Financial support is the masterkey to funding and growing any small business. It opens up resources (yippee!), creates security (heck yes), and allows you to develop your business how you want. While there are many ways to get financial support, one of the best is through business grants. Not only are they a great asset, but they are unlike loans and many of them don’t have to be paid back. How often does that happen?
There are many different grants available for small business owners, and the only way to know which ones are right for you is to get to know what’s out there. If you're thinking of starting a business in Texas, you've come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss nine of the best grants for small businesses in Texas to give you a clearer idea of what funding you might be eligible for. But fret not, because we’re also going to look at the application process and the benefits of these loans. Read on to find out about some of the grants for small businesses in Texas.
Small business grants in Texas: The nine best options
Numerous grants exist, so the ones explored in this article are not an exhaustive list (we don’t want to keep you all day, after all). To find out more, we recommend conducting some online research for available grants in your business type and area. If you think about it, a grant isn’t just one-time financial help, it’s a recognition by a grant-awarding body. It shows that you’ve been identified as a professional business by a reputable cash infusion.
It also tells your story, which will become important as you market yourself to your clients and customers. Everybody loves an underdog story, and recognition grants can give your business credibility. Having a strategy for business decisions is crucial, and your strategy for applying for a grant should be no different. Let’s take a look at some of the most accessible and sought-after Texas grants, including the following:
- Texas Enterprise Fund
- Skills for Small Businesses Grant
- Young Farmer Grant
- Texas State Trade Expansion Program
- Alamo Small Business Grant
- Amber Grant for Women
- Fiserv + Clover Back2Business Grant
- Fort Bend county small business emergency grant
- Southern smoke emergency relief grant
1. The Texas Enterprise Fund
The Texas Enterprise Fund is an excellent example of a grant that tells your story. To be eligible, applicants must have generated at least 75 full-time jobs in urban areas (or 25 full-time jobs in rural areas) with wages above the average county wage. This shows that you've made a positive impact for your county. If your business is based in Texas and has a significant employee turnover rate (as in, you have a lot of people coming in and out as employees) this fund could be a great option.
2. The Skills for Small Business
Awarded by the Texas Workforce Commission, this grant is given to businesses to assist them in training their employees. If you are adding people to your team, this could be a contender for you. It offers $1,800 per new employee and $900 per existing employee. Businesses with less than 100 people are welcome to apply. To submit an application, follow the instructions here.
3. The Texas Young Farmer Grant
The Young Farmer Grant is geared towards the development of agriculture (...did you see that coming?). It’s available to young business owners between the ages of 18 and 46. This organization will provide up to $20,000, but the amount is contingent upon the applicant and whether they match dollar-to-dollar expenditure (meaning, the grant will match your business expenses so that you break even on them). If you are eligible for the maximum amount, you would need to raise at least $10,000.
4. The State of Texas Trade Expansion Program
This is another great option for agricultural entrepreneurs. The objective of the State Trade Expansion Program is to increase the number of small Texas businesses that are exporting their goods to foreign markets and to increase the value of those goods and services.
Texas businesses that meet the SBA’s Small Business Concern guidelines are able to apply. They also must be able to receive federal funding, have a product created in Texas, have been in business for at least a year, and demonstrate that they understand exportation costs.
5. The Alamo Small Business Grant Program
If your business resides in Alamo, you are eligible to apply for the Alamo Small Business Grant Program. It can grant you up to $2,500, but it’s exclusively for renovation, signage, and equipment purchases. Your business must also have been active for at least two years.
To note, this grant’s application process can be a bit complex. You must provide your tax returns for the past two years of business and a detailed description of your business operations.
6. The Amber Grant for Women
This is a great option for female entrepreneurs and is open to female business owners across the United States, not only in Texas. Even better, it has the simplest application process from the grants discussed in this article (woo!). All you need to do is fill out a brief form detailing your business and how it will benefit from or use the grant money. Due to the easy application process, this grant is likely to be competitive, just FYI. Put a unique spin on your application to make it stand out from the competition!
7. The Fiserv + Clover Back2Business Grant Program
This grant is aimed at small-scale, minority-owned businesses with less than $1 million yearly revenue and fewer than 11 employees. The grant is designed to help Black and minority business owners get back to work following the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants need to show that their business has been impacted by the pandemic and that they existed before COVID-19 lockdowns.
