As I have said on many occasions, the vast majority of government grants awarded directly to small businesses are provided for the purpose of carrying out research and development activities relating to specific areas of interest identified by the various Federal funding agencies. Nonetheless, the Federal government does provide grants to businesses for other purposes as well. State and local governments and governmental agencies also provide grants directly to small businesses for a wide range of purposes other than research.
The size of these grant awards range from as small as a thousand dollars up to the millions. The grants shown below were awarded for all kinds of purposes including: beautifying storefronts; investing in new equipment; purchasing software; training employees; participating in professional development or training; relocating or expanding a businesses; retaining jobs; purchasing a building; constructing or renovating a building; establishing pilot or demonstration projects; commercializing an idea, a concept, a process or technology; building infrastructure; providing training or consultation services to public sector entities or for-profit companies; improving healthcare; enhancing the delivery of educational services; conducting research; attending a conference and many, many more purposes and projects. A quick online search reveals the following examples of Federal, state and local grants awarded to small businesses:
Though you won’t find any Federal grants for starting a business or paying off business debts, the range of business activities that Federal grants support is nonetheless broad and diverse. Recent examples of funded business grants I have written include a $1 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture to develop a demonstration site in Texas for a renewable energy technology and a $9 million grant to commercialize a new concept in computing. Here are some other examples of grants awarded directly to for-profit companies across the United States:
- $91 million to develop solar PV cells;
- $19 million to develop solar electricity technologies;
- $15 million to demonstrate an electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
- $8 million to develop a telemedicine network;
- $4.5 million to develop a communications infrastructure;
- $4 million to enable a company to develop advanced LED manufacturing technologies;
- $1.3 million to commercialize a novel glass antireflective coating;
- $800,000 to provide job skills training and continuing education to rural populations.
I did not include any of the major research grants in these examples because I just want to give you an idea of the variety of different types of business activities that Federal grants support.
In the next post i’ll discuss some of the different types of state grants that are available to businesses.