Small Business Grants in Minnesota | Fund Your Business

Steve Bennett
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Minnesota Small Business Grants

In Minnesota, also known as, The North Star State, starting and growing a small business can be challenging, particularly when securing the necessary funding. One often overlooked source of funding for small businesses comes in the form of grants. In Minnesota, various grants are available to small business owners, offering a valuable source of funding to help you achieve your business goals. 

This comprehensive guide will explore the Small Business Grants in Minnesota, how to find them, and tips for successfully applying. And, if you are planning to form a Limited Liability Company in Minnesota and want to have small business grants, this article is right for you. Read the guide to fully understand small business grants in Minnesota.

Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research and market study regarding the state-funded small business grants in Minnesota. It would be best to cross-check all the factors before choosing the right one for your Minnesota business.

What is a Small Business Grant?

A business grant is a sum awarded to a small business that does not need to be repaid. Grants are typically given by governments, nonprofit organizations, and private companies to help support the growth and development of small businesses. Grants can be used for various purposes, such as starting a new business, expanding an existing one, purchasing equipment, or funding research and development.

If you are planning to start a business in Minnesota, you should consider having small business grants for your business’s funding.

Small Business Grants in Minnesota

Various types of small business grants are available in Minnesota, depending on the source of funding and the specific needs of your business. Here are three main categories of grants that you can explore:

Minnesota Funded Small Business Grants

Minnesota funded small business grants offer several programs to support small businesses. These grants may be specific to certain industries, regions, or business stages. Examples of state-funded small business grants in Minnesota include:

1. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Grants and Programs

DEED offers various financial assistance programs to support small businesses and economic development in Minnesota. One such program is the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, which provides grants for businesses that create new jobs and make capital investments in the state. Another program is the Minnesota Investment Fund, which offers loans and grants to businesses for job creation, equipment purchases, and other eligible expenses.

2. Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Grants and Resources

The Minnesota SBDC provides resources and support for small businesses in the state, including grant opportunities. While the Minnesota SBDC does not directly offer grants, they help small businesses identify and apply for federal, state, and local funding sources, including grants, loans, and other financial assistance programs.

3. Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE) Program

The MILE program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, provides interest-free loans to small businesses in the state for research and development, technology commercialization, and market development projects. While not a direct grant, this financing option can provide crucial financial support for small businesses in Minnesota seeking funds for growth and innovation.

Aside from Minnesota funded small business grants, there are federal small business grants available. These grants can not only provide a much-needed funding boost, but they can also offer valuable networking and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs starting a business in Minnesota.

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Federal Small Business Grants Available in Minnesota

Federal small business grants in Minnesota may also offer grants to businesses, particularly those that contribute to the community’s economic development or create jobs. Examples of federal small business grants in Minnesota include:

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive federal initiative that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in research and development (R&D) with the potential for commercialization. The SBIR program is coordinated by the Small Business Administration (SBA). It operates across 11 participating federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.

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To apply for the SBIR program, small businesses must submit proposals in response to agency-specific solicitations, which outline each participating federal agency’s research topics and priorities. The application process is highly competitive, emphasizing the proposed technology’s technical innovation, feasibility, and commercial potential.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is a federal initiative designed to encourage collaboration between small businesses and research institutions in the United States. The program aims to promote the commercialization of innovative technologies from research and development (R&D) efforts and foster entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the STTR program involves five participating federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

To apply for the STTR program, small businesses must submit proposals in response to agency-specific solicitations, which outline each participating federal agency’s research topics and priorities. The application process is highly competitive, with a strong emphasis on the proposed technology’s technical innovation, feasibility, commercial potential, and the quality of the collaboration between the small business and research institution.

Other Federal Grant Programs

In addition to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, there are several other federal grant programs available to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in various sectors and stages of development in Minnesota. Some of these programs include:

Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grants: The EDA, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers grants to support economic development, job creation, and business growth in economically distressed communities. These grants are typically awarded to local governments, nonprofits, and economic development organizations, supporting small businesses through technical assistance, infrastructure development, and other services.

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Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG): Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the RBDG program offers grants to support small businesses in rural areas. These grants are intended to promote job creation, business expansion, and economic development in rural communities. Eligible applicants include towns, communities, state agencies, nonprofits, and higher education institutions.

