Small businesses are facing difficult times. You’re probably always looking for methods to expand your small business. That need only grows when something like a worldwide epidemic strikes. Many small businesses are drowning in debt as they took out payday loans to mitigate their money needs. Most of them are trying to get payday loan relief now and are facing a financial crisis. Instead of applying for storefront loans, try to find grants to assist you with surviving the COVID-19 outbreak to help your small business. Assistance is available from the government and the private sector. It could be in the form of a grant, a loan, or a competitive advantage in a challenging business environment.
Entrepreneurs can be eligible for federal grants and other forms of help.
Check with your state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and higher education institutions. It’s worth noting that you can be eligible for more than one program. Depending on your specific situation, government help is available to you. Thousands of grants are available, offering chances for businesses of all sizes.
Grants.gov is an excellent place to start looking for federal grants. This is the complete database of funds available from the government.
How do you know if you are eligible for a small business grant?
To apply for a grant, you must meet specific requirements. It’s crucial to go over these first so you don’t waste your time applying for awards you’re not eligible for.
Some may stipulate that you work in a specific field.
Others may demand that you have been in business for a specific amount of time or generate a certain amount of money. You can be limited in how you use the funds.
1. Program for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Small businesses and startups can apply for SBIR funding to engage in federal research and development with the possibility of commercialization.
It’s an awards-based program that assists firms in achieving scientific excellence and technical innovation.
To be eligible for SBIR funds, you must run a for-profit business and meet additional criteria.
2. Technology Transfer Program for Small Businesses (STTR)
The STTR program, like SBIR, focuses on sponsoring research in the R&D area.
The STTR, on the other hand, differs in that it requires a formal relationship between a small firm and a research institution.
To be eligible for STTR funds, you must run a non-profit business and meet additional criteria.
3. State Trade Expansion Program of the United States Small Business Administration (STEP).
This program distributes federal subsidies through state bodies and is designed to help small enterprises who want to export their products.
Small enterprises who match the state’s criteria can utilize the funds to attend international trade missions and exhibits, access new markets, develop websites, and create international marketing items or campaigns.
4. Grants for Rural Innovation and Stronger Economy (RISE)
The US Department of Agriculture has developed the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program to promote high-wage rural jobs, support the creation of new enterprises in the industry, and assist low-income communities.
According to their website, grants start at $500,000 and go up to $2 million for projects that promote rural economies.
5. Minority Business Development Agency of the United States Department of Commerce (MBDA).
Throughout the year, targeted grants and loans to help minority-owned businesses are available.
At MBDA.gov, minority-owned businesses can learn about local MBDA Business Centers.
GrantWatch is another database of grants of all types. However, it’s a subscription-based service that you’ll have to pay for. Grants from the federal, state, and local governments, foundations, and corporations are included.
The site is updated regularly, and grants that have ended are archived. You can narrow down the more than 25,000 grants available by category to find ones that are specifically for small businesses like yours.
COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants
There are subsidies available to help small businesses cope with the effects of the coronavirus epidemic. Keep in mind that many of these programs close, and some open new rounds of funding, so make sure to check with each one for the most up-to-date information.
The federal government realizes that the coronavirus epidemic has harmed small enterprises across the country.
The Small Business Administration offers two main financial assistance programs that may give financial support and not require repayment.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan is theoretically a loan that must be repaid, but it also includes a Targeted and Supplemental Targeted Advance, which are non-repayable monies.
Whether or whether you take an EIDL loan, you can still apply to determine if your company qualifies for up to $15,000 in grant money provided it meets the following criteria:
- Your business is in a low-income neighborhood
- It has sustained a financial loss of more than 30% (50 percent for the Supplemental Targeted Advance)
- Not more than 300 people are employed (10 or fewer for the Supplemental Targeted Advance).
2. Small Business Relief Fund on GoFundMe
GoFundMe, a crowdsourcing platform, has partnered with partners to create a COVID-19 relief fund for small companies.
If you raise $500 through your own GoFundMe campaign, your business may be eligible for a matching award, as long as you can prove that the coronavirus has harmed your firm.
The funds must be utilized to pay for business expenses or employee care.
3. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was terminated on May 31, 2021, you may still be eligible for loan forgiveness, which is similar to receiving a grant.
To be eligible for loan forgiveness, you must show that you have:
- Employee and remuneration levels are kept at the same level.
- The loan profits are used to pay for payroll and other qualified expenses; at least 60% of the funds are used to pay for payroll.
4. Operators of Shuttered Venues Receive Grants
The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) program is now closed, but the SBA says it would reopen it for extra SVOGs worth 50% of the original grant value, up to a total of $10 million.
- Among the eligible businesses are:
- Promoters or operators of live venues
- Producers of stage plays
- Performing in real-time
5. Small Business Recovery Grant Program for the COVID-19 Pandemic in New York State
If your company is based in New York and has experienced losses due to the epidemic, you may be eligible for this grant.
Grants starting at $5,000 go up to 10% of gross receipts, up to $50,000, and are based on yearly gross receipts beginning in 2019.
After you’ve exhausted your federal grant options, local and state business grants should be the next item on your list. You might be able to strike gold and locate some of these on your own, but there is a free, local resource that can assist you. Help locating grants is one of the many services local libraries provide to company owners for free or at a reduced cost. Just ask your local librarians. These researchers are trained and have access to hundreds of databases.
Lyle Solomon is a principal attorney for the Oak View Law Group in California, where he specializes in consumer finance. He has also written several articles on financial well-being. Connect with him on LinkedIn or tweet him at @lyle_solomon.