Today’s economy has businesses scrambling for ways to expand. Many turn to business expansion grants. Available for various types of businesses, these funds can be accessed at local, state, and federal levels.
Business grants can be difficult to locate. The best way to find grants for your particular business is to become a member of your local chamber of commerce or other business networking association. Grants to expand business often fly under the radar. Unless you keep in touch with other business leaders, you may miss opportunities.
Another great resource for business expansion grants is business incubators. It is not unusual for incubators to be nonprofit organizations. For this reason, businesses do not think of them as resources they are eligible to access. In reality, incubators often receive significant funds from states for economic revitalization activities, including business expansions. Generally, grants to expand business pertain to new product and services ideas. Innovation is the name of the game. Not all businesses will be eligible for these grants, but it is worth researching. In addition, find out who the major partners are for local incubators. They may also have funds available for local business expansion.
Business expansion grants may also be available from your state. These funds are typically connected to workforce expansion activities. This means, as long as you plan to hire additional employees, you may qualify for funds. Most states have development and commerce departments that manage workforce development grants.
Not all states have websites that are easy to use so you may have to spend some time looking for the grants. Or you can call the individual departments and ask for information. States usually post Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and grant opportunities to solicit proposals for workforce development money. Discretionary money is likely available – you just need to ask about it.
Federal agencies also provide grants to expand business. These grants may be program specific, location specific, or customer specific. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) offers grants to train workers in fields such as technology and health care. If your business is related to these fields, you can get money to expand your business through workforce development training.
Businesses with product ideas can use the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program for business expansion. These grants target innovative small businesses to fund wide-ranging concepts. Products that will benefit the masses and can be commercially reproduced are the intended outcomes of these grant programs. While these grants can definitely result in business expansion, it generally takes two to three years to accomplish.