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Federal grants

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The SmallBusiness.com Federal Grants Directory is one of several SmallBusiness.com Directories, special pages with links to online resources for small business owners and employees. This directory is a collaborative project created by users of SmallBusiness.com.com. Scroll to the bottom of this page to find out how you can help keep this page accurate.

There are no federal grants for starting and growing a small business

Despite the hype of those who market books and services on "how to get a free federal grant to start and grow your small business," there are no federal government programs called "small business grants."

The U.S. Small Business Administration DOES NOT offer grants to start or expand small businesses, although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. While the SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments.

However, U.S. Government agencies do award hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for specific services, research and programs. For specific small businesses in specific fields and industries, these grants can be a signicant source of funding. For companies in specific niches in such fields as housing, transportation, energy, security, education and other industries, a wide array of grant programs may be available. Also some federal grants target businesses owned and operated by women and minorities. A significant source of seed money for technology companies is the Small Business Innovation Research program, or SBIR. However, this program provides funding for research and development, not for incorporation, sales, marketing or other startup costs.


The good place to begin research related to federal grants is Grants.gov.

Grants.gov is operated by the U.S. Government (managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and allows organizations to electronically find and apply for more than $400 billion in Federal grants. Grants.gov is the single access point for over 1000 grant programs offered by all Federal grant-making agencies.

Some of the resources offered at Grants.gov include:

Other Federal Government Grant Resources

The website Grants.gov has been designated by the U.S. government as the single access point for over 1,000 grant programs offered by all federal grant-making agencies. However, there are many other online resources maintained by U.S. government agencies that have free information about federal grants. (Please do not add any links to this list that are not sites maintained by a federal agency. If you know of a non-commercial site related to this topic, please add it to the External Links section below).

See also