Small Business Guide To Government Grants

What is a Government Grant?

A government grant is a financial award given by the federal, state or local government authority for a beneficial project of some sort. It is effectively a gift: It does not include technical assistance or other financial assistance, such as a loan or loan guarantee, an interest rate subsidy, direct appropriation, or revenue sharing. The grantee is not expected to repay the money.

How Do You Get Started Working With The Government?

SAM stands for System Award Management.

In order to do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management. The government will not hire any type of business that has not registered in the SAM directory.

We have an article on our site, Everything You Need to Know About SAM for Small Businesses, that gives you important information about this process.

As a smart entrepreneur, you have already used our site to register in the SAM directory. Congratulations on taking this important first step to become a government contractor.

Registering With The SAM Directory Also Has Other Important Advantages

You must register with the SAM directory in order to apply for government grants.

A grant is a way the government funds your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

A grant is different from a loan in that it is money that your business does not have to pay back. So, registering for the SAM directory actually gives you access to free money!

Is it difficult to obtain a Grant?

In truth, grants can be very competitive. It is important to read instructions so that you can thoroughly understand the application process. You do not want your grant application to be thrown out because you did not provide the correct paperwork or information. A small business should also be aware of deadlines. However, please do not let a challenging application dissuade you from trying to qualify for grants. There is nothing truer than the saying about never making any of the shots you don’t take. There are also websites that can help you through the process.

 For example, the following are the steps to apply for a federal grant:

  • Step 1: Obtain a DUNS Number
  • Step 2: Register with SAM
  • Step 3: Register with

You might be wondering what SAM means and how do you register with the site. Go to sam. directory to find people who are willing to make this as easy as possible. Be sure to also check out our informative article Everything A Small Business Needs to Know About the SAM Directory, which should easily answer most of your questions.

What are some examples of grants for Small Businesses?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) encourages small businesses in the United States to engage in research and development that has economic potential.

Their website states their mission is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The program’s goals are four-fold:

  • Stimulate technological innovation.
  • Meet Federal research and development needs.
  • Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.

The following are a list of agencies that participate in the SBIR program:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce – National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Department of Commerce – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Transportation
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. 

The mission of the STTR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.

The programs’ goals are to:

  • Stimulate technological innovation.
  • Foster technology transfer through cooperative R&D between small businesses and research institutions.
  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D.

Participating government agencies include the following:

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation

These are some great opportunities at the federal level for any small business.

Why is the government giving away free money?

Innovation and ingenuity are important to any society. In order for any economy to be competitive in the modern world, it must make sure to open up avenues to grow and nurture new businesses. To put it simply, the government gives out grants because it serves the greater good to serve the needs of the people.

Grants are a great way to even the playing field.

We have all heard stories about great entrepreneurs with relatively humble beginnings. Grants are in place because few people have the capital to start a business without some assistance. This is particularly true for minorities and women who might have faced discrimination in the past that hindered them from pursuing their business goals.

Here is a listing of the best government grants for women:

  • National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants
  • Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
  • Amber Grant
  • IdeaCafe Grant
  • #GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant
  • Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
  • FedEx Small Business Grant
  • The Halstead Grant

What happens if I receive a grant?

The good news is that since it is not a loan you do not have to worry about interest rates and financing. However, grants can be very specific about how you use your money so you want to make sure that there is clear communication between you and the government agency about how the money should be spent.

Do not forget to register for the SAM directory.

Your first step to securing these lucrative grants is registering for the SAM Directory.

SAM stands for System Award Management. Go to sam. directory for assistance on this important process. The right government grant can go a long way into making your small business goal a reality.