PRIME Program

What is PRIME?

The SBA’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) provides assistance to various organizations. These organizations help low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

Eligibility for PRIME Loans

Organizations eligible for PRIME grants include:

  • A micro-enterprise development organization or program that has a demonstrated record of delivering micro-enterprise services to disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs

  • An intermediary, such as a private, nonprofit entity serving micro-enterprise development organizations

  • A micro-enterprise development organization or program that is accountable to a local community, working with a state or local government or Indian tribe

  • An Indian tribe acting on its own, if the Indian tribe can certify that no private organization or program exists within its jurisdiction

Types of Grants Available Through PRIME

  • Technical Assistance Grant: Provides training and technical assistance to disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs

  • Capacity Building Grant: Provides training and capacity building services to micro-enterprise development organizations and programs to assist them in developing micro-enterprise training and services

  • Research and Development Grant: Aids in researching and developing the best practices in the field of micro-enterprise development and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs

  • Discretionary Grant: Conducts such other activities determined to be consistent with these purposes

Grant Allocation

The SBA’s goal is to serve diverse populations by awarding grants to both large and small micro-enterprise development organizations as well as those serving urban, rural, and Indian tribal communities. At least 50 percent of the grants are awarded to qualified organizations that benefit very low-income persons, including those residing on Indian reservations.

Available funding is allocated as follows:

  • Minimum of 75 percent for Technical Assistance Grants

  • Minimum of 15 percent for Capacity Building Grant

  • Remaining 10 percent or less for Research and Development Grants or Discretionary Grants

Minimum and Maximum Award Amounts

  • The minimum for Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Grants: $50,000 during the first year of the award, subject to the availability of funds.

  • There is no minimum for Research and Development or Discretionary Grants.

  • The maximum that an organization may receive in any fiscal year from one or more awards may not exceed $250,000, or 10 percent of the total funds available that year, whichever is less.

Funding Limits

  • Generally, the funding period for a PRIME grant is one year.

  • Funding may be available on an annual basis for a project period of up to five years.

  • For Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Grants, after the initial grant, funding for additional year(s) must be no more than 67 percent of the initial grant amount.

  • For Research and Development and Discretionary Grants, after the initial grant, funding for additional year(s) will be approved at the discretion of the SBA.

  • In the final year of a project, if additional time is needed to complete the original scope of work, grantees may request a one-time, no-cost extension, not to exceed 12 months.

How to Apply

The SBA regularly issues Program Announcements that summarize the purpose of the available funds; specify the terms, conditions, and evaluation criteria; provide information on how to obtain an application packet; and explain deadlines and other requirements.

Organizations submit applications in response to the Program Announcements posted on Grants.gov.

For More Information

More information on PRIME is available here.

For Lenders

The following articles give lenders more information on the PRIME Program:




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