Local and Regional Small Business Grants in Minnesota

In Minnesota, various local and regional small business grants are available to support and encourage the growth and development of small businesses. These grants often target specific industries or demographic groups and can provide financial assistance, training, and resources to help businesses succeed. 

To find specific grant opportunities in Minnesota, it’s essential to check with local and regional economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and other business support organizations. They can provide information on available grants, eligibility requirements, and application processes.

Benefits of Small Business Grants

There are several benefits to obtaining a small business grant for your Minnesota business, including:

  • No Repayment Necessary: Unlike loans, grants do not require repayment, making them an attractive option for small businesses needing financial assistance.
  • Retain Equity: Grants allow owners to fully own their businesses without giving up a portion of their equity in exchange for funding.
  • Credibility: Receiving a grant can enhance a business’s credibility, making it more attractive to potential investors, partners, and customers.
  • Networking Opportunities: Many grant programs offer networking opportunities and support services, helping small businesses connect with mentors, industry experts, and other business owners.

Tips for Applying for Small Business Grants in Minnesota

Applying for small business grants in Minnesota can be competitive. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of success:

  • Research Available Grants: Research the various small business grants available in Minnesota. Look for grants designed for your industry, target market, or demographics. Check with local and regional economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and other business support organizations for information on available grants.
  • Read the Eligibility Criteria Carefully: Ensure your business meets the eligibility criteria before applying for a grant. Some grants may have specific requirements based on location, industry, business size, or the demographics of the business owner.
  • Create a Solid Business Plan: A well-written business plan is essential when applying for grants. It demonstrates your understanding of your business, target market, and growth strategy. Be sure to include financial projections and a clear explanation of how the grant funds will be used to achieve your goals.
  • Prepare a Detailed Budget: Grant reviewers want to see how you plan to use the funds. Prepare a detailed budget that outlines the specific expenses the grant will cover and how these expenses will contribute to your business’s growth and success.
  • Follow the Application Guidelines: Each grant will have its application process and guidelines. Be sure to read these carefully and follow them closely. Submit all required documentation and complete all necessary forms.
  • Write a Compelling Grant Proposal: Your grant proposal should clearly explain the purpose of your business, how the grant funds will be used, and the expected outcomes. Be sure to highlight your business’s benefits to the local economy and community.
  • Review and Edit your Application: Review it carefully for errors or omissions before submitting it. Consider asking a colleague or mentor to review your application, as they may also catch mistakes or provide helpful feedback.
  • Submit your Application On Time: Be aware of the grant deadline and submit your application well in advance. Only complete applications may be considered.
  • Be Prepared for Follow-Up: If your application is successful, be prepared to provide additional information or documentation as requested by the grant agency. This may include progress reports or updates on the use of grant funds.
  • Don’t Get Discouraged: Applying for grants can be competitive, and you may only receive some grants you apply for. Use your feedback to improve your application for future opportunities, and keep searching for grants that fit your business needs.

Can I Get an SBA Grant for Small Businesses?

The SBA doesn’t typically offer grants directly to small businesses. Instead, the agency issues grant funding to state, local and tribal governments, as well as nonprofit organizations, to be used to support small-business initiatives. SBA loans are an available alternative to SBA grants.

