30 Small Business Grants for Young Entrepreneurs

small business grants young people

If you are a young entrepreneur looking for a way to fund your business, we have researched for you. In this post, you will find 30 business grants you can apply to today so that you can be well on your way to starting and running a new business.

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What are Business Grants?

Business grants are financial awards to individuals and businesses to support their new or existing ventures’ startups, operations, growth, and development. Government agencies and non-profit organizations typically award them, but other entities support businesses in specific industries or geographical regions or that meet certain criteria.

Most grants fund specific projects or initiatives, such as research and development, marketing, or expansion. Some business grants are designed to support businesses that underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities, or veterans own.

Business grants can be a valuable source of funding for businesses, as they do not need to be repaid. This creates an excellent opportunity for individuals who otherwise may not have been able to afford to start and run a small business. However, they are often competitive and may have specific eligibility requirements that companies must meet to qualify.

Young entrepreneurs may benefit from business grants for a variety of reasons:

  • Limited financial resources: Starting a business can be costly, and young entrepreneurs may have limited financial resources to invest in their businesses. Business grants can provide financial support to help cover expenses such as buying products, marketing, rent, and employee salaries.
  • Competition: There may be competition in the market, and business grants can provide young entrepreneurs with the financial support they need to stand out and attract customers. Also, in a competitive eCommerce business, you may need financial assistance for inventory. If you can’t keep up with customer orders, your customers will move to your competition.
  • Lack of experience: As young entrepreneurs, you may not have as much business experience as more established entrepreneurs. Business grants can provide financial support to help you gain the skills and experience needed to succeed.
  • Support for specific projects or initiatives: Business grants can be used to fund specific projects or initiatives, such as research and development, marketing, or expansion. This can be particularly helpful for young entrepreneurs who may not have the financial resources to fund these projects independently.
  • Encouraging innovation: Business grants can provide young entrepreneurs with the financial support they need for research and production to bring innovative ideas to market.
  • Support for underrepresented groups: Some business grants are designed to support businesses that underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities, or veterans own. Young entrepreneurs who belong to these groups may be able to access business grants to help support their businesses.

It’s important to note that business grants are often competitive, and not all grant applications will be successful. It may be helpful to apply for multiple grants to increase your chances of receiving funding.

Below are 10 Tips on How to Find a Grant for Small Business

Before we get to the list, how do you find business grants in the first place?

Research federal and state grants:

Many government agencies offer grants to small businesses, including those owned by young adults. Check out the Small Business Administration (SBA) website for a list of federal grants and your state’s economic development website for state-specific grants.

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Look for grants specific to your industry:

Many industries have trade associations or professional organizations that offer grants to businesses in that field. For example, the National Association of Landscape Professionals offers grants to young entrepreneurs in the landscaping industry.

Check out grants from foundations:

Private foundations often offer grants to small businesses, particularly those that align with the foundation’s mission or focus areas. Do some research to find foundations that support businesses in your industry or area of interest.

Consider grants from corporations:

Many large corporations offer grants to small businesses, particularly those that align with the company’s values or goals. Do some research to determine if any industry corporations offer grants.

Look for grants from non-profit organizations:

Non-profits often offer grants to small businesses that support their mission or cause. For example, the National Wildlife Federation offers grants to businesses that promote environmental sustainability.

Check out grants from local organizations:

Local organizations, such as chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and community foundations, often offer grants to small businesses owned by young entrepreneurs and others in their area.

Explore grants from universities and colleges:

Many universities and colleges offer grants to small businesses, particularly those that align with the school’s research goals or mission. Young entrepreneurs can take advantage of these grants.

Consider grants for specific groups:

Many grants are available for businesses owned by specific groups, such as women, minorities, and veterans. Do some research to determine if you qualify for any of these grants.

Check out grants for startups:

Many grants are specifically geared toward businesses that are just starting out. Keep an eye out for grants targeted toward new businesses or encouraging young business owners.

