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Where can I find Small Business Grants?

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Hello, can someone please give me some assistance by telling me how to apply for a small business grant? I am in the process of opening my own business which is being a Provider for persons with disabilities by assisting them with living and employment support.

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Your organization will need to obtain a DUNS Number before applying for a government grant. If your organization does not have one, you will need to go to the Dun & Bradstreet website:




The D&B D-U-N-S® Number is a unique nine-digit identification sequence, which provides a unique identifier of single business entities, while linking corporate family structures together. D&B links the D&B D-U-N-S® Numbers of parents, subsidiaries, headquarters and branches on more than 64 million corporate family members around the world. Used by the world's most influential standards-setting organizations, it is recognized, recommended and/or required by more than 50 global, industry and trade associations, including the United Nations, the U.S. Federal Government, the Australian Government and the European Commission. In today's global economy, the D&B D-U-N-S® Number has become the standard for keeping track of the world's businesses.If you want to learn more about what a D-U-N-S number can do for your business.


The unique and patented DUN System blends specific industry sectors with numeric sequencing providing a multitude of sector-based information that is compared and contrasted with like industries in a local, state and regional format.


DMI entries provide legal and trade names, physical and mailing addresses, geographical descriptions, product and industry descriptors, sales and number of employees for three years and growth rates, as well as up to 40 vital statistics about each organization:


Corporate and competitive intelligence

Market research

Mailing lists

Trade name research

Merger and acquisition analysis

Industry statistics

Telemarketing lists

New product development

Corporate family trees

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  • 1 year later...
Guest CharlotteW

"Where can I get a small business grant?" is the single most common request asked by small business owners.


And the answer is probably the single most frustrating one an entrepreneur hears, but here it goes, because it is worth repeating:


Federal and state government agencies do not provide grants for starting a business, paying off debt, or to cover operating expenses. Government agencies do not provide "special" grants for women, minorities, veterans or disabled entrepreneurs. The Federal government also does not provide grants to small business owners as part of the Recovery Act.



Why are people asking for a small business grant if none exist?


Because there are lots of people telling you these grants exist in order to sell you something. As my colleague wrote a few months ago, any one who promises you that you can obtain a small business grant from the government by subscribing to a book, CD or website, is scamming you. Save your money.

Doesn’t SBA give out grants?


SBA does not provide grants to small businesses. In fact, SBA does not lend money. SBA provides a guaranty on loans made through commercial lenders. This guaranty means that the SBA assumes a percentage of the financial risk if a borrower defaults on the loan. Commercial lenders are inclined to provide SBA backed loans to small business owners who otherwise would not qualify for traditional loan programs.

But the government does give out grants, right?


Yes, but these grants are generally only available to non-profits, educational institutions, associations and state and local government agencies. Government grants cover a wide range of activities, from agriculture production to zoological research.

Eligibility for a grant varies according to its purpose and use. For profit businesses may be eligible for some grants, but rarely are these available to small businesses, and they are never available to cover start up costs, debt and operating expenses.


For example, the U.S. Forest Service provides grants that aid forest restoration activities. As you can see from grant announcements, a number of organizations are eligible, including for-profit organizations, except for small businesses.

If you are small technology company, there is a Federal grant program for you. The Federal government's SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs award a specific percentage of Federal R&D funds to qualified small businesses. SBIR/STTR programs encourage small firms to undertake scientific research that helps the government meet it’s R&D objectives, and that have a good chance of being commercialized.


Grants are not “free money”


While there may be some truth to the popular perception that “grants are money don’t have to pay back,” grant money must be used for a very specific purpose, and conditions that directly benefit the organization making the grant.


For example, one of the few small business grants I found is the Vermont Technical Assistance Grant. Its purpose is to provide funding to help existing technology businesses develop new products, and provides very specific conditions on how the money should be spent. Likewise, the State of Nebraska provides grants to child care businesses for making improvements to their facilities. Small and home-based business are eligible, but the terms are specific.


Grants in a Nutshell


So, here’s the truth about government grants in nutshell:


  1. There are no government grants for starting a business, paying debt or covering operating expenses. For these funding needs, you should seek a small business loan.
  2. If you are eligible for government grant, you should be aware of specific terms and conditions of the proceeds. Grants are not "free money" and often the government expects some return on its investment: either indirectly through improvement in regional economies; or directly through the development of technology the government can use in its programs and services.

Locating Grant Announcements


There are two primary resources for seeking information on available grants:


  • The Business Loans & Grants Search tool provides a listing for government-backed and select private sector financing programs available to small business owners, including grants, when available.
  • Grants.gov is the one-stop resource for locating grants made for Federal agencies. Grants.gov includes grants available to for-profit organizations (except for small businesses).
  • The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) lists thousands for Federal government programs and services that provide financial and non-financial support to American citizens.

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