FAQs

What kind of small business grants are available in Minnesota?
There are several types of small business grants available in Minnesota, including ones for startups, minority-owned businesses, and those in specific industries.
Who is eligible for small business grants in Minnesota?
Eligibility for small business grants in Minnesota varies depending on the specific grant, but generally, businesses within the state that meet certain criteria are eligible to apply.
How can I find out if my small business is eligible for a grant in Minnesota?
The best way to find out if your small business is eligible for a grant in Minnesota is to research available grants and their eligibility requirements.
What is the process for applying for small business grants in Minnesota?
The process for applying for small business grants in Minnesota varies depending on the specific grant, but generally involves submitting an application and providing supporting documentation.
What kind of documentation is required when applying for small business grants in Minnesota?
Documentation required for small business grants in Minnesota may include business plans, financial statements, tax returns, and other relevant information.
What kind of businesses are most likely to receive small business grants in Minnesota?
The kind of businesses most likely to receive small business grants in Minnesota are those that meet specific eligibility requirements and can demonstrate a need for the grant funds.
Are there any fees associated with applying for small business grants in Minnesota?
The fees associated with applying for small business grants in Minnesota vary depending on the specific grant, but generally there are no fees to apply.
How long does it take to receive a small business grant in Minnesota?
The timeframe for receiving a small business grant in Minnesota varies depending on the specific grant, but generally it can take several weeks or months to hear back about an application.
Can I apply for multiple small business grants in Minnesota?
Yes, you can apply for multiple small business grants in Minnesota, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements for each grant.
Can I use a small business grant for any purpose in Minnesota?
Small business grants in Minnesota are typically designed for specific purposes, such as purchasing equipment or covering operating expenses, and cannot be used for any purpose.
How can I maximize my chances of receiving a small business grant in Minnesota?
To maximize your chances of receiving a small business grant in Minnesota, be sure to thoroughly research available grants, meet all eligibility requirements, and provide all required documentation in your application.
Are small business grants in Minnesota limited to certain industries?
Some small business grants in Minnesota are limited to businesses in certain industries, but there are also grants available for startups and general business expenses.
How much money can I receive through a small business grant in Minnesota?
The amount of money available through small business grants in Minnesota varies depending on the specific grant, but can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Is it common for small businesses in Minnesota to receive grants?
While it is not guaranteed that every small business in Minnesota will receive a grant, there are many grants available that small businesses may be eligible for.
How can I determine the best small business grant to apply for in Minnesota?
To determine the best small business grant to apply for in Minnesota, research available grants that meet your business’ unique needs and eligibility requirements.
Does applying for a small business grant in Minnesota affect my credit score?
Applying for a small business grant in Minnesota typically does not impact your personal or business credit score.
Can I still apply for a small business grant in Minnesota if I have bad credit?
Yes, you can still apply for a small business grant in Minnesota if you have bad credit, but it may affect your eligibility for certain grants.
What happens if my application for a small business grant in Minnesota is denied?
If your application for a small business grant in Minnesota is denied, you may have the option to appeal or apply for a different grant.
How often are small business grants available in Minnesota?
Small business grants in Minnesota are usually available on an ongoing basis, but availability can vary depending on the grant.
How is the money distributed for small business grants in Minnesota?
Small business grants in Minnesota are typically distributed in a lump sum payment once the grant is approved.
Can non-citizens apply for small business grants in Minnesota?
Non-citizens are generally eligible to apply for small business grants in Minnesota as long as they have a valid social security number or tax identification number.
Can I apply for a small business grant in Minnesota if I have already received a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA)?
Yes, you can still apply for a small business grant in Minnesota if you have received a loan from the SBA, but different eligibility requirements may apply.
Is there a deadline for applying for small business grants in Minnesota?
Deadlines for applying for small business grants in Minnesota vary depending on the specific grant, but many are open for applications year-round.
Are there any restrictions on how I can use funds received through a small business grant in Minnesota?
Small business grants in Minnesota often have specific restrictions on how the money can be used, such as for specific expenses or equipment purchases.
Does the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) offer small business grants?
Yes, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) offers several small business grants and programs for businesses within the state.
Can a nonprofit organization apply for a small business grant in Minnesota?
Nonprofit organizations can apply for small business grants in Minnesota, but eligibility requirements may vary depending on the specific grant.
Can I apply for a small business grant in Minnesota if I am a sole proprietor?
Yes, sole proprietors are often eligible to apply for small business grants in Minnesota as long as they meet all eligibility requirements.
What happens if I can’t pay back a small business grant in Minnesota?
Small business grants in Minnesota do not need to be paid back, but failure to use the funds for their intended purpose may result in legal action.
What is the Small Business Development Center in Minnesota?
The Small Business Development Center in Minnesota helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses by providing education, resources, and consulting services.
What type of small business grants are available in Minnesota?
Minnesota has a variety of grants available for small businesses including grants for innovation, exporting, and research.
How can I learn more about small business grants in Minnesota?
