Discover how to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey with the Fresh Start Business Grant. Learn about eligibility, the application process, and the support available for turning your innovative ideas into a thriving venture.
A fresh start business grant is a type of financial assistance designed to help entrepreneurs who are starting or growing a new business. These grants are typically awarded to individuals who have previously faced challenges, such as bankruptcy, unemployment, or incarceration. Continue reading to learn more.
Government startup business grants and resources
Several government programs provide direct funding to startups seeking business grants. For those without direct funding, they often offer guidance or assistance in navigating the application process and finding suitable avenues for support.
Government bodies regularly update a centralized database with new grant openings. You can verify if startups qualify when you spot an opportunity aligning with your business concept. Notably, a significant portion of these grants focuses on scientific or pharmaceutical research, meaning not all may cater to typical Main Street businesses.
2. State and local government grants
The federal government allocates diverse grant funds to various levels of government such as states, cities, or nonprofit economic development groups. These entities, in turn, provide grants to businesses within their locality. Connecting with your local startup community enables you to access and seize these opportunities. For instance, New York state’s website presents a compiled catalog of business grants and incubators sorted by region, aiding in your pursuit of grants.
3. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs
Federal grant programs target businesses holding innovative technology or scientific research concepts. These programs specify the research areas they aim to support, allowing businesses with qualifying ideas to submit proposals. However, unsolicited proposals are not accepted within these programs.
4. Small Business Development Centers
Small Business Administration-funded resource centers provide business coaching, educational resources, technical assistance, and networking prospects. These centers might assist in securing small-business grants, crafting business plans, and enhancing various aspects of your business operations.
5. Minority Business Development Agency Centers
Within the U.S. Department of Commerce, the MBDA manages small-business support centers akin to SBDCs. While the MBDA doesn’t directly provide grants to startups, these centers serve as a valuable link to grant organizations, aiding in application preparation and securing alternate forms of business financing.
Startup business grants from private companies and nonprofits
Numerous major corporations and sizable nonprofit entities, such as the National Association for the Self-Employed, provide startup business grants or coordinate competitions focused on grants. Several national prospects encompass:
1. IFundWomen Universal Grant Application Database
IFundWomen collaborates with various corporations to manage business grants, primarily emphasizing small-business grants for women. They also provide startup grants, crowdfunding assistance, coaching, and other valuable resources.
By completing a universal application, you can receive automatic notifications regarding eligibility for grant applications.
2. Amber Grant for Women
WomensNet provides two $10,000 Amber Grants monthly, along with two $25,000 grants annually, and various other grants throughout the year. While startups qualify for all grants, the company specifically grants a $10,000 award to new businesses quarterly.
Completing a single application extends eligibility for all Amber Grants. Businesses must meet criteria of being at least 50% women-owned and operating in the U.S. or Canada to qualify.
3. National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grant
When you become a member of NASE, you gain access to quarterly Growth Grant possibilities. These grants, amounting to up to $4,000, do not impose any specific time-in-business prerequisites. However, applicants are required to outline their proposed utilization of the grant and demonstrate how it will facilitate the growth of their business.
4. Incfile Fresh Start Business Grant
If you’re gearing up to begin a business or have recently initiated a new venture, you might qualify for Incfile’s $2,500 startup business grant through their Fresh Start Business Grant program. This grant can be utilized for initial expenses and additionally incorporates free formation services provided by Incfile.
Eligibility necessitates being at least 21 years old, residing in the U.S., and intending to substantially impact your business through growth or establishment. Applications call for a sample business plan and a brief two-minute video presentation.
Incfile has not released details about its upcoming grant cycle yet; however, any updates regarding this will be published on its website.
5. Venmo Small Business Grant
The Venmo Small Business Grant is an annual initiative offering $10,000 grants to 20 business proprietors. This program not only awards grants but also extends mentorship from industry leaders and the chance to feature on Venmo’s social media platforms.
To meet eligibility criteria, you must maintain a U.S. Venmo business account in good standing. Additionally, your business should have fewer than 10 employees, generate less than $50,000 in annual sales, and have sold goods or services totaling $500 or more for a minimum of three months before the grant program’s commencement.
Venmo announced the winners for the 2023 grant cycle in October. For updates on the 2024 cycle, stay tuned to your Venmo business profile to receive the latest information.
6. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Each year, this competition grants funding to small-business owners across diverse industries. Signing up for email notifications alerts you when each application period commences. Eligibility requires a minimum of six months of product or service sales. Keep in mind, though, that each grant cycle attracts thousands of applications.
7. Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
The Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program is crafted to support women-owned startup businesses by offering funding, education, and additional resources.
Annually, the program selects 50 small-business owners for a yearlong engagement comprising workshops, networking groups, a $5,000 business education grant, and a final presentation. Tory Burch Fellows also gain access to zero-interest loans via Kiva.
To be eligible for this startup grant initiative, you must be a female entrepreneur holding at least 51% ownership in your business. Your company should be in its early stages, ranging from one to five years in operation, and generating revenue (with a preference for a minimum of $75,000).
Applications are currently closed for the 2024 Fellow cycle. However, stay updated on the Tory Burch Foundation website for details regarding the subsequent cycle.
Small-business incubator programs
Business incubators or accelerators aim to assist companies across various startup phases by offering education, workspaces, and mentorship. Some extend funding through grants, cash prizes from pitch competitions, or facilitate access to investors post-program completion.
While numerous programs cater to general startups, specific incubators target particular demographics, such as underserved business owners. For example, the Head Boss in Charge Headquarters (HBICHQ), a Seattle-based nonprofit, focuses on aiding women and minority-owned startups. It grants merit-based funding to graduates from its educational programs.
Other programs specialize in supporting specific industries. Accelerate Long Island, a nonprofit, concentrates on aiding high-growth biotech and health technology firms. This program might offer startup grants to participants in collaboration with funding partners, alongside assisting new businesses in navigating New York state tax incentives and finding workspace through partnerships with local universities.
To locate similar institutions in your vicinity, conduct an online search using “[Your City] business incubator.” Even if grant programs aren’t immediately visible, subscribing to their email newsletters or following them on social media can be beneficial. Like SBDCs and MBDAs, startup incubators commonly offer business coaching, courses, and lectures that contribute to the development and growth of your business idea.
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Alternatives to startup business grants
Discovering and pursuing new business grants can prove challenging and time-intensive, with no guarantee of qualification for all startups. If you’re exploring alternative funding avenues for your business, consider these options.
SBA microloans, offering up to $50,000, assist in launching or expanding your business. In fiscal year 2023, the average microloan amounted to $15,644. The SBA facilitates these microloans through intermediary lenders, typically nonprofit financial institutions and economic development organizations. These lenders, post SBA financing, independently manage, evaluate, and issue microloans. Consequently, SBA microloan prerequisites greatly vary among lenders. Despite this, numerous intermediaries are open to collaborating with startups. In fact, startups received 24.6% of all SBA microloans in fiscal year 2023. Access the SBA’s website to locate a lender in your state.
Friends and family
Seeking investments from friends and family is a popular method for funding startups, yet it can strain relationships, necessitating caution.
It’s crucial to clarify each person’s investment terms—is it a loan or are they acquiring equity in your business? For small-business loans, articulate the rates, terms, and repayment strategy.
Whenever feasible, document all agreements in writing for clarity and protection.
Business credit cards
You can meet the criteria for a business credit card using your personal credit score along with some basic business details like your business name and industry.
Startup business credit cards often offer rewards for everyday expenses, making them useful for daily spending but less suitable for significant purchases. If you make a large purchase and can’t repay it promptly, interest starts accumulating on your balance, potentially leading to high costs and challenging management.
Additionally, it’s crucial to note that when applying, you’ll probably need to sign a personal guarantee. This means you assume responsibility for repaying the debt if your business is unable to do so.
Leveraging a loyal customer base can facilitate business funding via crowdfunding. Businesses typically reciprocate capital with offerings like debt notes, equity shares, or exclusive event access to their supporters.
Various crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and StartEngine provide diverse terms. Comparing these platforms allows you to find the model that aligns best with your business needs.
The Fresh Start Business Grant opens a gateway for aspiring entrepreneurs to transform their innovative concepts into tangible realities. With its support, guidance, and financial assistance, this grant embodies the promise of new beginnings and fosters the growth of groundbreaking ventures. Embracing the spirit of innovation, it stands as a beacon of opportunity, empowering individuals to embark on their entrepreneurial journey with confidence and determination.