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Best Business Grants

A business grant is a sum of money money that’s given to a business owner or company by the government or other organization, to help grow or fund business needs. Unlike business loans, these grants do not have to be repaid. However, they typically have stricter eligibility requirements and a more time-consuming — sometimes complicated — application process.

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Compare Alternatives to Business Grants

Editor's Choice
  • Loan Amount: $5K-$5M
  • Time in Business: 12+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $10000
  • Min Credit Score: 600
View details
Key facts


  • Credit Score:  600+
  • Age of business:  12+ months
  • Monthly revenue:  Varies
  • US citizenship:  Required for all owners
  • Term length:  Varies

Read Review »


  • No fee to use Fundera’s services
  • Access to 30+ reputable lenders with one application
  • Fundera does not receive incentives to work with specific lenders
  • Wide variety of lending products
  • Work directly with a lending specialist to evaluate options


  • High rates/fees
  • Most fees in first few months, no incentive to repay loan early
  • Loan Amount: $20K-$1M
  • Time in Business: 12+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $21000
  • Min Credit Score: 600
View details
Key facts


  • Credit score:  600+
  • Age of business: At least 12 months
  • Monthly revenue:  Varies
  • US citizenship:  Often required
  • Loan term:  Varies by lender

Read Review »


  • Showcases business loans from more than 100 reputable lenders
  • Covers all bases with its business loan options
  • Very user-friendly offering
  • Can see what you qualify for before you apply


  • Doesn’t provide any direct loans
  • Terms of the loan can vary widely
National Funding
  • Loan Amount: $10K-$500K
  • Time in Business: 6+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $20000
  • Min Credit Score: 600
View details
Key facts


  • Credit Score: 600
  • Age of business:  6+ months
  • Monthly revenue:  $20,000
  • Origination fee: 0-2%

Read Review »


  • Easy and quick online application
  • Same day approvals
  • Fast funding
  • Early payoff discounts


  • Rates are not available online
  • Not all loan types explicitly state requirements
  • No startups
American Express Business Blueprint™
  • Loan Amount: $2K-$250K
  • Time in Business: 12+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $3000
  • Min Credit Score: 640
View details
Key facts


  • Credit Score:  640
  • Age of business:  12+ months
  • Average monthly revenue of at least $3,000
  • US citizenship:  Required for all owners
  • Repayment terms:  Monthly
  • Term length:  6, 12 or 18 months
  • Applicable fees: 3-9% for 6-month loans, 6-18% for 12-month loans, 9-27% for 18-month
  • *All businesses are unique and are subject to approval and review.

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  • Straightforward application process
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • Fair credit score requirements
  • Transparent fee structure


  • Majority of the fees are within the first few months, no incentive to repay loan early
  • Loan Amount: $5K-$250K
  • Time in Business: 12+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $8000
  • Min Credit Score: 625
View details
Key facts


  • Credit score:  625
  • Age of business:  12+ months
  • Monthly revenue:  $8,000
  • Personal guarantee: Required
  • US citizenship:  Required, or permitted residency
  • Term length:  3-24 months

Read Review »


  • Funding is quick
  • Transparent about costs and fees
  • Looser qualifications than many banks


  • Application takes a bit longer than competitors—10 minutes
  • Application requires three months of bank statements
  • 0-4% origination fees
  • Only provide info on lowest APR not highest. You would need to submit an application to find out.
  • No incentive to prepay loans since there are fixed fees
  • Loan Amount: $10K-$500K
  • Time in Business: 6+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $21000
  • Min Credit Score: 580
View details
Key facts
  • Discounts of up to 6% available for early repayments
  • An easy and quick application process
  • Approved applications receive funds within 2 days

Read Review »


  • Quick funding available
  • Easy application process
  • Early repayment discounts
  • Limited restrictions on the use of funds


  • No website visibility on fees or loan terms until after the hard credit pull
  • Origination fee charged
  • The $250,000 annual revenue requirement will exclude many small businesses
  • Loan Amount: $5K-$3M
  • Time in Business: 6+ months
  • Monthly Revenue: $20000
  • Min Credit Score: 500
View details
Key facts
  • Multiple types of funding, nationwide
  • Get help from a loan representative
  • Highly rated customer support

Read Review »


  • Easy way to compare business loans from over 35 lenders
  • Partners with large, established lenders such as Bluevine, OnDeck, and Funding Circle
  • Loan decisions are made quickly after an easy application process


  • No transparency of loan terms readily available
  • Loan funding can take up to one week, which is longer than competitors
  • Collateral is required from some of BusinessLoans.com’s lending partners

Business Grants: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A business grant is a sum of money awarded to a small business by the state government, federal government, or a private organization. As the name suggests, you don’t have to pay back these grants. They also don’t come with interest or other fees. This essentially makes them a gift to be used for your business venture.

Along with being free, business grants come with a certain level of prestige. This is partially because they’re highly competitive. But it’s also because receiving one can bring attention to your business. This can not only improve your networking opportunities, but it could also lead to more funding or growth options in the future.

If you get a small business grant, you could use it to further your business in a lot of ways. For example, you could develop or expand your services or market. Or you could use the money to recover from a financial crisis your business has recently suffered.

Unlike loans or other types of financing, business grants often have strict requirements about how you can use the money. If you don’t use the funds correctly, you could end up losing the grant or have to pay it back.

Some business grants are industry-specific, meaning your organization must operate in that industry to qualify. Others are only available to certain minority groups. Certain grants are meant for businesses that meet certain revenue criteria.

