Frankly, the US Government does not offer very many federal grants for small businesses. That said, there are still quite a lot of funding options for small business owners from state development agencies and from institutions from the private sector. If you are an entrepreneur looking for funds to start your business or an established owner who requires financial assistance to expand your venture or improve your products and services, fret not.
The Small Business Administration
Your best option is to get a backing from the Small Business Administration (SBA). This particular government agency offers loan programs at low interest rates and very easy payment schemes. But it is important to understand that SBA does not provide the funds but rather gives the lending party such as banks and lending companies up to 85% guarantee in the event that you default.
SBA offers an array of loan programs that are specifically designed to fit any business owner profile. Here are some of the loan initiatives that are currently being paraded by SBA:
- 7a Loan – great for startups and expansion. The SBA 7a Loan is practically the most popular option for most entrepreneurs in need of funding for their business projects.
- Patriot Express Program – specifically created to help active and former members of the US Armed Forces start their business long before or after they retire from their military service. Also eligible are legitimate / current spouses of military servicemen and women.
- Disaster Recovery Loan Program – this initiative caters to families whose personal and business properties are damaged in a declared disaster such as flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
- International Trade Loans – this program is designed for small businesses to start/continue exporting their products . It is also created to help businesses that suffered huge losses by competition from imports. The funds must be invested in a way that the borrower will be in a better position to compete.
The SBA also offers federal grants but on a special basis and for a specific purpose. Among of the grants offered by the SBA are the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). These programs are designed to bolster the competitiveness of small businesses by encouraging small business firms to participate in scientific research. Incentives are given to qualified small businesses.
Federal loans are also offered by state governments and departments and there are some that specifically targets small business owners. You can check with your SBA officer about the loans that would perfectly fit your funding needs.