- With lots of support for entrepreneurs, Texas is a great state to start a small business.
- Small business grants can help your business to train employees, refurbish, or expand.
- Grants are not the only source of money, so you might also consider loans, venture capital, and other financing.
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With over 3 million small businesses, Texas is proud of its entrepreneurial spirit. Indeed, one of the reasons Texas made it into The Ascent’s top 10 best states to start a small business was the high number of startups in the state. Indeed, data from the Small Business Association (SBA) shows that almost half of Texas employees work for small businesses.
It isn’t always easy to access the capital you need to grow a small business, especially in the current economic climate. This makes grants all the more appealing. Unlike a business loan, most grants don’t have to be repaid. Plus, they often come with additional support — whether that’s access to training, information, or networking opportunities. On the downside, grant applications can be time-consuming and extremely competitive.
Read more: A small business guide to how grants work
Five of the best small business grants in Texas
The right business grant for your business depends on many factors, such as your industry, company size, and the amount of money you need. Some grants are specifically designed for specific groups, such as minority-, veteran-, or women-owned businesses. Try to target grants that are right for your business, so you don’t waste time on lengthy applications that aren’t relevant. Here are five that are worth a closer look.
1. Texas Workforce Commission Skills for Small Business program
The Texas Workforce Commission Skills for Small Business program offers training support for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. It’s particularly focused on training for new, full-time employees. Companies can apply for training support of up to $1,800 per new employee and $900 per existing employee in a 12-month period.
To apply, you’ll need to provide detailed information about your company and the training assistance you need. This includes details of who would be doing the training and where they’d do it.
Grant amount: Up to $1,800 per new employee and $900 per existing employee per year.
Deadlines: Two to six weeks before requested training
2. Texas Enterprise Fund
The Texas Enterprise Fund is designed to encourage companies to expand or set up shop in the state. It describes itself as a “deal-closing” grant, and the amount awarded depends on factors such as the number of new jobs that might be created. To qualify, your business needs to be planning a new project with significant job creation and capital investment potential — and have a single site in Texas that’s competing with an out-of-state option.
It defines significant job creation as 75 urban jobs or 25 rural ones (both full time). There’s an 11-step screening process, which entails a lot of paperwork. If, for some reason, the business is unable to deliver, the governor’s office says it will reclaim the funds.
Grant amount: It depends on the project, but according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, previous grants have ranged from $75,000 to $40 million.
Deadlines: Rolling application period
3. Alamo Small Business Grant Program
If you’re based in Alamo and have been in operation for over two years, check out the Alamo Small Business Grant Program. It provides up to $2,500 in a 50% reimbursement grant for various projects such as renovations and storefront improvements. You’ll need to submit a fair amount of paperwork, including a budget for the work, tax returns, and lease agreements.
Grant amount: $2,500
4. USDA rural business loans and grants
The USDA offers a number of grants and loans for rural development and sustainability projects, among other things. However, each program serves a very specific purpose and the timeframe for application can be quite narrow. Some are targeted at non-profits and public bodies rather than businesses. Check out the USDA Texas page for details on specific projects.
Grant amount: Depends on program
5. Amber Grant for Women
Amber Grant for Women was founded by WomensNet around 25 years ago. The application process is super straightforward — just fill out the application form online. In addition to a monthly $10,000 Amber Grant, there are also specific grants aimed at startups, nonprofits, and certain business categories.
This is a nationwide grant and there’s a $15 application fee. The Texas page also contains a host of resources and connections for business women in Texas.
Grant amount: $10,000 (there’s also an annual grant of $25,000)
Deadlines: End of each month
Find the right grant for your organization
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there are thousands of different business grants throughout the country, so don’t restrict your search to Texas-specific funding. Use Grants.gov to get up-to-date information on nationwide grants of all shapes and sizes.
These are useful websites to check out if you want more information on Texas resources for small business, including business grants:
Other sources of business finance
Grants are not the only source of small business funding out there. There are several business loan options for companies in Texas, including LiftFund, and the Texas Small Business Credit Initiative. The Product Development and Small Business Incubator Fund offers asset-backed loans for companies that may not be able to access other forms of credit.
If you don’t already have a business credit card, this can help you to build a credit history and separate out your business and personal spending. Finally, don’t rule out venture capital and crowdfunding. Check out the Texas Venture Capital and Private Equity Directory for potential investors.
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