Whatever type of business you have, it’s worth looking into the different types of grants to see if your company qualifies for one. It might take some time and effort, but the benefits of receiving a grant can far outweigh the potential challenges involved.

How to Get a Business Grant

The application process for a business grant depends on the grant. Some have a simple online application that only takes a few minutes. Others — such as federal grants — may require you to write a grant proposal that can take several weeks to complete.

Although the process can vary, here’s what you’ll typically need to do:

  1. Gather your documents. You’ll need certain documents and information, such as your personal and business details. This could include your business plan and pitch, typical annual revenue, business history, and the number of employees you have. You might also have to specify why you need the funds.
  2. Research your grant options. See what types of business grants are available. They could be federal, state, or privately offered. For federal business grants, head to grants.gov and follow the steps to apply. Or go to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and search for grants there.
  3. Look into private organizations. Private grants are harder to find than state or federal ones, but they’re out there. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, for example, is a nonprofit that helps support community development initiatives nationwide. One way they do this is through small business grants.
  4. Check if your business qualifies. Since grants have strict eligibility requirements, it’s important to review these before applying. That way, you won’t waste time applying for a grant you don’t qualify for. For example, your business might need to be in a certain industry or make a certain amount of revenue each year.
  5. Narrow it down. Once you’ve done some research, narrow down your options. This will help you find the ones that best suit your needs.
  6. Create a proposal. If required, create and submit a thorough proposal that outlines your project. The proposal should also explain why your company needs the grant. And it should include evidence that your venture is worth investing in.
  7. Submit the small business grant application. Once you have your proposal and any required documents, complete the grant application. If approved, it can take anywhere from a month to a year and a half to receive the funds. This depends on the organization, though.

Types of Business Grants

Many types of business grants exist, including:

  • Federal business grants: These large grants primarily exist to help businesses innovate by funding their research and development. Head to the SBA website to see what’s available. Or check with the U.S. Department of Energy to see what opportunities they have.
  • Regional or state business grants: The U.S. Economic Development Administration offers funding opportunities and programs at the state level.
  • Corporate business grants: Some major corporations, such as Walmart and Visa, offer grants to help small businesses or nonprofits succeed. These grants tend to be small, however.
  • Industry-specific or specialty business grants: This includes grants for startups and businesses that are veteran-, women-, or minority-owned. There are also grants available for businesses that have suffered an economic loss due to something beyond their control.

How to Choose the Best Business Grant

If you’re trying to choose the best business grant for you, here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Do you meet the minimum requirements? Many grants have strict eligibility criteria. Your business may have to meet a minimum annual revenue amount or be in a specific industry, for example.
  • How much do you need and why? Grants come in all sizes, ranging from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Think about what you need and why.
  • Is a proposal required? Certain options — like federal grants — require a formal proposal as part of the application process. Make sure you know exactly what your business is about and be prepared to explain why you should get the grant.
  • Are you prepared for the competition? Business grants are often highly competitive. The bigger or more prestigious the grant, the greater the competition.
  • Are you prepared for the application process? Small business grant applications are often tedious and lengthy. It can also take months or even longer before you hear back about the funding decision. Be prepared to wait for a while after applying.

Pros and Cons of Business Grants

Here’s an overview of the major benefits and drawbacks of business grants.

Pros of Business Grants

These are the main advantages:

  • Many organizations – state, federal, and community – offer business grants
  • Can be used to help your business grow or stay afloat after an economic crisis
  • Getting one comes with a certain level of prestige and can open your networking opportunities
  • Using one to expand your business could also help the community
  • You could get a grant for thousands or millions of dollars

Cons of Business Grants

And these are the main drawbacks:

  • Highly competitive application process
  • Your business may need to be in a specific industry or cater to a certain demographic to qualify for a grant
  • May require you to write a persuasive grant proposal
  • Grant funding isn’t always flexible, meaning you might have to use the money in specific ways

Should You Get a Business Grant?

You may want to get a business grant if you:

  • Meet or exceed the qualification requirements
  • Want to avoid getting a small business loan
  • Are ready to develop your business further but don’t have the funds

Alternatives to Business Grants

If you don’t qualify for a business grant, here are a few alternatives you may want to consider:

  • SBA Loan: These loans range from $500 to $5.5 million, but they come with specific requirements. Eligibility is based on things like borrower credit score, business industry, and business location.
  • Business Line of Credit: A business line of credit is similar to a personal line of credit or credit card. You can borrow up to a certain credit limit. You’ll also only pay interest on the borrowed amount. This is a flexible option that’s best for those who can manage their cash flow well.

Cash Advance Loan: With a cash advance loan, your lender will give you the money upfront to fund your venture. In exchange, you’re promising them a share of your company’s future profits. These are typically easier to get than grants.

Average Business Loan Rates and Terms

If you choose to go with a business loan instead of a grant, here are some examples of what you could get:

Lender* Loan Amount Recommended Minimum Credit Score Monthly Revenue Time in Business
biz2credit $25K to $6M 575 $21,000 6 to 18 months
Fora Financial $5K to $1.4M 600 $15,000 6+ months
Fundera by NerdWallet $5K to $5M 600 $10,000 12+ months
National Funding $10K to $500K 600 $20,000 6+ months
OnDeck $5K to $250K 625 $8,000 12+ months
QuickBridge $10K to $500K 580 $21,000 6+ months

*Loans and requirements are subject to change