In addition to federal and state grants, some local governments also offer grants to support small businesses.
In South Florida, the Miami-Dade County ‘Mom and Pop Small Business Grant’ program provides an excellent example of the kinds of smaller grants that local governments make available to support small businesses in the community. These grants generally range in size from a low of about $1,000 up to $5,000. In this example the county sets aside money from its general budget every year for the program, doling out equal amounts to each commissioner’s office. This program receives between $1 and $2 million in funding each year. Grants support a diverse range of activities including the purchase of computers, software and equipment, marketing and advertising, participating in training and much more.
Even economically distressed cities such as Detroit have grant programs to support small businesses. Several years ago, as the economy began to mend, a fund was established to seed growth and opportunity in Detroit by awarding small businesses and entrepreneurs grants to grow their businesses. Many local governments have similar programs but it may take some digging to uncover them because they are typically not highly promoted.
Across the US, a lot of local governments also have larger grant programs as well, awarding grants up to the multi-million dollar range. However, these larger awards are reserved for businesses with significant potential to have a lasting economic impact and create jobs. To qualify for these funds, businesses must usually commit to creating and retaining a minimum number of jobs in a particular salary range for a specified period of time.
Many cities and counties also offer grants to entice businesses to relocate to their communities or to encourage local businesses to remain in the area and grow. These grants can be in the multi-million dollar range.. Of course, a grants of this size comes with a lot of strings attached (they always do) and requirements that must be met—otherwise, the grant funds must be repaid back to the city.
Information about how to uncover Federal, state and local business grant opportunities is provided in the “How to find grant opportunities” chapter of my book, “Business grants: Everything you need to know to connect with local, state and federal grants for business.”