Small Business Cents
Government programs for start-ups, Part 1: Grants for technology and other “high-growth, high-impact” businesses
by NicoJ, Administrator - Monday, 07/18/2011 - 1:12pm
If you’ve spent any time reading through the Loans and Grants discussion board, you would notice that one of the most commonly asked questions is “how do I get a grant from the government to start a business?”
Despite what you might be led to believe on late-night infomercials, there is no free money or grant available from the federal government to start a business. However, in certain limited circumstances, the government does provide grants to businesses that help create jobs. Many of these government grant programs are targeted at technology companies that do research or make innovative products.
This is the first blog article in a series that will catalogue government programs that are specifically targeted at technology startups and entrepreneurs (sometimes referred to as “high-growth, high-impact firms” or high-tech start-ups). In the next update, we’ll look at loan programs.
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy
ARPA-E sponsors several different funding opportunities for those exploring creative technologies that promise to transform the ways we generate, store and utilize energy. The program partners with universities, firms, and small businesses. ARPA-E’s funding opportunities include programs and partnerships in the areas of solar technology, rare earth alternatives, and advanced thermal storage.
Self-Employment Assistance Program, U.S. Department of Labor
The Self Employment Assistance Programencourages and enables the unemployed to create their own jobs by starting small businesses. Participants receive weekly allowances while they are getting their businesses off the ground. Under these programs, States can pay a self-employed allowance, instead of regular unemployment insurance benefits, to help unemployed workers while they are establishing businesses and becoming self-employed.
Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, U.S. Department of Commerce
The Broadband Technology Opportunities Programdistributes grants to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the country. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), administers the program, which aims to provide improved broadband internet facilities, new public computer facilities, and increased broadband usage among vulnerable populations where broadband technology has historically been underutilized.
The VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
VAi2is a department-wide program designed to bring the most promising innovations to Department challenges in order to create visionary solutions in service to Veterans. VAi2 has funded innovations in health care delivery, drug prescription systems, and business development.
Rural Energy for America Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture
This grant program, aimed at rural American communities, funds assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that are able to demonstrate financial need.
SBA Guide to Loans and Grants
SBA Community Article on Job Creation Grants
Federal government grant and application information at Grants.gov