Free Money and the Government Grant Myth Surrounding Small Businesses

The downtown Central Library at 1515 Young Street has a Grants Information Service located on the 6th floor. The Service provides access to information in regards to foundations, grants, proposal writing, fundraising, volunteerism and nonprofit management. In addition, the Government Grants section links our local community to grant resources for a variety of subject areas. As mentioned in a previous post, the federal government does not offer grant money for startups as described by the US Small Business Administration.

The Federal Grant Myth vs. Reality

Unfortunately, cash grants for businesses are rare. They are awarded to highly specialized types of businesses as is the case with the National Science Foundation’s Grants for Small Business Innovation Research/ Small Business Technology Transfer programs.The National Science Foundation awards nearly $190 million annually to startups and small businesses whose scientific discoveries lead to innovative products and services with meaningful commercial and social impacts. This grant funding is available for either proof-of-concept/ feasibility and/ or development phases of your startup. If you are interested in learning more information about this type of grant funding, or if you want to see if your startup qualifies for this type of capital, visit the National Science Foundation’s website for these two programs.

Real Government Funding Resources

This does not mean that federal grants will never be available for startup capital, as changing administrations and political interests lead to different approaches for supporting economic initiatives. New federal grants programs are announced in the Federal Register. To explore the newest funding opportunities, click the ‘show advanced search’ then click on ‘notices’ for the type of document, then write ‘grants’ or ‘notification of funding opportunities’ in the search term box. You can also sign up for Federal Grants Notification Service and search grants directly at .

Other federal money is directed to state agencies, and to find information for competitive funding announcements from Texas State agencies visit eGrants. Another useful resource is the BusinessUSA,, access to financing questionnaire. Clicking on the ‘Get Started’ link will lead you through a series of basic questions to screen what grants and funds could be available for your business.