There is Federal Financial Help for Small Businesses
How to get Federal Financial Help for Small Businesses? If you rely on loans and credit cards, you’re likely finding that banks and other traditional lending sources aren’t all that interested in helping out small businesses with startup costs and short-term operating expenses.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternative ways on How to get Federal Financial Help for Small Businesses to keep your business growing, including grants, SBA loans, and venture capital funds. Here are some of the most common forms of federal financial help for small businesses.
1) Grants for Women-Owned Small Businesses
Do you run a woman-owned small business in need of a grant? If so, you’re in luck. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a grant program specifically designed to help women start and/or grow their businesses.
Grants may be awarded to eligible applicants in support of various goals, including disaster recovery, technology, job creation, and more.
To apply, applicants will need to fill out an application with supporting documentation that meets program guidelines and requirements. The application window is open from January 2 through April 2 every year. See step-by-step instructions on how to apply here.
2) Grants for Minority-Owned Businesses
Grants are great if you’re looking to grow your business, though they tend to be smaller than loans. However, grants may be available from local governments, foundations, and even colleges and universities.
Be sure to check with your local chamber of commerce or state government offices like your department of economic development or housing and urban development (HUD) office.
You can also do an internet search on grants for minority-owned businesses; there are many websites that list available grants in specific areas.
3) Grants to Improve Accessibility
There are many grants available to help businesses improve their physical access. If you need to install an elevator, make sure there is adequate wheelchair access, or provide special ramps, there may be grants available to help offset those costs.
For example, if you’re an SBA-backed loan holder, you may be eligible for government loans that will help pay for renovations like these. You can also apply directly to your state or local government through its small business development center (SBD).
Finally, if your business is located in an area with known accessibility issues, you may also be eligible for federal grants aimed at improving accessibility within your community.
4) Grants to Improve Sustainability
If you’re looking to increase energy efficiency or buy energy-efficient appliances, there are a variety of small business grants available to help fund your efforts.
These grants cover everything from installing solar panels and electric car charging stations, to investing in clean power and alternative energy technologies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees much of these funds, which come from both public and private sources—including utility companies that are trying to move away from coal.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of federal funding for sustainability efforts, here’s what you should know
5) Low-Interest Loans
Just like it sounds, a low-interest loan is offered at a rate lower than that of a credit card. It might sound like an attractive option, but you’ll probably end up paying more in interest and fees.
There are some instances when taking out a small business loan with high-interest rates makes sense—like if your company is growing extremely fast and you don’t have time to wait for capital from investors or friends and family members.
But these loans usually have better rates if you have stellar credit. If you need financing from the government’s SBA program, for example, your best bet is to apply as soon as possible so that you can take advantage of a set interest rate on its 7(A) Loan Guaranty Program.
6) Low-Interest Loan Guarantees
Have a good idea and little cash? The SBA offers low-interest loan guarantees, so banks are more willing to lend. Plus, if you’re able to get a $200,000 loan, you can borrow up to $500,000 through an SBA loan guarantee.
Eligible loans include traditional business loans and lines of credit. Or go with an SBA 504 Loan Guarantee if you need to buy equipment or real estate; these mezzanine loans can be combined with conventional bank financing or used on their own.
If you have a small business, starting out with a microloan may be a great way to get financial help from Uncle Sam.
Microloans are typically short-term and don’t need to be paid back as long as you’re using them to start or expand your business.
The SBA makes these loans through nonprofit leaders throughout America. Find out if you qualify and apply today.
8) Microenterprise Development Grants
There are a number of great resources online that can help you search for funding opportunities. Most business grants and loans fall into one of three categories: government, bank, or SBA.
The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a database called Award finder that allows you to search for all available federal grant opportunities as well as those from state and local governments.
If you’re looking for a loan, you’ll want to look through your local bank’s offerings first, but there are also many online banks that offer small business loans at competitive rates.
9) Online Resources
FirstGov.gov provides extensive information about federal programs for small businesses, including access to databases on financial assistance, contracts, and grants.
Through its Regional Entrepreneurship Centers program, it also offers free coaching services to entrepreneurs who are just starting out or seeking advice on managing their business.
SCORE is another great resource that connects small business owners with mentors and industry experts.
The organization works closely with multiple federal agencies—including SBA—to provide services tailored to your needs as a business owner.
It also provides programs on how to write a business plan, secure funding, and market your business online.
Finding online How to get federal financial help for small businesses would be one of the fastest ways if not the fastest.
10) Small Business Tax Credit Programs
There are a number of tax programs that offer small businesses financial help. Two that stand out include The Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program, which provides credit to businesses that hire individuals from certain groups who have consistently faced barriers to employment.
The program is available in some form at both federal and state levels. In fact, some states have their own variation on it.
Another is The Disabled Access Credit Program, which provides tax credits to businesses that provide access to disabled persons.
These individuals must be full-time employees and they must have been disabled for at least 12 months before being hired by your business.
11) State Small Business Credit Initiative
The program helps community banks make loans to businesses with up to $35 million in annual revenues. It provides more than $7 billion in guarantees annually, and small business loans guaranteed by it made up about 75 percent of all new small business loans issued last year.
These are very short-term (one year) loans, with terms calling for payments to be collected weekly or biweekly; more than 90 percent are paid on time.
There is no interest rate on these loans but there is a fee, currently 0.25 percent per month on outstanding balances.
12) Small Business Lending Fund
The Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) is a program administered by small business development centers and lenders that helps expand access to capital for small businesses.
The SBLF’s primary goal is to improve credit conditions in local communities, leading to increased lending activity and job creation.
In most cases, a company can get a loan from a participating lender with loan-to-value ratios as high as 90 percent.
Loans are made in conjunction with an SBA-guaranteed debenture or conventional financing provided by banks through community development financial institutions (CDFIs). If you qualify, check out your state small business development center’s list of participating lenders today.
13) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
The Small Business Administration has partnered with seven other federal agencies to create an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).
The purpose of these partnerships is to promote federal procurement opportunities through outreach, training, contracting support, technical assistance, and tools that are tailored specifically to meet small business needs.
These partnerships include the Department of Defense; Department of Agriculture; Department of Education; Department of Energy; Department of Homeland Security; Environmental Protection Agency; National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
There are over 100 Regional Offices throughout the United States providing services at both a national and local level. And if you’re unable to make it to your nearest office, many services can be accessed online.
In addition to financial assistance from SBA, there are a number of other federal programs designed to help small businesses. These include research and development grants from NSF and HHS, loans from the Department of Agriculture, assistance with international trade from a number of agencies including Commerce and Treasury, as well as assistance on access to capital through SBA’s many partners.
Many states also have their own federally funded programs that provide financial assistance for small businesses. Understanding all your options can help you find funding tailored specifically to your business needs—from consulting services to start-up capital—so make sure you do your homework. Financial help might be closer than you think.