Don’t be afraid to apply:

Applying for grants can be time-consuming, but the payoff can be significant. Don’t be afraid to put in the time and effort to apply for grants that could help you start a business and help your business grow.

small business grants for young entrepreneurs

You may be interested in reading about 16 Best Places for Young Entrepreneurs to Live

30 Best Business Grants For Young Entrepreneurs Follow:

Many business grants are available to apply for, and the best grant for your business will depend on various factors, including your industry, location, and business goals. Here are 30 business grants that you may want to consider:

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs:

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is a competitive grants program that the U.S. government runs to support small business innovation in technology and research. Young entrepreneurs can benefit from this program which is designed to encourage small businesses to engage in research and development with the potential for commercialization and improving the economy. The STTR program requires a small business to partner with a research institution such as a university, government laboratory, or non-profit research organization. Learn more about SBIR and STTR Programs here.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is a competitive grants program that provides funding to small businesses to conduct research and development in areas that align with the NIH’s mission. The program is designed to encourage small businesses to engage in research and development that has the potential for commercialization and the ability to improve public health. Learn more here.


The Amber Grant:

This grant by WomensNet was created in honor of Amber Wigdahl, a 19-year-old aspiring entrepreneur who died before achieving her dreams. Today, WomensNet awards 2 $10K grants monthly, and out of the 24 yearly recipients, two winners are awarded an additional $25,000 Year-End Amber Grant. Learn more here.


The National Association of Landscape Professionals Young Entrepreneur (NALP) Grant:

Interested in landscaping? This grant may be for you. The NALP grant is available to young entrepreneurs in the landscaping industry. You must be under 40 years to qualify. Plus, the application is by peer nomination, or you can nominate yourself if you meet the criteria. Learn more here.


The Fearless Fund:

The Fearless fund is a grant program created by the creative agency, Fearless, which aims to support and empower underrepresented voices and communities in the creative industry. The grant focuses on funding projects that individuals lead from marginalized communities, specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, LGBTQIA+ people, and those with disabilities. The fund provides grants of $10,000 to $25,000 to help bring creative projects to life and help individuals to continue to grow their careers. The grant has different cycles, and the application process and eligibility criteria may change yearly. Learn more here.


Verizon Digital Ready Grants:

This invitation-only grant is granted to those individuals whose goals align with Verizon’s initiatives for Digital inclusion, climate protection, and prosperity. Invitations can be received through a community relations manager in your area. You can search for managers in your area and learn more about this grant here.


FedEx Small Business Grant Contest:

This annual contest awards grants to small businesses in various industries.

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is an annual competition organized by FedEx to provide small businesses with the resources they need to grow and succeed. The contest awards multiple grants, each worth up to $25,000, to small businesses that demonstrate a clear plan for growth, a unique value proposition, and strong community involvement. The grants can be used to help businesses with expenses such as marketing, equipment purchases, and hiring employees. Learn more here.


The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Institute for Entrepreneurial Development Grants:

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The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is a professional organization that supports and advocates for women entrepreneurs. One of the programs they offer is a grant awarded to a woman-owned business that demonstrates a commitment to business growth, leadership, and community involvement. The grant is designed to provide financial assistance to help business owners take the next step in growing their businesses. The grant amount varies yearly, and the application process and eligibility criteria can change. The grant usually opens for application once a year, and a panel of judges reviews the application. Learn more here.


The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center Program:

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses. One of the ways they do this is by providing grants to support the development and expansion of minority-owned businesses.

These grants can be used for various purposes, such as business development and technical assistance, research and development, and export promotion. The MBDA grants are usually awarded to organizations that serve minority-owned businesses, such as business centers, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions, rather than directly to businesses. The eligibility criteria and application process for these grants can vary depending on the specific grant program. It’s worth noting that the availability of the grants and the funding amount can change from year to year, and it’s best to check the MBDA website or reach out to the agency directly for the most up-to-date information. Learn more here.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program:

