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11 Small Business Grants and Loans to Apply For in 2024

Getting a financial boost could be easier than you think, with these useful grant and lending options.

Written by: Isobel O'Sullivan, Writer Repost by: Cynthia Nevels, Start.Pivot.Grow.

Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at Tech.co with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.



There's no denying that 2024 is a challenging year to run a business. As inflation rates spiral and consumer demand takes a hit, business owners are forced to be more mindful of their bottom lines than ever. But whether you're grappling with debt, or looking to expand, accessing third-party financing may be easier than you think.


While free money may sound too good to be true, there are hundreds of grants available to small businesses in 2024 designed to make financing more accessible to business owners. Grants tend to have more specialist eligibility requirements, however, so if you aren't eligible for financial aid we also list some lending options – including government-backed and private loans.


Read on to find a financing option that suits you, whatever your business's specialism, needs, and financial profile, or jump to a specific funding type below.


In this guide: 


Small Business Grants to Apply For Today


If your business doesn't have enough capital to take on future debts or has a unique specialism or back story that could catch the eye of grantors, it might be a good idea to apply for a grant. Here's a roundup of some grants to be aware of in 2024:



1. FedEx Small Business Grant

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $50,000

Grantor: FedEx


FedEx's Small Business Grant is a grant contest run by delivery company FedEx. Unlike a lot of grants on this list, the competition is open to all US small businesses, as long as they have fewer than 99 employees, have been operating for at least six months, and have a FedEx business account that's been open before September 1, 2023.


The winner of FedEx's Small Business Grant will receive $50,000, while the remaining nine winners will get $20,000. Up to 100 businesses will receive honorary mentions and get $300 in My FedEx Rewards vouchers. It's competitive though – last year 18,000 applicants competed for only 12 slots.



Deadline: April 1


2. The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grants Program

For: Micro-businesses

Amount: $4,000

Grantor: NASE


NASE has a grant program that gives up to $4,000 to successful businesses. Grants can be used at the discretion of the business owner – from marketing to onboarding and beyond, but winners need to use the funds as they pledged to in their application.

To be eligible for the program, you need to be a NASE member, and monthly and Silver members have to be involved with the organization for over 90 days. Since 2006, NASE has handed out almost $1,000,000 through the program. If you're interested in becoming a recipient, create a NASE membership by following the link below.



Deadline: Applications are reviewed quarterly


3. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Grants

For: Minority-owned businesses

Amount: Undisclosed

Grantor: MBDA


The MBDA, which was originally established as the Office of Minority Business Enterprise by President Richard M. Nixon, offers financial assistance to minority-owned businesses in the form of grants.


The grant amount will vary based on the needs of the recipient. To apply, you need to register your business to obtain a Unique Entity ID number so the application can be tracked. You then need to register with SAM, using an Employer Identification number. The organization also recommends that interested businesses attend teleconference presentations to learn more about the process, alongside watching this YouTube video.



Deadline: March 17


4. Amber Business Grants For Women

For: Female-owned businesses

Amount: $1,000 to $10,000

Grantor: WomensNet


The Amber Foundation helps women start businesses and nurture existing ones. The organization offers $1,000 to successful applicants each month, and one of these monthly winners will be awarded $10,000 at the end of the year.

Fortunately, the program doesn't require a lengthy application. Female entrepreneurs can apply anytime by telling their story, however, details about your company, industry, and market will help your case seem more competitive.

Successful applicants have a tangible passion for their pursuit, are business savvy, and have a clear vision. If you think you have what it takes, click the link below.



Deadline: Monthly


5. The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program

For: Rural businesses

Amount: $10,000 to $500,000

Lendor: USDA


USDA Rural Business Development Grants Program issues financial backing for small and emerging businesses in local areas. The grants can be used up to the business owner's discretion, but common uses include land acquisition, renovation, project planning, construction, and more.


To be eligible, businesses need to employ 50 employees or fewer and have less than $1 million in projected growth revenues. If you think you're in for a shot, and would like to receive up to $500,000 in financial backing, click on the link below.



Deadline: Varies


Start.Pivot.Grow. Small Business Grant

For: Small businesses

Amount: $2,500

Grantor: Integrality, LLC/Start.Pivot.Grow. Accelerator


Start. Pivot. Grow. Accelerator is offering a $2,500 small business grant. The winner also will receive a copy of the digital business growth plan and will be announced during National Small Business Week. To be eligible, the business must have been operating for two years or more.


