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If you’ve been scouring the internet, trying to find money via a small business government grant, you’ve probably seen the same warning a few dozen times: Only apply to grants for which your company qualifies. 

However, it’s not always easy to figure out which grants work for your small business. In fact, it can feel overwhelming, but we are going to break it down. The explanations below should help you sort through all of the government jargon, getting you a step closer to giving your small business the financial aid it so desperately needs.

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To Qualify for a Small Business Grant: 5 Basic Questions

Before you jump into the application process for a small business grant, make sure you qualify for the grant you want to apply for by answering each of the questions below. 

Where Is Your Business Located?

Is the grant you are looking at available to businesses in your area, or is it specific to a certain state or even a region within a specific state? Some grants come from state governments, which tend to invest back into businesses within the state, but even federal grants can carry location stipulations. USDA grants, for example, are available for small businesses in rural areas — so a hair salon in the middle of the city wouldn’t be able to qualify! 

Which Industry Are You In?

Many grants are focused on helping a specific industry, or a few industries within a general field. That can be good news as it means you’re competing only with business owners in your field, rather than every small business owner in America. But it is important to make sure your business is an industry fit before you invest time in putting together an application! 

What Type of Small Business Do You Have?

By type of business, we don’t mean whether or not you own a restaurant or a retail site — that will likely be answered in the industry question. Rather, sometimes, there are stipulations around your business structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp or an LLC or does the grant you are looking to apply for accept applicants who use a DBA?

How Many Employees Do You Have?

The term “small business” can cover a lot of territory from Mom and Pop shops to restaurant chains with hundreds on the payroll. There are size standards established by the Small Business Association that apply to most small business grants, but not to all. 

The grant requirements may be even more detailed than that, requiring your company have a specific number of employees to qualify. In fact, they may even want to know if you pay independent contractors with a 1099 taxable status or if you have W-2 employees on the books. You’ll need to pay close attention to the specific rules for employee count and the definition of “employee” for each program you apply for. They’re all different!

Who Is the Business Owner?

Sometimes grant eligibility can come down to personal information about the owner of the small business. With grants available for female entrepreneurs, veterans who have started business, and people of color who run their own business, who you are may be as important to snag grant money as what your business does!

If you’re still not sure whether or not you qualify for a specific grant, let us know! Someone on the team can take a look at your business and let you know if you’re a good applicant! 

Click here to schedule your free consultation with a member of the ClaimYourAid team to find out if your business qualifies for government grants, credits, or refunds.