For many small business owners, the idea of applying for a grant can be daunting. There are so many grants out there, and it can be hard to know where or how to start looking. But don’t let that stop you; small business grants can be a great way to get funding for your landscaping business.
What are small business grants?
Business grants provide free money to both new and existing companies. It is a sum of the money awarded to an entrepreneur or startup owner so they may have the capital for various purposes, such as to expand their operations, hire more employees, or purchase new equipment.
Compared with a small business loan, a line of credit, or a credit card, grants don’t need to be repaid. Because of this, there is a huge demand for grants, making the competition tougher for most new businesses.
You need to meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify and must adhere to the specific guidelines on where to use the funds. If you fail to abide by the parameters, you might be subject to charges or even repaying some or all of the money you received.
Business owners often look for niche grants that are designed for their type of industry, ownership, or structure to increase their chances of getting approved. In which case, look for grants that give more leniency to landscaping businesses.
Business grants to apply for
There are several entities that provide grants to small businesses. These include grants coming from the federal, state and local government, as well as private corporations. There are also grants that are dedicated for the type of business you have, so make sure you do your research.
Here are some of the most popular small business grants you may apply for in 2022.
1. Federal small business grants
Federal grants are offered by government agencies that support a diverse type of businesses – from those involved in environmental conservation to biomedical technology. Even those who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic were awarded grants by the government.
President Joe Biden has enacted a coronavirus stimulus bill that provides $1.9 trillion in assistance to pandemic-stricken businesses and individuals. This bill already comes in the form of tax credits, loans, and small business grants.
The Feds and other government agencies are among the biggest distributors of business grants. Below are some government grants you may apply for:
Grants.gov: the most comprehensive database of grants, which is regulated and managed by various agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
USDA Rural Business Development Grants: this type of Federal grant provides financial assistance to small businesses in rural communities. The Department of Agriculture administers this grant program.
Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs: This grant program provides financing to companies and startups that focus on technology innovation and scientific research. Companies with no more than 500 employees are qualified to apply for this grant.
Farmers Market Promotion Program: This program is intended for companies involved in the production of direct producer-to-consumer products and marketplaces.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: The federal government awards at least 3% of all Federal contracting dollars to businesses annually. This program is for service-disabled veterans who own at least 50% of the business.
2. COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grants
Companies that suffered financial loss during the pandemic are also eligible to receive small business grants. Below are some of the most popular grant programs.
The Barstool Fund: This grant is for small businesses who kept their employees on payroll during the pandemic.
Fiserv+Clover Back2Business Grant Program: This grant program is intended for Black and minority-owned small businesses in cities greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rebuild the Block: This program was created to support all Black entrepreneurs. Only 90 applicants will receive grants every three months. To qualify, the business must show proof that they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Diversity grants
Diversity grants are offered to people of color, gender, race, ethnicity, religion and disability. Below are some of the most in demand grants.
Fast Break for Small Businesses: LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League partnered to create this grant program, which aims to financially support small business ventures in underserved and underrepresented communities. Eligible applicants are granted up to $10,000 in grants and $500 in LegalZoom services. This grant opens in spring 2022.
Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program: Administered by the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, this grant is awarded to women-owned small businesses. These awardees are given at least 5% of federal contracting dollars annually. On top of that, beneficiaries may take advantage of free business training, counseling, and access to capital.
Fearless Strivers Grant: This grant program is initiated by Mastercard and Fearless Fund to provide grants to Black women-owned small businesses. Eleven small business owners will be granted $10,000 each, including a one-on-one business mentorship and digital tools to boost their operations. Applications will close on December 31, 2022.
4. Landscaping and environment grants
If you’re looking for grants solely dedicated for your niche, you can try applying for the grant programs below.
Jobber Grants Program: This program provides grants to individuals who may either be planning the launch of their business or have been in businesses for years. The Jobber Grant is for businesses that provide one-time or recurring maintenance or repair such as landscaping businesses, car detailing, window cleaning, pool maintenance, and so on. This grant is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec.
Patagonia Corporate Grant Program: This grants between $10,000 and $20,000 worth of funds to nonprofit organizations that aim to protect and conserve the environment.
5. Corporate grants
Corporate grants are a form of financial assistance given to businesses by other businesses or organizations. This type of grant is typically used to help a company expand its operations, optimize research and development, or boost marketing efforts. Below are some of the most popular organizations that offer corporate grants.
FedEx: FedEx offers small business grants to company owners that are looking to scale their operations. Twelve applicants will be chosen to receive grant money; the first-place winner shall receive $50,000 plus $7,500 in FedEx credit.
Kuvio Creative Impact: Sometimes, grants don’t have to be in money form. Kuvio Creative Impact, a full-service digital design agency, offers up to 100 hours of web design, web development, branding, marketing, and operations consulting services to companies owned by women, veterans, and minorities.
National Association of the Self-Employed: NASE provides a monthly $4,000 grant to self-employed individuals who are registered on their website. The funds you get from NASE can help you finance payroll, equipment and furniture, software, and bills payments.
Small business grants can be difficult to obtain, but they are worth pursuing. If you are awarded a grant, make sure you use the funds wisely and in a way that will benefit your business. Also, don’t forget to consult with finance experts to help you find the right grant provider.
Matthew Gillman is a business financing expert with more than a decade of experience in commercial lending. He is the founder and CEO of SMB Compass, a specialty finance company providing education and financing options for business owners.