Everyone needs some extra financial support from time to time. Whether you’re a small business owner, an aspiring entrepreneur or a student, getting some extra cash flow and small business funding can take you to the next level or even just keep you sustained during hard times.
From small business grants and loans to startup funding and investments and scholarships, there are thousands of funding options available — if you know where to look. Over the years, more money has become available for minority grants to start a business, small business grants for women, disaster relief funding like COVID-19 small business grants and general small business grants.
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. Learn more about your options and what can help your business thrive.
What Type of Small Business Funding Is Right for You?
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 35 funding opportunities for entrepreneurs in 2022. Check out this list to get you 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. 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 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 10 years, FedEx Small Business Grant Contest has been giving away tens of thousands of dollars annually through small business grants. Seven first-place winners receive $20,000 and three 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
This year Incfile 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 March 31, 2022.
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. This year’s grants and applications will be announced in the spring of 2022.
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.
The Beam Angel Network invests direct capital into women-founded small businesses. Business development support is provided through a 10-month mentorship process, starting with being paired with potential Guardian Angel investors. Investments vary and are at the discretion of the investors. Candidates should have a pitch deck prepared for the application process.
Black female entrepreneurs get less than 0.5 percent 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, have a high-impact business idea and 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.
Digitalundivided focuses on inclusive innovation and grants for black-owned businesses to start a venture by supporting Black and Latinx communities. In 2020, they launched their Do You Fellowship Program, which provides a $5,000 business investment and mentorship resources geared towards business development.
Invoice2go’s Grow Grant gives $200,000 to small business owners from minority communities in order to boost their reach and success. Companies are eligible to receive $15,000 each and access to Invoice2go’s community. To qualify, the business must be less than five years old, have less than 11 employees and have annual revenue of less than $1 million.
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.
More small business grants for minorities and marginalized communities:
Nearly 40 percent of small businesses are unable to reopen their doors following a disaster. To help restaurants recover from unexpected natural disasters, DoorDash created a Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund that supplies $10,000 COVID-19 small business grants to restaurants in need. Restaurants must be in a state or federally declared natural disaster zone and must be submitted within 12 months of the declared disaster.
The GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund provides financial support to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through micro-grants. More than $2.5 million has been granted to 4,000 small businesses across the United States. To qualify, a small business must prove to be negatively impacted by a government mandate due to COVID-19. Recipients get $500 matching grants.
More than half of small businesses impacted by COVID-19 say that they’ve increased client interactions online. Comcast RISE Investment Fund provides financial and tactical support to small businesses owned by people of color and women who have been hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking to use technology to support their business. More than $60 million in grants, services and commercial marketing opportunities are being provided to more than 6,000 companies. Applications are open until June 17, 2022.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) teamed up with Sam’s Club to provide small business grants to independent companies in need of financial support and technical assistance during hard times due to COVID-19. Grants are up to $10,000 for eligible expenses like payroll, rent, outstanding vendor debt and upgrading technology infrastructure.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Assistance provides low-interest loans and other assistance to businesses impacted by declared disasters. The types and amounts of loans vary but generally cover long-term loans for physical and economic damage caused by declared disaster.
Start learning about the value of funding before you even begin your career by investing your time in scholarship research. It’s not only universities that award scholarships, but lots of other institutions, businesses and organizations, too. Here are a few stand-out ones to look into.
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 important things to keep front of 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 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 2022.
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.