So you’ve decided to start a business or need money to help fund everyday operations. In a prior article we discussed the various ways to fund your business. Over the past year small business owners have been hearing terms like PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans, SBA (Small Business Administration) loans, and COVID relief programs. Now that we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel with COVID, relief programs are dwindling and programs like PPP have been exhausted. There are other loan opportunities available, but why not consider grants before committing to the loan process?

Where to start with grants?

Business owner researching grants
Business owner researching grants

Open your favorite browser and you are sure to easily find some general websites to start your search. Knowing great sites to consider, tips to direct your research and understanding your exact business needs will be instrumental in the process. To help you with your journey to funding with grants, we’ve compiled a short list of grants for you to consider for your business.

Grants For Women

Woman business owner
Woman business owner

Women usually have limited business opportunities despite the growing number of women business owners. To level the playing field between female and male business owners, various organizations and foundations seek to exclusively offer grants to women. If you identify as a woman, you may want to consider applying for a grant from the following.

Amber Grant Foundation: The organization offers grants monthly of $10,000 and a $25,000 grant if you’re the December winner. To submit your application, you have to tell a little bit about your business, what you plan to do with the funds, and pay a $15 application fee. Interested in learning more and applying? Check out the foundation’s website.

Cartier Women’s Initiative: The initiative gives out regional awards with $100,000 going to the 7 top businesses with one selected from each region and $30,000 going to 14 finalists. The application period has closed for 2021, but the next application cycle is expected for Spring 2022. Spring seems far off but it could give you the time needed to prepare your application for the big prize. To learn more about the Women’s initiative and the next application cycle visit the organization’s site.

Chicago Foundation for Women: As the name states, this is exclusive to women in Chicago. Grants ranging from $15,000 to $150,000 are offered to local organizations seeking to help with economic security, violence, and health of women in the metropolitan area. To apply, follow this link.

Now if you’re not from Chicago this might seem irrelevant, but it’s an example of what could be offered in your local area. Of course, you won’t know until you start doing the research.

Grants for Minorities

Minority business owners in need of grants
Minority business owners in need of grants

Not only are women underserved, but minority groups as a whole. No matter where you fall in the minority group, there’s likely a grant opportunity for you.

Minority Business Development Agency: MBDA offers various grant competitions which are updated regularly on their website. Currently there’s an opportunity for American Indians. In addition to the grant competitions, contact information for your local MBDA can be found here if there is one near you.

Coalition to Back Black Businesses: If you are a Black business owner, check this opportunity out. The application process will be starting in September this year. The coalition expects to provide $5,000 grants to at least 300 business owners. To get more information, start here.

Grants For Anyone

Business owner in need of grant funds
Business owner in need of grant funds

Not every business owner identifies with the above demographics, but all businesses need money. The following are good opportunities for everyone.

Nav: The company offers a $10,000 small business grant as well as other resources for your business. The most recent application cycle has closed, but you still may find the site useful.  

FedEx: It holds an annual small business grant contest that offers prizes ranging from $15,000 up to $50,000 for various business owners. Office print services are also provided to winners in varying amounts. This would be a grant to keep on your radar for the next application cycle. Monitor their site for updates.

There are more grant opportunities out there than what has been listed here, so don’t give up if you don’t see what you need here. Also keep in mind that researching your local or respective state government could provide you more grant opportunities.

Have any thoughts about grants to add? Share your other opportunities in the comments below.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.