Government and Private Grants



Grants are funds, provided by a party, (grantmaker) such as a governmental agency, foundation, corporation, trust or industry association to the benefit of the recipient, which are not required to be repaid.  Such grants are usually based on an application or another form of written proposal or grant request.  Grants are usually provided to fund specific projects or objectives and typically require certain compliance and reporting to the grant maker. 


Despite media and internet marketing to the contrary, small businesses grants are few and far between.

Grants that are available tend to be focused on very specific areas, typically in technological research and innovation or technology transfer and development. Other limiting factors include types of companies (i.e., non-profits) or specific classifications like women or minority-owned businesses.

There are numerous websites that seek to lure the entrepreneur into believing they will guide them to grant funding. They tend to lead to either a sponsored loan program or to a fee for service program. The bottom line is that pursuing grants as a means of funding start-up businesses general has a low probability of return.

There are some unbiased government sources of information related to grant funding:



Small Business Administration: The SBA has a good introduction and description of the limited grant programs available through the Federal Government.

There are two types of grants that are available:

  1. Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)
    SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small business to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.
  2. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)
    STTR is an important small business program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small business and the nation’s premier nonprofit research institutions. is your place to FIND and APPLY for federal grants. The United States Department of Health and Human Services is the managing partner for

There is a search tool that allows a search for Federal grants by keywords or more specific criteria. All discretionary grants offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies can be found on You do not have to register with to find grant opportunities.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
DARPA issues solicitations for research grants. These are exceptionally competitive.

The DARPA Small Business Programs Office has developed a tool to help small businesses define and prioritize the most important next steps in their path towards technology transition.

DARPA considers small business concerns as a primary source of innovative solutions. It seeks to expand small business relationships and training opportunities within DOD and other federal agencies and enable the small business community to create and transition radical, game-changing technologies that benefit the Warfighter, the federal government, and the commercial marketplace.