Grants.gov; What's in it for Businesses?
by JamieD, Former Moderator
- Created: June 16, 2009, 12:52 pm
- Updated: April 15, 2011, 12:58 pm
'I'm trying to get grant money to start a new business...'
'I'm looking for websites that offer free federal business grants...'
'Why is it a struggle when getting a business grant?'
Each of these comments have been made in the community's Loans, Grants & Taxes forum on more than one occasion. People are constantly looking for 'free' money and continue to have trouble finding it.
In the last blog post, the Truth About Government Grants, we explained why people are having so much trouble finding small business grants – namely, because they don’t exist. We also pointed to the main web portal for finding grants available from the Federal government: Grants.gov.
In this post, I’ll explain what Grants.gov is, and what’s available to non-profit and for-profit organizations.
What is Grants.gov?
Grants.gov is a database of over 1,000 grant programs that award roughly $500 billion annually. The vast majority of grants are available only to non-profits, academic 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.
How do I find grants for which businesses are eligible?
You can search for grant opportunities through several different methods, including basic keyword search and searches by agencies and topical categories.
The easiest way to search for grant opportunities for businesses is to conduct an advanced search, and selected either the “For Profit Organizations” or “Small Businesses” options from the Search by Eligibility menu.
Wait, I thought you said there were no grants for small businesses?
To be clear, there are no Federal grants to help start a business, pay debts, or pay operating expenses. However, there are several grant opportunities in Federal research and development areas for which small businesses may be eligible. For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers a grant to conserve the world’s most endangered species. Several types of organizations are eligible to apply for this grant, including small businesses. However, not just any small business should apply for these grants. The intent is for these grants to be awarded to businesses that have capabilities specific to the grant’s scope. For example, grants for medical research will likely to be awarded to organizations engaged in medical research than to those in other fields.
How do I apply for a grant?
To apply for a Federal grant, you must register with Grants.gov. The application process can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. When choosing to register as an individual or as an organization, it is important to note that your username will not be interchangeable. If you register as one and then decided you'd like to apply to a grant as the other, you must register again. Before beginning the registration process, view the overview tutorials for either organizations or individuals.
After successfully registering with Grants.gov, you are eligible to apply for grant opportunities. A simple three step process is necessary to be considered to receive federal financing.
- Download a Grant Application Package
- Complete the Grant Application
- Submit the Completed Application Package
- Applicant Resources – including an “All About Grants” section that provides a ‘tip of the month’ and an event schedule
- Grant Email Alerts – apply for grant updates and notices through this Grants.gov tool
- Grants.gov Blog – Read articles and comments on grants.gov and general grant opportunities
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Loans, grants, taxes, and financial tips for your business.