Since launching GrowGeorgia.com this is the most common question our team receives. It’s also the hardest to answer. Most national grants are set aside for the commercialization of a technology or scientific research, for example the STTR and SBIR programs. Whereas state grants are often designed to help organizations providing resources to small businesses, expand their existing programs or services.
There is a limited amount of grants tailored to a help specific industries or groups of business owners who face unique barriers to growth. This includes minority, veteran, or women-owned business. These types of grants are often provided by Corporations or Lending Institutions to help solve the gaps in traditional funding for startups.
If a small business owner is seeking grants, there are few tips to keep in mind when determining if grants are the best way to fund their business.
There is no such thing as, “free money”, and while grants don’t need to be paid back, it’s important that entrepreneur review all the terms and conditions before accepting any grant monies. Many grants will have specific guidelines to qualify, how the funds can be used, and reporting requirements. If the grant recipient fails to meet these qualifications, they could be asked to return the grant award.
To find a grant, there is a database of federal grants at, Grants.gov, as well as tools to help you check your availability. While the search options appear almost endless, it’s important to keep in mind that the eligibility for small businesses will consider the size standards established for the Small Business Administration (SBA) for most industries. Most federal grants are designed to be awarded to governmental organizations including education and housing.
Large corporations may have time-sensitive grants or limited opportunities. When the team at GrowGeorgia.com learns about a new grant for diverse founders, it is posted in News & Events; however, it’s best to check directly with the company’s page to identify new, annual, or upcoming grants. A list of Fortune 500 companies in Georgia can be found on our Supplier Diversity.
Starting with your local community is a great way to identify small business grantors that you may already have an existing relationship with or understand the potential impact your business’s success could have on the region. For example, a search of, “Grants for Small Businesses in Brunswick GA” leads you to their local loans, grants, and tax credits that are available to businesses in their city.
Congratulations you found a grant! Now the real work begins. Applying for a grant can be tedious – so much that there are professionals whose entire job is grant writing! Whether you hire someone to help you, tackle it yourself, it’s important to remember that being thorough and providing all the necessary information can increase the likelihood that your application will be reviewed.
Some of the common questions and documentation for grant applications include an overview of the business or a statement of work, its finances, and how you plan to use the grant. If you do not have financial statements for your business, you may be asked to provide your personal finances.
Other information such as number employees, references or testimonials, business licenses or certifications are all commonly asked too. Often, an interview may be a part of the process too.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with the preparation, you can always call on mentor with SCORE or a business coach at a local SBDC to help you review your packet. Both provide these types of services at no, or little cost, to for-profit businesses.
Grants are a competitive process and can take time for the awarding agency/corporation to review. If your business is relying on a grant to implement a new program or service, you may want to meet with a certified lender or business coach to understand all the options available to support your growth.
Grants are only one option to funding a small business, meeting with other resources to discuss your goals can help you decide the best path for future growth, or how to use grant or loan funds wisely.
If you need assistance finding a resource in your region, send us a note. The team at GrowGeorgia.com is available to help you find the programs and places focused on your success across the state of Georgia.
Questions & Assistance
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