How to Find Business Expansion Grant Monies
Foundations and corporations don’t provide grants to help you expand your business (or to help you start your business or pay off existing bills). You may want to consider a loan from your bank as an alternative source of funding. Or you may prefer to check out the business-expansion funding available through both federal and state governments.
Look into federal expansion funding
Good news: The Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant Program offer business research expansion grants.
Basically, if you’re awarded an STTR or SBIR grant, you may be eligible for a phase II award of up to $750,000 for as long as two years to expand phase I results. (Phase I is the initial start-up payout.) During this period, the research and development work is performed, and the developer begins to consider commercial potential. Only phase I award winners get phase II consideration.
Phase III is the period during which phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No STTR or SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or other non-STTR/SBIR federal agency funding.
Track down other business expansion funding opportunities
Every state has some type of economic stimulus fund to help with business and industry expansions. Turn to your state’s department of commerce as a starting point in your grant-information search. (Some states have changed this historical agency’s name to something different, so use this easy interactive map web page to locate your state’s commerce agency.)
When you call or e-mail your state agency to discuss your business’s expansion needs, make sure to include the name of your business, its products or services, the county in which you’re located, and why you need to expand (what’s the driving force behind growing larger?).
Don’t waste time with long-winded statements meant to impress. Even if you hit a dead end (meaning you find no funding), thank the recipient of your call or e-mail for his time. After all, you can always use a friend in state government!