8. The Fort Bend County Small Business Emergency Grant Program
If you aren’t eligible for the Fiserv+ Clover program but your business has been impacted by the pandemic, the Fort Bend County Small Business Emergency Grant program could be a suitable alternative. Eligible businesses must have existed before December 30, 2019 and be able to show a revenue decline of at least 15% throughout 2019 and 2020.
If your annual revenue in 2020 was between $25,000 and $100,000, you may be entitled to a grant of $5,000. Similarly, if your income was between $100,000 and $200,000, you could receive up to $15,000, and if your annual revenue was between $2 and $5 million, you could see up to $25,000.
9. The Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Grant Program
The Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Program is devoted to hospitality. This grant is aimed at helping owners and operators of restaurants or bars who face unplanned expenses not covered by insurance. It can be used for paying doctor bills, building repairs, and other situations, like natural disasters.
Additional resources for Texas small business grants
While these grants are a great starting place, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on the type of business you run, many more grants could be relevant to you. The trick lies in doing your research, which can be done online to narrow your search to grants that most apply to you.
If you need further guidance, you can refer to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where you can book a consultation with a professional. They can direct and advise you about the best grants for your business.
How to find the best Texas small business grants for you
Finding and applying for grants might seem daunting. But like all other aspects of setting up shop in Texas, you have to take it one step at a time. As a small business owner, you are bound to have numerous goals, and we get that they can all seem equally important. But if you focus on one goal at a time for 45 or 30 minutes per day and do so on a regular basis, you can see some positive results, especially for things like finding funding.
Devote time to applying for grants
Start with the research process. Sift through potential grants until you have a few to apply for. Then go for it! It’s important to devote the right amount of time to applications, even if it’s only 30 minutes per day. It will be beneficial to keep track of your application details in a spreadsheet or document to keep everything organized, and to remind you of the progress you’re making.
Consider your eligibility
The best way to save time and streamline the application process is to keep eligibility criteria top of mind. It might sound basic, but by focusing on eligibility you can quickly identify which grants are a good fit for you and which are not worth your time, allowing you to focus only on those that deserve your attention. The last thing we want you to do is write a killer application only to discover your dog-walking business doesn’t technically qualify as an “outdoor” service per the grant’s criteria *gasp*.
Assess grant application fees
There isn’t a standard when it comes to grant application fees, and some will cost more than others. If you apply for several grants at once, the fees incurred could be substantial. For example, the Texas Enterprise Fund has an entry fee of $1,000, so you’ll want to prepare for that. Check out how much your applications will cost and then set a budget to help you afford these fees.
Consider Texas small business grant alternatives
Applying for grants doesn’t guarantee you will win them, unfortunately, but there are several alternatives to getting your business some well-deserved financial support. It could be wise to consider a few alternatives, such as a loan through a Texas small business bank.
Unlike grants, loans are guaranteed if you meet the eligibility criteria. However, they also have to be paid back over a period of time. Luckily, many of the SBA loans have simple stipulations and zero interest rates. Opting for a small business loan ultimately comes down to you, your business, and how you see things developing over time.
If you don’t have the time for grants and don’t like the idea of loans, consider running a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding can create public interest in your business. If you write an engaging description and present your case well (through video or other artistic means), you stand a good chance of pulling interested parties into your sphere, along with their funding. These parties will want to see your company come to life through their active investment.
The benefits of small business grants in Texas
Securing a grant can be beneficial for many reasons. Financial support is the most obvious benefit, and comes with numerous advantages depending on your business needs and goals. Another benefit is that it might encourage you to consider areas you hadn't considered before, such as environmental issues or providing secure jobs for those in need.
Business grants get you funding within the state. There are obviously many important steps you may take for your business, including registering as an LLC in Texas, getting the right Texas business license, and learning the ins and outs of business taxes in Texas. But getting a business grant recognizes you as an official and legitimate company operating in the state. It can make your business feel alive, not to mention valid and state-approved.
Getting started with small business grants in Texas
Applying for grants is a lot of work, but if you are prepared for the workload and do your research, you can narrow your focus to the best options and find the grants worth applying for. While the application process may be long and pressures may rise as deadlines approach, remember that anything in service of your business is likely a worthwhile venture!
To summarize everything we’ve gone over, the first step is to start looking (duh!). Finding the best grants will take time. Make sure to check the eligibility criteria, dedicate time each day to writing applications, be mindful of deadlines, and keep yourself organized in a tracker or spreadsheet. If you have patience and perseverance, you’re sure to find relevant grant-awarding bodies that will understand your mission and give your business the recognition it deserves. Best of luck, we’ll be rooting for you !
The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.