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.


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.

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

For More Information

More information on PRIME is available at 13 CFR 119.