How to Get a Business Grant for Your Startup

To get funding for your startup, you can apply for a grant. Not every business can secure this type of financial support, so you’ll need to prove: you are worth it. In this article, we’ll tell you how to get a grant for startup business and what to do if you fail to receive one

Startup grants for new businesses resemble scholarships. To get one, you need to convince the governmental or private organization that you deserve financial support more than other applicants and will put the money to good use.

Here are the examples of businesses that have good chances of receiving startup grants.

  • A privately-owned, for-profit company with a strong potential for growth (to prove this potential, you can show that the subscriber base of your innovative service or app has been steadily expanding)
  • Non-profits and businesses that have a positive impact on the society or local community (such as a green company or an organization that helps single mothers)
  • Companies launched by entrepreneurs with economic disadvantages or from marginalized groups (for instance, your hometown suffered from an ecological disaster)

Doctors and scientists have good odds of receiving financial support.

Business grants for startups of different types

Below, we’ll list the industries where startups can receive grants easily.


To apply for the grant as an innovative startup, you should create a product that has no analogs on the market yet. The most innovation-hungry industries are:

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Research and development
  • Science
  • Technology

Here are the three main sources that you can turn to and ask for money.

Grant provider

Type of support

Most grants from the federal government are targeted at research and development, medicine, and science.

Small Business Innovation Research

In Phase I, you might receive up to $150K for 6 months. In Phase II, you might receive up to $1 million for 2 years. The amount of support in Phase III depends on the individual characteristics of the commercialized product.

US Economic Development Administration

Support is provided for businesses from economically distressed territories as well as startups aimed at research and development.

Green businesses

Grants enable entrepreneurs to compensate for the expenses of installing sustainable energy systems and green infrastructure.

Grant provider

Type of support

Rural Energy For America Program

Grants are awarded to rural small businesses and agricultural producers that aim at energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Database Of State Incentives For Renewables & Efficiency

This program distributes funds among green energy incentives.

Rural businesses

Organizations distribute grants to attract new companies to struggling regions and stimulate the economy in rural and economically distressed territories. 

Grant provider

Type of support

Rural Business Development

Funds are distributed among agricultural producers, farmers, and for-profit businesses that provide healthcare or education to rural areas through telecommunications.

US Economic Development Assistance Grants

Attracting private investment and stimulating job creation in economically distressed areas.

Female-owned startups

If you’re a lady who has launched a startup, you can consider receiving financial support from:

  • Amber Grants,
  • Cartier Women’s Initiative,
  • IFundWomen,
  • Tory Burch’s Foundation Fellows Program,
  • Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition,
  • Women Who Tech.

You can get a grant if other females and their families benefit from your products.

Nonprofit startups

You can apply for funding from:

  • Candid,
  • Grant Gopher,
  • GrantWatch,
  • Walmart Local Community Grants.

Non-profits can get financial support from both governmental and private organizations. You’ll be more likely to get support than a for-profit applicant.

Veteran-related startups

Owners of veteran-related businesses can apply to get grants from:

  • FedEx Small Business Grant Program,
  • National Association For The Self-Employed Growth Grants,
  • USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program,
  • VetFran.

You can receive a grant if you’re a veteran who’s coming back to civilian life. Alternatively, you can ask for a grant if you launch a non-profit organization to provide services to veterans.

Minority-owned startups

A business falls into the “minority-owned” category if at least 51% of it belongs to a person classified as a minority. You can consider the following grant providers to try your luck:

  • Dare To Dream Grant Program
  • Merchant Maverick Opportunity Grants
  • Native American Business Development Institute
  • Office Of Minority Health Grant Programs

These grants are targeted at specific societal groups, for example, an ethnic group of Native Americans. Overall, diversity is highly appreciated in a startup industry, so your background as a minority might earn you a grant.

Startups affected by the pandemic

You can get a grant if you started a business before COVID-19 broke out, and the pandemic prevented it from developing as intended. You can try to apply to the following grant providers:

  • GoFundMe Small Business Relief Initiative,
  • Fiserv + Clover Back2Business Grant Program,
  • KKR Small Business Builders,
  • The Barstool Fund.