This is a great option for young entrepreneurs with great business ideas or startups, as the NSF offers seed capital for product development in its early stages.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal agency that supports research and education in various fields, including science, engineering, and technology. The NSF’s National Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, also known as NSF NBIR program, provide funding opportunities for small businesses to engage in research and development (R&D) that have the potential to lead to commercial success and create jobs. These programs are designed to support the development and commercialization of new technologies and innovations, with the goal of promoting economic growth and competitiveness. Learn more here.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Business Development Grants:

These grants are available to small businesses in rural areas to help them grow and create jobs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a variety of programs to support the growth and development of small businesses, including the USDA Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program, which provides guaranteed loans to small businesses and cooperatives that are located in rural areas and are unable to obtain financing from traditional lending sources. Learn more here.

how to find a grant for small business

The Google for Startups Accelerator:

Google for Startups Accelerator is a program offered by Google to provide mentorship, resources, and support to early-stage startups. The program typically lasts for a few months and focuses on helping startups in various industries, such as artificial intelligence, healthcare, and gaming, grow and scale their businesses.

While this is not a grant, young entrepreneurs selected for the program can benefit from mentorship from industry experts, access to Google’s technology and resources, and the opportunity to connect with a network of other startups and investors. The program also includes workshops, events, and personalized coaching to help startups refine their business models, product development, and go-to-market strategies.

The Google for Startups Accelerator program does not typically offer grants or seed money to participating startups. Instead, the program provides mentorship, resources, and support to help startups grow and scale their businesses. Learn more here.


The eBay Foundation Small Business Grant:

This annual grant is available to small businesses in the U.S. that are using e-commerce to reach new customers. The eBay Foundation Small Business Grant is a program offered by the eBay Foundation to provide funding and resources to small businesses that are owned and operated by underrepresented groups.

The program aims to support and empower small businesses that women own, people of color, veterans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The grant provides cash grants to eligible small businesses and access to resources such as business training and mentorship. The grant amount and the number of grants awarded vary yearly. The application process for the grant typically involves submitting a business plan, financial statements, and other documentation. You should check the eBay foundation website or contact them directly for more information on the grant and application process. Learn more here.


The FedEx Small Business Grant:

The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is a program offered by FedEx to fund small businesses in the United States and Canada. The program aims to support and empower small businesses by providing financial assistance to help them grow and expand. The grant is awarded to several small businesses annually, and the amount varies. In the past, the grant amount has been between $5,000 and $25,000.

The program is open to small businesses based in the United States and Canada and meets certain eligibility requirements, such as being in operation for at least six months, having less than 100 employees, and being an independent business. The application process for the grant typically involves submitting an online application and a short video highlighting the small business and how the grant would be used. The application process usually opens during the first quarter of the year and closes by the end of the second quarter, but please check the FedEx website or social media for the exact dates. Learn more here.


The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Activate Program:

This program provides grants, training, and other resources to startups in various industries. AWS Activate is a program offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide startups with the resources they need to get started on the AWS platform quickly. The program provides startups with a set of tools, services, and support to help them build, test, and deploy their applications on the AWS cloud.

The AWS Activate Startup Package provides startups with a credit of $1,000 in AWS Promotional Credit, access to AWS’s technical support, and various other resources such as training and tutorials. The AWS Activate Portfolio Package provides startups with a credit of $15,000 in AWS Promotional Credit, access to AWS’s technical support, and a variety of other resources such as training and tutorials, as well as access to a dedicated Startup Business Development Manager. Learn more here.


The Kiva Zip Program:

While not a grant, this program provides small, interest-free loans to small businesses in the U.S.

Kiva Zip is a micro-lending platform offered by Kiva. This non-profit organization aims to provide access to funding for entrepreneurs and small businesses, particularly in underbanked communities worldwide. The Kiva Zip program allows small business owners to apply for a loan of up to $5,000, which is then crowdfunded through Kiva’s network of lenders. Learn more here.


The Open Society Foundations:

This organization offers business grants to small businesses that promote social justice and human rights.

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) is a network of foundations, partners, and projects in more than 120 countries that work to promote and protect human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. George Soros founded the organization in 1984, and its mission is to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.