Visit the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website to learn more about the available grants and their eligibility requirements.
Can I use a Minnesota small business grant to start a new business?
Yes, some Minnesota small business grants are designed to help startups get off the ground.
How do I apply for a small business grant in Minnesota?
The process for applying for a small business grant in Minnesota varies between grants, but business owners typically need to fill out an application and provide documentation supporting why they deserve the grant.
Is there an application fee for small business grants in Minnesota?
Typically, there is no fee to apply for a small business grant in Minnesota.
What is the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program?
The Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program is a loan program that helps startups and small businesses in Minnesota get financing to grow their business.
Is the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program guaranteed by the government?
No, the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program is managed by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, but the loans are not guaranteed by the government.
If I have already received a loan from the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program, am I still eligible for a Minnesota small business grant?
Eligibility for specific grants may vary, but having received a loan from the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program may make it more difficult to be eligible for other grants.
Does Minnesota offer any grants specifically for minority-owned businesses?
Yes, Minnesota offers several grants and programs specifically for minority-owned businesses including the Minnesota Minority Business Development Center and the Small Business Administration Minority Business Development Program.
Is there a limit on the amount of funding I can receive from a Minnesota small business grant?
Yes, the amount of funding available from Minnesota small business grants vary, and business owners should check every grant’s requirements to learn about the upper limits and other conditions.
Are there any small business grants in Minnesota that are only available to veterans?
Yes, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has a grant program specifically for veteran-owned small businesses called the Veterans Employment and Training Services Entrepreneurship Program.
Can nonprofit organizations apply for Minnesota small business grants?
Some Minnesota small business grants are open to nonprofit organizations, but eligibility requirements vary by grant.
Can existing businesses apply for Minnesota small business grants?
Yes, existing businesses are eligible for some Minnesota small business grants.
How do I find out if a small business grant in Minnesota is right for my business?
Researching the available grants and their eligibility requirements, as well as contacting local small business resources like the Small Business Development Center, can help business owners decide whether a particular Minnesota small business grant is right for them.
What kind of eligible projects does the Rural Finance Authority grant cover?
The Minnesota Rural Finance Authority offers financing for businesses involved in agriculture, including meat production and processing, crop production, and local food systems development.
How long does it typically take for a Minnesota small business grant application to be processed?
The length of time it takes for a Minnesota small business grant application to be processed varies by grant, but usually, it takes several weeks to a few months.
Is there a grant for environmental rehabilitation to small businesses in Minnesota?
Yes, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development offers an environmental assistance program to provide funding for cleanup and remediation projects.
Can I apply for multiple Minnesota small business grants at once?
Yes, business owners are eligible to apply for and potentially receive multiple Minnesota small business grants, provided each one has unique requirements and the business owner is able to meet all of them.
Does Minnesota offer small business grants specifically for women-led businesses?
Yes, several small business grants in Minnesota are available specifically for women-owned businesses including the Minnesota Women’s Foundation and the Women Venture Growth Corp.
Are there any Minnesota small business grants for businesses that want to expand internationally?
Yes, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development offers grants to help businesses expand in global markets.
Can I use a Minnesota small business grant for paying employee wages?
In general, no, Minnesota small business grants are not intended to be used for paying employee wages, but instead for things like research and development, infrastructure development, and similar expenditures related to long-term business growth.
If I’m not selected for a small business grant, will my application be considered for future applications?
Likewise, applicants who are denied funding aren’t barred from reapplying for grants in the future as grants refresh, a different project could be proposed which meets the grant requirements that fits issued funds at that moment that becomes an eligible proposal.
Are there free consulting services related to small business grants in Minnesota?
Yes, organizations such as the Minnesota Small Business Development Center provides free individualized consulting related to grants in Minnesota.
Can a small business grant in Minnesota be a revolving loan?
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Small Business Development Center offers low-interest revolving loan fund opportunities based on eligibility.
How frequently are small business grants awarded in Minnesota?
Different programs function with differing awards cycles. Applicants ought to submit their proposal soon after the grant application opens on the agency website, before the deadline.
Who else should I approach to learn more about small business grants in Minnesota?
Women Venture, community grant funded organizations, grant consultants, small business bureaus, and Chambers of Commerce regional groups are also available for guidance on rewards for organizations.

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Conclusion

Small business grants can provide valuable funding and support for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses in Minnesota. By understanding the types of grants available, conducting thorough research, and following best practices for grant applications, you can increase your chances of securing the funding you need to achieve your business goals. Stay encouraged by the competitive nature of grant programs; with persistence and dedication, you can find the right grant opportunity for your Minnesota small business.

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