The winner of Start.Pivot.Grow. Small Business Grant will receive $2,500 the week of National Small Business Week.



Deadline: March 31, 2024


Small Business Loans to Apply For Today


If you're willing and able to invest in your business's future, take a look at these government and private small business loans below.



1. U.S. Small Business Administration SBA 7(a) loans

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $5,00,000

Min. credit score: 625


The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a variety of flexible loans to small businesses, all with competitive terms comparable to non-guaranteed loans. Its primary program – the 7(a) loan program – lends businesses up to $5 million. Funds can be used for a variety of purposes including acquiring real estate, purchasing furniture or equipment, and refinancing current debt.


Funding can be available as a term loan or can be used as a line of credit. Since this loan is backed by the government, it offers generous interest rates of 11.50-15.00%. However, businesses typically need to offer collateral to secure the loan.



2. U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $5,50,000

Min. credit score: 680


504 loans are another financing option provided by The U.S. Small Business Administration. Its maximum funding amount sits slightly higher at $5.5 million, and certain energy projects are eligible to receive loans for up to three projects (capping at $16.5 million in total).

Unlike the 7(a) loan, however, the 504 has fixed interest rates pegged to US treasury bonds, providing businesses with a degree of predictability. Its use case will be similar to the 7(a) loan, but due to its slightly larger lending potential, this loan is best suited for bigger investments like real estate purchases, property renovation, and construction projects.



3. U.S. Small Business Administration Microloans

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $50,000

Min. credit score: 620


If you don't need financial financing, the U.S. Small Business Administration also offers government-backed microloans. The loan is eligible for small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers, and while the funding amount goes up to $50,000, its average size is around $13,000.


Due to its lower lending cap, businesses with a slightly lower credit score of 620 can be eligible for the loan. Microloans are ideal for businesses looking to rebuild, repair, or enhance their business by investing in assets like inventory, supplies, or furniture.



4. Bank of America Business Advantage Unsecured Term Loan

For: Small businesses

Amount: Undisclosed

Min credit score: 670


If you don't qualify for government-backed loans and are willing to repay slightly higher interest rates, it could be a good idea to pursue small business private back loans. For those considering this financing option – Bank of America will be a good place to start.

Bank of America offers the most commercial and industrial loans out of any bank in the U.S. Its maximum loan size of $100,000 may shy in comparison to funding offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, but the lenders competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms still make it a great option, especially if you're an existing Bank of America customer.



5. Wells Fargo BusinessLine Line of Credit

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $150,000

Min credit score: 680


Popular US bank Wells Fargo also offers a small business financing option called a Business Line of credit. The size of loans ranges between $10,000 to $150,000, and new Wells Fargo customers don't have to pay an annual fee for the first year.

Wells Fargo's Line of Credit charges reasonable interest rates of 10.25-18.25%, and because it's a revolving credit line, the type of financing isn't subject to an annual review. However, because no collateral is required for the loan, businesses will need to have a credit score of at least 680 to apply and will need to have been in business for at least two years.



6. Fundbox Line of Credit

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $150,000

Min credit score: 600


Fundbox line of credit is another form of private financing that businesses can use to invest in their future. Unlike government-backed loans, this loan can be approved within a day of applying, making it ideal for businesses looking to cover emergency costs.

Its application process is quick and straightforward too, and its low minimum credit score requirement is great for businesses with poor credit scores that have been denied from other business loans. These perks come with a catch, though. Fundbox's line of credit charges interest rates of anywhere between 36.00-99.00%, which is a steep charge compared with traditional banks.



Small business loans can be an excellent way to invest in your business and safeguard its future, especially if you can't qualify for private grant programs. However, it's important to be aware that every type of lending can incur risks, even with government-based loans.

If you secure your loan with a personal guarantee, your personal assets could be at risk if you fail to meet repayment deadlines. Taking on too much debt could impact your credit score as well, which could make it harder to access financing down the line.

For these reasons, it is always worth cutting back where possible, like by utilizing free and low-cost software solutions, before incurring future debts with government-backed or private loans.


 


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