The OSF supports various initiatives and programs in areas such as education, public health, media, independent journalism, human rights, and the rule of law. It also provides funding and support to civil society organizations, activists, and individuals working to promote open society values. Learn more here.


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The SCORE Foundation:

The SCORE foundation offers grants to small businesses in various industries, mentorship, and other resources. SCORE is a non-profit organization that provides mentorship, education, and resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The SCORE Foundation is the philanthropic arm of SCORE, which aims to support and empower small businesses grant program provides financial assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them start or grow their businesses. The grants are intended to help cover expenses such as marketing, equipment purchases, and other business-related costs. The grant amount and the number of grants awarded vary yearly. Learn more here.


NIA Research and Entrepreneurial Development Immersion (REDI):

Are you techy or scientific and looking to develop a product that helps aging adults?

The NIA REDI program is open to small businesses, startups, and researchers who are working on developing technologies and products that address the needs of older adults. The program provides funding for R&D activities, including product development, prototyping, and testing. The program also provides mentorship and resources to help companies and researchers navigate the process of bringing their products to market. Learn more here.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grants:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program provides funding to independent agricultural producers, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures to develop new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income.

Young entrepreneurs who are interested in agricultural businesses can take advantage of these grants as they are intended to help producers create new income streams by adding value to raw agricultural commodities. The funds can be used to pay for planning activities, feasibility studies, business plans, marketing strategies, and working capital. The grant amount and duration will vary depending on the specific project and funding availability. The program is open for application for a specific time window, the application process is competitive, and the selection is based on the project’s potential for success. Learn more here.


The U.S. Economic Development Administration Grants:

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) provides grants to organizations and communities to support economic development and job creation. These grants are intended to help regions that have experienced economic hardship, such as those affected by natural disasters or shifts in the industry. EDA grants can be used for various purposes, including infrastructure development, business assistance, and workforce training. The application process typically involves a competitive solicitation and review process, prioritizing projects that align with the EDA’s strategic goals and demonstrate the greatest potential for economic impact. Learn more here.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Community Action Grants:

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Community Action Grants are designed to support grassroots projects that promote education and equality for women and girls. These grants are given to individuals, AAUW branches, and other local organizations working on projects such as STEM education, economic security, and leadership development for women and girls. The grants typically range from $2,000 to $7,000, and the application process is competitive. The AAUW also provides technical assistance to grantees to help them achieve the goals of their projects. Learn more here.


The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 Initiative:

The Coca-Cola 5by20 grant program is an initiative by the Coca-Cola company to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. The program provides a range of resources, including training, access to financial services, and mentoring, to help women start and grow their businesses.

The grants provided by the program are typically used to fund small and medium-sized enterprises. They are intended to help women entrepreneurs access new markets, increase productivity, and improve their livelihoods. The program is active in many countries worldwide, and the application process varies depending on the location. The program focuses on providing support to women who are marginalized and facing barriers to economic empowerment. Learn more here.


The Small Business Ready for Resilience Program:

FedEx Partners with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in granting funds to businesses through the Small Business Ready for Resilience Program. This program is designed to help small businesses prepare for and recover from natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

The program provides grants to small businesses to help them implement measures to protect against damage from natural disasters, such as reinforcing buildings or installing flood barriers. The program also provides funding to help small businesses recover after a disaster by repairing damage or replacing lost inventory. The program is typically administered by government agencies, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) or state and local economic development organizations. The eligibility criteria and application process varies depending on the location and the specific program. Learn more here.


IdeaCafe Business Grants:

IdeaCafe is a website that provides resources and information for small business owners, including information on business grants. The site offers a database of business grants and funding opportunities from various sources, including government agencies, private foundations, and corporations. The grants listed on the site can be used for various purposes, such as starting a business, expanding a business, or purchasing equipment. The grants listed on the site are not offered directly by IdeaCafe, but rather by the organizations that sponsor them. The grant amount and duration will vary depending on the specific grant and funding availability. Learn more here.


