Need to meet other requirements.
Grant amount: $225,000 over 6 to 12 months (the period to be determined by the applicant).
Useful information: Smaller requests get higher priority.
Grant Name: USDA Rural Business Grant Program
Eligibility criteria: Technical assistance and training for small businesses located in rural areas, with fewer than 50 workers and less than $1 million in gross revenues.
Grant amount: Generally, it ranges from $10,000 to $500,000
Useful information: Grants are for projects benefiting rural public entities, including cities, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher learning, rural cooperatives, and federally recognized tribes.
Grant Name: United States Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
Eligibility criteria: Minority-owned businesses.
Grant amount: A grant of $300,000
Grant deadline: Offered year round. A grant of $300,000 has been awarded by June 30, 2021.
Grant Name: United States Small Business Administration’s State Trading Expansion Program (STEP)
Eligibility criteria: Small businesses wanting to export products.
Grant amount: Recipients can receive up to $15,000 for various qualifying international business activities for the year of the award. Average rewards are between $2,000 and $3,000 per activity.
Grant deadline: Completed for 2021. This year’s deadline is not yet finalized.
Grant Name: US Economic Development Administration (EDA)
Eligibility criteria: Projects that support regional and national economic development. Can apply for various EDA investments on a rolling basis that fund projects in construction, non-construction, planning, technical assistance, research and evaluation, higher education, etc.
Grant amount: The Economic Adjustment Assistance Program offers grants ranging from $100,000 to $1,250,000. The Public Works and Economic Development Facilities program offers grants ranging from $200,000 to $3,000,000.
Grant deadline: Completed for 2021. The next deadline has not yet been announced.
General Small Business Grants
Grant Name: GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund
Eligibility criteria: Small business owners with existing campaigns.
Grant amount: $500 grants
Grant Name: KKR Small Business Builders
Eligibility Criteria: Small businesses with 5-50 employees, less than $7 million in annual revenue, have demonstrated a need for support, a solid plan moving forward, and are in good standing with the IRS or their tax agency local regulations.
Grant amount: Up to $10,000
Government assistance for contracts
Grant Name: Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program
Eligibility criteria: Small businesses must be more than 50% owned/controlled by one or more disabled veterans, have day-to-day operations and long-term goals managed by at least one disabled veteran, and have a service-related disability.
Grant Name: Federal Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program (WOSB)
Eligibility criteria: At least 51% is owned and controlled by female US citizens. Ask women to manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.
Grant Name: 8(a) Business Development Program
Eligibility criteria: Company with an 8(a) Certified Entity.
Grant Name: HUBZone program
Eligibility criteria: Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, community development corporation, agricultural cooperative, Alaska Native corporation, Hawaiian Native organization, or Indian tribe.
Industry Specific Small Business Grants
Grant Name: Amber Grant Foundation
Eligibility criteria: Women entrepreneurs with a fascinating story.
Grant amount: Grant of $10,000 each month and an additional grant of $25,000 each December.
Grant Name: National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
Eligibility criteria: Must be a member for at least 90 days.
Grant amount: youp to $4,000 to help with training, marketing and more.
Grant Name: Artwork Archive Art Enterprise Accelerator Grant
Eligibility criteria: Visual artists.
Grant amount: 10 cash grants of $2,500 each.
Grant Name: Black Founder Seed Grant
Eligibility criteria: Black and multiracial women and non-binary entrepreneurs.
Grant amount: Up to $10,000.
Grant Name: The Galaxy Grant by Hidden Star
Eligibility criteria: Minority and women-owned businesses.
Grant amount: $2,750
Grant Name: IFundWomen COVID-19 Relief Fund
Eligibility criteria: Women entrepreneurs should launch a campaign on IFW.
Grant amount: Grants distributed on an ongoing basis.
Grant Name: Patagonia Corporate Grant Program
Eligibility criteria: Non-profit associations whose mission is to protect and preserve the environment.
Grant amount: Between $10,000 and $20,000.
Grant Name: PepsiCo Foundation Hispanic Business Program
Eligibility criteria: Hispanic food and beverage companies in major US cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Miami, Denver, New York, El Paso, Orlando, Phoenix, Albuquerque and Las Vegas.
Grant amount: $10,000
Grant deadline: Completed on JJune 25, 2021
Grant Name: Stacy’s Rise Project
Eligibility criteria: The women founded small businesses.
Grant amount: Grants of $10,000 to 10 small businesses founded by women.
Grant deadline: Completed July 9, 2021
Grant Name: StreetShares Foundation Small Business Veteran Awards
Eligibility criteria: Veterans, active duty members and spouses or children of military veterans/active duty members who do not have the financial means to finance their business.
Grant amount: $10,000 every month.
Grant Name: SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund
Eligibility criteria: Restaurants and food establishments that have lost revenue due to the pandemic.
Grant amount: At least $1,000; up to $5 million per location.
Not all federal government support programs directly benefit small businesses. They provide some of the money to state and municipal governments and agencies, which then use the money to offer technical or educational assistance at the local level.
State-level business grants generally target the social or economic concerns of that state. They are relatively more accessible due to less competition. Private grants from businesses and charities are also available with a generally less strict application process. However, they often result in higher competition.
As a small business owner or partner, you should seek out business grants in your state to get the financing you need to run your business during such a difficult time. To do this, browse your state’s Department of Commerce website or grants portal. From there, you can check your eligibility and apply for a grant that’s right for you.
About the Author: Lyle Solomon has considerable litigation experience and substantial practical knowledge and expertise in legal analysis and writing. Since 2003 he has been a member of the California State Bar. In 1998, he graduated from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California, and is now a senior attorney for the Oak View Legal Group in California.