How do you get a Government grant for a small business?

Small Business Grants

We've all seen the headlines: "Millions in free government money for your business." Late-night infomercials and Internet advertisements promise grants to start or expand a business. Sound too good to be true? It is.  

Facts About Government Grants

The federal government does not provide grants for starting and expanding a business.
Grants from the federal government are only available to non-commercial organizations, such as non-profits and educational institutions in areas such as, medicine, education, scientific research and technology development. The federal government also provides grants to state and local governments to assist them with economic development.
Some business grants are available through state and local programs, non-profit organizations and other groups. For example, some states provide grants for expanding child care centers; creating energy efficient technology; and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These grants are not necessarily free money, and usually require the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan.
If you are not one of these specialized business, both federal and state government agencies provide financial assistance programs that helps small business owners obtain low-interest loans and venture capital financing from commercial lenders.  

How to Find Grants

If you are a small business owner, use our Small Business Loans and Grants Search Tool (refer to links below) to find specialized small business grant programs.
If you are a non-profit organization or a for-profit business involved in scientific and technology research and development, consult the following resources:
    Find and apply for thousands of federal government grant programs.
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
    Search a comprehensive database of grants, loans and other assistance programs available from federal agencies.

The following is a selection of major grant programs provided by federal government agencies.
Arts, Humanities and Education
  • Education - U.S. Department of Education
  • Humanities - National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Libraries and Archives - National Archives and Records Administration
  • Museums - Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Visual and Performing Arts - National Endowment for the Arts

Community and Social Services
  • Employment and Labor Grants - U.S. Department of Labor
  • Housing - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Law Enforcement - U.S. Department of Justice

Health and Medicine
  • Cancer Research - National Cancer Institute
  • Health Care Services - U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration
  • NIH Grants - National Institutes of Health

Science, Technology and Environment
  • Energy Sciences Grants - U.S. Department of Energy
  • Environmental Grants and Fellowships - Environmental Protection Agency
  • Natural Resources - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Scientific Research Grants - National Science Foundation
  • Small Business Research and Development Grants
  • Technology Grants - National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Telecommunications - National Telecommunications and Information Administration


Getting a Government Grant

The truth is that federal and state governments do not provide grants for starting and expanding small businesses. However, the U.S. government does offer a wide-variety of low-interest loans and venture capital financing programs to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. In addition, some federal and state agencies award a limited number of grants for very specialized business activities such as scientific research and development.

No, it is not easy to get a government grant for a small business. Don't waste your money on any book that says it is easy or that the author can guarantee anything of the sort. If it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. I mean think about it. All these books, websites and services are telling you 'get a free grant from the government and never have to pay it back.' Since when have you ever been able to get something for nothing.

Instead, check out the U.S. Government's official business portal -- it has a Loans and Grants search tool -- -- that will help you find loans, grants and venture capital from federal, state and local government agencies, include the Small Business Administration.

And remember this: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. As cliched as this sounds, it really is sound advice and by heeding this advice you can save yourself a lot of headaches and most likely a lot of money that would be better invested in your business!  
it is really tough. your business has to be founded by or create something usually for minorities. low income, women, black/hispanic ect. Don't give up on this search because you can find funding but there might be a few loop holes or maybe there is a specific grant for what you already plan to do.
--- Unless your business involves the development of new technology or is a non-profit organization, you will be wasting your time looking for a grant.
You can obtain small business financing from the federal government.
No one gives grants to start a business only loans, ie..Small Business Administration.