Often, this funding can be put toward an important project, developing your business, buying new equipment, or keeping employees on payroll when times get tough. Read on to learn more about your options.
What Type of Small Business Funding Is Right for You?
Not all businesses are created equal when it comes to funding. Take a look at the following table to determine which type of funding you should aim for:
When awarded, grants often provide a lot of money and don't have to be repaid
Researching and applying for grants can be time-consuming and are short term
Small businesses, projects, and organizations
Many banks and federal programs offer low-interest loans
May require strong credit or collateral and lots of paperwork
You don’t need to be profitable yet or make payments
Investors expect a return and often entails sharing profits or ownership
Can lower financial hurdles for students
Competitive and usually merit-based
Gifts in the form of financial support
Fundraising efforts can be time-consuming and hard to reach your goal
Startups and disaster relief
Whatever type of funding is best for you, we have 14 funding opportunities for entrepreneurs in 2023. Check out this list to get started, and then read our tips on how to apply for a small business grant.
The U.S. Small Business Administration State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) offers financial awards to local governments, which distributes them to small businesses. Since 2011, STEP grants have helped thousands of small businesses throughout the U.S. The STEP funding focuses on helping small businesses with international trade, such as learning to export and designing international marketing campaigns. How to apply for a small business grant and fill out applications varies from state to state, so check with your local government.
The Hello Alice Small Business Growth Fund provides $5,000 in business scholarships, virtual events with entrepreneurs, and professional development guidance for small businesses. The purpose of its funding is to help small businesses grow and thrive. Applications open at the end of each calendar year. To apply, join Hello Alice.
Every month, the Walmart Local Community Grants hands out grants totaling $10,000 to small nonprofit organizations and $25,000 to one annual winner. Each grant ranges between $250 to $5,000 to help sustain and enhance the organization’s contributions to its local community. To qualify, the organization must be a 501(c)(3) and CyberGrants FrontDoor verified. Applications are open year-round.
For over 10 years, FedEx Small Business Grant Contest has been giving away tens of thousands of dollars annually through small business grants. First-place winners receive $20,000 and grand-prize winners receive $50,000, in addition to FedEx print service credits, a Klaviyo subscription, a website audit, and other business support services. Annual entry periods take place in February and winners are announced in May.
Even the National Institute of Health offers funding opportunities through Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED). A whole $1.2 billion in small business funding is accessible through NIH’s Seed Fund. Several funding opportunities provide resources for small businesses with an emphasis on innovation research and technology, in addition to developmental support for academic innovators.
Grants for Entrepreneurs and Venture Capital Funding
Incfile has launched its very own entrepreneur grant to help one promising business owner and one entrepreneur. The Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant awards a $2,500 scholarship for continuing education and a one-on-one consultation with an Incfile expert. The Fresh Start Business Grant will give one entrepreneur $2,500 for startup costs and formation services from Incfile. Applications are due by March 31, 2023.
The 500 Global Flagship Accelerator Program is meant to boost promising startups with the help of Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs. Winning founders receive a $150,000 investment and access to a growth program to scale their startup. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Patagonia’s Corporate Grant Program provides funding for grassroots activists and small organizations aimed at protecting the environment. Organizations that demonstrate clear goals and a systemic approach to problem-solving have the best potential to receive one of their prestigious grants that offer $10,000 to $20,000 of funding. Their grant opportunities are currently invitation-only.
Y Combinator is one of Silicon Valley’s most notable accelerator programs. Companies like Airbnb got their start there, thanks to the $500,000 investments in startup companies and small businesses. In addition to funding, founders go through a three-month coaching process to help bring their company to life and put the funding to good use.
Minority Business Grants for Marginalized People and Communities
Black female entrepreneurs get less than 0.5% of venture capital funding. SoGal’s Black Founder Startup Grant aims to change that. They offer $10,000 and $5,000 small business grants for minorities to Black women and nonbinary entrepreneurs. Awardees also get additional training to learn how to access more funding in the business world, as well as mentorship opportunities. To qualify, founders must have a legally registered business, hopes of seeking investor financing, a high-impact business idea, and must identify as a Black woman or nonbinary.
Grants for women entrepreneurs are important. Since 1998, WomensNet has been providing female entrepreneurs with small business grants for women-owned businesses to realize their dreams through the Amber Grant Foundation. Every month, $30,000 goes to business grants for women by supporting female startup funding and women-owned businesses, as well as two $25,000 Year-End Grants. Recently, they’ve added new grants that include marketing and business category grants. The application is simple, relying mostly on a statement of purpose. Winners are announced the following month.
Since 2011, the Foundation for a Just Society has awarded more than $180 million to more than 200 organizations around the globe. They empower organizations ranging from local to global that are working to advance the rights of marginalized communities. Grants are based on invitations rather than applications and range from $50,000-$500,000 per year, for up to three years.
The StartOut Scholarship Program offers opportunities to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, giving startup founders full support through office hours with experts, mentorship, access to investors, and plenty of networking opportunities. To qualify, founders must identify as LGBTQ+, work at least part-time on the startup, be in the process of developing a scalable solution to address a market of $500 million and above, and be able to give realistic benchmarks for the next 12 months.
Incfile's Scholarship for Students
Here at Incfile, we offer up-and-coming entrepreneurs the chance to be rewarded for their drive and dedication with our Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant. Students can receive $2,500 towards education expenses. Requirements are as follows:
Must be a high school senior, undergraduate, graduate, or trade school student
Must attend a U.S.-based high school, trade school, or university
Must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher
Must have an interest in starting a business
How to Apply:
Complete the online application.
Create a short, 2-minute video telling us how entrepreneurship will impact your life.
Submit a sample business plan.
The deadline to apply this year is March 31, 2023.
Tips for Submitting Successful Small Business Funding Applications
Whether you’re applying for a grant, a loan, a scholarship, or pitching your next big business idea to a potential investor, there are a few essential things to keep in mind:
Have a well-defined mission statement or intent of purpose for your business or organization.
Ask yourself: What purpose will this serve? Know what you want to use the money for and be as clear and specific as possible in your application.
Emphasize exactly how this funding will help your business reach a specific goal.
Be sincere. Funding is always competitive and whoever is evaluating your application will want to know that your intentions are genuine.
If the funder turns down your proposal, don't be discouraged. Rejection is part of the process. Improve your chances next time by asking for feedback and trying again.
Growing your business — or getting it off the ground — often requires getting a little help. These funding opportunities for entrepreneurs can give you the financial edge you need to successfully grow in 2023.
Jenna Scatena is a writer and content strategist with a love for stories that have never been told before. More than a decade of working with prominent magazines and brands informs her approach to impactful storytelling. Her stories have reached more than 30 million readers, won multiple awards and been anthologized in books. Jenna's work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Marie Claire, The San Francisco, BBC and The Atlantic. She's the founder of the editorial consultancy, Lede Studio.