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Grants and Incentives for Startups in the US

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Last editedMar 20222 min read

In the United States, there are innumerable grants and incentives for new startups, from federal and state issued grants, to grants offered by corporations to competition winners. In this post, we’ll take you through some of the best new business startup incentives available in 2022, as well as a quick guide to what a startup grant usually entails.

What is a startup grant?

Startup grants are essentially a form of financing, either from a private firm or the state, aimed at helping businesses grow and innovate. Occasionally, funding comes with some form of mentorship and support.

Public government issued grants are far more common than private grants. Both involve an application process and a rigorous selection process. In this article we’ll focus on some of the most prominent public grants and incentives available, as well as a quick run down of some of the more famous private grants.

Best Public US grants and incentives for startups 2022

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program was launched to encourage small businesses and startups in the United States to work with the country’s search and development (R&D) which can benefit government bodies and federal agencies.

The grant is monitored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which is a body also known for overseeing SBA loans.

To be eligible for the grant, you must meet the following criteria:

•   Be a for-profit organization

•   Be located in the United States

•   Have a workforce of at least 50% US residents

•   Have no more than 500 employees in total

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program shares a number of similarities with the SBIR program. In fact, its motivations are exactly alike: to fund SMEs who can contribute to research and development which can aid federal agencies in the future.

The main difference with the STTR program, however, is that it requires applicants to work with a non-profit research institution.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) program

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is part of the US Department of Commerce and offers grants to startups and SMEs via their Build to Scale (B2S) program. The program consists of two separate awards given to winners of the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. As well as a financial award, the grant also helps winners acquire office space and hire new employees.

To participate in either competition, you must first get in contact with your local state government.

The Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) programs

The Small Business Development Centers have several programs formulated in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and, for the most part, alongside an academic institution.

These programs consist of mentorship, the offer of free marketing, generous funding and the option to take business-related educational courses.

Any startup or SME located in the United States can apply. To do so, contact your home state economic development agency and inquire about the SBDC program.

The Research and Development (R&D) tax credit incentive

The R&D tax credit incentive is a federal corporate tax incentive allowing SMEs to counterbalance part of their corporate taxes with research and development (R&D) expenses.

In the past, the US R&D tax credit could only be applied against corporate taxes. However, it has recently become available to startups, SMEs and medium-sized businesses.

Private US grants and incentives for startups

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

The FedEx grant is for a generous sum of $15,000-50,000, with an additional $1,000-7,500 in FedEx Office print services. It’s available to businesses with less than 99 employees which have been in operation for at least 6 months.

Dare to Dream

Dare to Dream grant is for the sum of $300-5,000. However, it is exclusively available to University of Michigan students.

Halstead Grant

The Halstead grant is for up to $7,500 in start-up capital, plus an additional $1,000 in merchandise. However, this grant is exclusively for jewelry businesses that work with silver.

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