The National Association of the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants:

These grants are available to small businesses in the U.S. that are looking to grow and expand. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers a variety of grants and resources to help self-employed individuals and micro-businesses grow and succeed.

Young entrepreneurs awarded these grants can use them for various purposes, such as starting a business, expanding a business, purchasing equipment or technology, and more. The NASE grants are available to its members in good standing who have been in business for at least one year and have gross annual revenue of $50,000 or less. The grant amount and duration will vary depending on the specific grant and funding availability. Learn more here.


The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Grants:

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. One of the ways the foundation does this is through its Kauffman Foundation Grants program. These grants typically support research, policy, and programmatic initiatives that align with the foundation’s mission to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

The grants are given to organizations that are working to improve education and entrepreneurship in the United States. Young entrepreneurs can apply directly to these organizations. The grant amount and duration will vary depending on the specific project and funding availability. Organizations can apply to the grant program during specific time windows, and selection is based on the project’s potential for success. Learn more here.


Again, these are just a few examples of the many business grants available to apply for. Do some research to find grants that are a good fit for your business.

what are business grants

What other Ways Can you Fund your Small Business?

In addition to grants, there are several other ways to fund a small business:

  • Personal savings: Many small business owners use their personal savings to finance their businesses. This can be a good option if you have a steady stream of income and can afford to set aside some money for your business.
  • Loans: Business loans are a common way to finance a small business. Many types of loans are available, including traditional bank loans, government-backed loans, and online loans.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding allows businesses to raise money from many people, typically through an online platform. Several types of crowdfunding are reward-based, equity, and debt.
  • Angel investors: Angel investors are individuals who provide funding to startups and small businesses in exchange for equity. They can provide a significant amount of funding, but they also expect a high return on their investment.
  • Venture capital: Venture capital firms fund startups and small businesses in exchange for equity. They typically invest larger amounts of money than angel investors and expect a high return on their investment.
  • Business credit cards: Business credit cards can be a good way to finance small purchases or manage cash flow. They often have lower interest rates than other types of financing.
  • Partnerships: Partnerships allow businesses to pool resources and expertise in order to grow and expand. This can be a good option if you have a strong relationship with another business owner and can work well together.
  • Leasing: Leasing equipment or property can be a good way to finance your business without taking on debt.
  • Invoice financing: Invoice financing allows businesses to receive funding based on outstanding invoices. This can be a good option for businesses with many unpaid invoices and need cash flow to keep operating.

Personal guarantees: A personal guarantee is a promise to use your personal assets to secure a loan for your business. This can be risky, but it can also be a good way to get funding if your business doesn’t have a strong credit history.

Steps to Find and Apply for Business Grants:

  1. Research: Start by researching business grants that are available in your industry and region. Many online resources can help you find grants, including the Small Business Administration (SBA), local economic development organizations, and non-profit organizations.
  2. Review eligibility requirements: Carefully review the eligibility requirements for each grant you are interested in to ensure you meet the necessary criteria.
  3. Gather required materials: Most grant applications will require you to provide certain materials, such as a business plan, financial projections, and information about your team. Start gathering these materials in advance to ensure you have everything you need when applying.
  4. Submit the application: Follow the instructions provided for submitting the grant application. Be sure to fill out the application completely and accurately, and double-check for any mistakes or errors.
  5. Follow up: After you have submitted the application, it’s a good idea to follow up with the grant organization to ensure they received your application and to answer any questions they may have.

Final Words:

While young entrepreneurs may struggle with funding their business plans, it is not impossible if you look at the right places. It’s important to note that grant funding can be competitive, and not all grant applications will be successful. It may be helpful to apply for multiple grants to increase your chances of receiving funding.

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Christine Udeani, JD
Christine Udeani, JD

Christine is a dedicated mother of six young adults and a teenager who has made significant contributions to the online world through her writing and entrepreneurship. She attended Northwestern University, Strayer University, Thomas M Cooley School of Law, NWCULAW, and holds degrees in business, Law, and Communications. She shares tips and experiences to help young adults and their parents with this generation’s issues.

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