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Steps to Becoming PRIME

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

Eligibility

Organizations eligible for PRIME grants are:

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

  • An intermediary, 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

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

  • Capacity Building Grant : Provide 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 : Aid in researching and developing the best practices in the field of micro-enterprise development and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs;

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

Grant Allocation

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 Grants;

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

Minimum and Maximum Award Amounts

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

  • No minimum for Research and Development or Discretionary Grants;

  • 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

SBA 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 at 13 CFR 119.