However, please note that grants for startups affected by the pandemic might disappear by the end of 2022 or even sooner.

Startups from various industries

Private companies and industry organizations offer highly-targeted grants for industry-specific startups. Here are some examples:


Grant provider

eBay vendors

eBay Up & Running Grants

Jewelry design

Halstead Grants

Self-employed professionals

NASE Growth Grants

Monetized websites

Grant For The Web


Visa Anywhere Initiative

Business startup from any industry

Some organizations give grants to startups from any industry (regardless of a startup’s field of action). However, the competition among applicants is fierce, so you would have minimal chances to get a grant. 

To secure financial support, your business should:

  • be around for over 6 months,
  • have an especially unique idea,
  • tell an impressive story.

Grant provider

Type of support

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

The largest grant is $50,000. Thousands of entrepreneurs apply, yet only a dozen get support.

Hello Alice

Mentorship and grants of $10,000

How to get grants for a startup business

Each grant has its specific requirements. Many entrepreneurs will be competing for funds against you. To boost your odds of success, you should follow these tips.

Double-check whether you qualify

Make sure your idea and business plan fit the requirements of the grant. If they don’t, look for another program that you could apply for. If you fail to fully understand the requirements, reach out to the grant provider and ask for a consultation.

Have a flair with your audience

When preparing the pitch, you should ask yourself:

  • Do your listeners prefer a formal or casual style of communication?
  • Which specific terms and expressions from their lingo can you insert into your speech?
  • How authentic and natural will you sound to them?

Establishing rapport with your audience is a vital prerequisite for receiving financial support.

Fill in all the fields of the application

The fill-in form might have mandatory and optional fields. Some entrepreneurs tend to skip the latter to save time. That’s a mistake! You should use every chance to convince the judges you’re worth receiving the grant. When selecting the most prospective applications, they will dismiss those that feature a lot of empty fields.

Tell an emotional story

Some entrepreneurs only launch a startup business to earn money. Others put their heart into what they do. You’ll have higher odds of getting a grant if you monetize your vocation and are genuinely passionate about your goals. Tell your audience about your background and the challenges you had to overcome before you got a business idea.

Be honest

Provide your audience with exhaustive and up-to-date answers to the questions:

  • Which kind of support does your business require?
  • Which risks does your startup involve?
  • What are the current quantifiable details of your business?
  • How long will it take to achieve your business goals after getting the grant?

You should convince your listeners that you think realistically and have a clear understanding of how to spend the grant.

Explain how your startup will do good for your community

Focus on how your neighbors, colleagues, or people with specific needs will benefit from your products. List the problems that you can fix and ways of solving them. Describe how you’ll change people’s lives for the better.

Be ready to show the results

If you got a business concept and secured financial support for it, you’ll need to report on the expenditure of funds to the organization that gave you the grant. You should discuss the format of reporting the results and the requirements before the organization transfers funds to you. If you fail to use the money properly, you might be obliged to return it.

What to do if you fail to get a grant

Entrepreneurs fail to get grants if their startups are not innovative or can’t quickly change the life of a community for the better.

The good news is that there are alternative ways of attracting funds for those getting started:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Loans (including 0% ones)
  • Borrowing from friends and relatives

To succeed at crowdfunding, you should create a compelling presentation of your startup / small business with top-notch photos and videos. There are various platforms to post your pitch (for example, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe).

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of how to get a grant if you’re starting a business. Governmental and private companies eagerly support startups from various industries that help local communities change life for the better. 

You can get funding for business idea or if you belong to a minority. Before applying for a grant, you should read its requirements attentively. When pitching your project to the audience, come up with a compelling narrative. 

After getting the funds, you’ll need to report the achieved results. If you fail to get a grant, try opting for a business loan, borrow money from your friends and family members, or resort to crowdfunding.

Investment manager of Admitad Invest