Small Business Grants in North Carolina | Fund Your Business

Steve Bennett
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North Carolina Small Business Grants

In North Carolina, also known as, The Tar Heel 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 North Carolina, 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 North Carolina, how to find them, and tips for successfully applying. And, if you are planning to form a Limited Liability Company in North Carolina and want to have small business grants, this article is right for you. Read the guide to fully understand small business grants in North Carolina.

Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research and market study regarding the state-funded small business grants in North Carolina. It would be best to cross-check all the factors before choosing the right one for your North Carolina 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 North Carolina, you should consider having small business grants for your business’s funding.

Small Business Grants in North Carolina

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

North Carolina Funded Small Business Grants

North Carolina 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 North Carolina include:

1. North Carolina Rural Economic Development Grant Programs

The North Carolina Department of Commerce offers several grant programs to support small businesses in rural communities across the state. These programs aim to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and improve the quality of life in rural areas. Some of the rural grant programs include: a. Building Reuse Program – This program provides funding for the renovation and expansion of vacant buildings to accommodate new or expanding businesses. b. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) Grants – The RIA offers grants for infrastructure improvements, including water and sewer projects, that support job creation and business expansion in rural areas.

2. One North Carolina Small Business Program

The One North Carolina Small Business Program provides funding to support innovation and technology commercialization in small businesses across the state. The program offers matching funds to businesses that have received federal grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The matching funds can be used for various purposes, including research and development, prototype development, and marketing efforts.

3. North Carolina Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

The CDBG Program provides federal funding to support community development projects, including small business assistance, in eligible communities across North Carolina. The program offers grants for various purposes, such as infrastructure improvements, job creation, and business development. Local governments can apply for CDBG funding on behalf of small businesses in their communities.

Aside from North Carolina 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 North Carolina.

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Federal Small Business Grants Available in North Carolina

Federal small business grants in North Carolina 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina. 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 North Carolina

In North Carolina, 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 North Carolina, 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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina

Applying for small business grants in North Carolina 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 North Carolina. 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 types of small business grants are available in North Carolina?
North Carolina offers a variety of small business grants such as those for research and development, job creation, and training.
Who is eligible for small business grants in North Carolina?
Eligibility requirements vary depending on the grant, but typically small businesses, startups, and nonprofit organizations are eligible.
How do I find out about available small business grants in North Carolina?
You can visit the North Carolina Commerce website or consult a local small business lender or Chamber of Commerce for information about available grants.
Are there grants available specifically for women-owned businesses in North Carolina?
Yes, there are several grants and resources available specifically for women-owned businesses in North Carolina including the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina.
Are there grants available specifically for minority-owned businesses in North Carolina?
Yes, there are several grants available specifically for minority-owned businesses in North Carolina including the Minority Business Enterprise Grant Program.
What is the maximum amount of funding that can be awarded through small business grants in North Carolina?
Funding amounts vary widely depending on the grant, but some grants offer up to $100,000 in funding.
What do I need to apply for a small business grant in North Carolina?
Requirements vary depending on the grant, but typically you will need a business plan, financial statements, and a statement of need.
How long does it take to receive funding through a small business grant in North Carolina?
The duration varies widely depending on the grant, but some grants can be approved and funded within three months.
Can I use small business grant funding to pay for taxes and overhead costs?
No, small business grant funding is typically earmarked for specific projects such as hiring new employees, research and development, and training.
What is the success rate for small business grant applications in North Carolina?
The success rate varies widely depending on the grant, but thoroughly researching the requirements and ensuring that the applications are well-prepared can significantly increase your chances.
Do I need to repay small business grant funding in North Carolina?
It depends on the grant; some grants are provided in the form of debt, while others are provided as equity financing.
What are the consequences of misusing small business grant funding in North Carolina?
Misusing funds typically results in a legal dispute with the grant provider and repayment of the funds, as well as reduced eligibility for future grants.
Are there any restrictions on how small business grant funding can be used in North Carolina?
Yes, there are typically restrictions on how grant funding can be used, which may include specifically outlining potential uses in grant applications.
Can I apply for multiple small business grants at the same time in North Carolina?
Yes, you can apply for multiple grants as long as the applications meet the individual grant requirements.
What kinds of businesses typically receive small business grants in North Carolina?
Small business grants are available to businesses of all types and sizes, but businesses specializing in research and development or job creation are often the largest beneficiaries.
Do I need to pay taxes on small business grant funding in North Carolina?
It depends on the grant; some grants are taxed as income, while others are received as tax credits.
Can nonprofits apply for small business grants in North Carolina?
Yes, nonprofits are eligible for many small business grants in North Carolina, particularly those aimed at developing new business plans and services.
Is there a time frame within which I must spend small business grant funds in North Carolina?
Yes, many grants in North Carolina require that funds be spent within a specific time frame; these details are included in grant agreements.
Are there any restrictions on marketing or advertising funded by small business grants in North Carolina?
It depends on the grant, but often there are specific requirements for acknowledging the grant approval and use in business communications.
Can startup businesses apply for small business grants in North Carolina?
Yes, startups are eligible for many small business grants; it is important to confirm individual grant requirements first.
Are there any fees associated with applying for small business grants in North Carolina?
Typically no, but there may be fees associated with implementing funded projects, handling and assessing applications, and so on.
Are small business grants in North Carolina competitive?
Yes, many small business grants are competitive, so it is important to execute solid applications and set realistic expectations for approval.
Can small business grant funding be used to purchase tools and equipment in North Carolina?
Yes, some grants can be used to purchase tools and equipment, implementing business plans that expand the capacity of your current offerings.
Do I need to be headquartered in North Carolina to be eligible for small business grants?
Some grants require a physical presence in North Carolina, but it varies depending on the grant provider that has its own criteria and parameters.
What is the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) in North Carolina?
The SBTDC is a network of nearly a dozen offices statewide that provide business counseling, education, and training resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Are there any grants specifically for rural businesses in North Carolina?
Yes, there are several grants specifically designed to improve economic conditions in rural regions, particularly through boosting job skills and development.
How relevant are strategic partnerships in the awarding of small business grants in North Carolina?
In some cases, having strategic business relationships may impact consideration for a small business grant, particularly in the context of job-creating businesses.
Are grants available for businesses in specific industries in North Carolina, like the border area or military bases?
Yes, there are specific grants available for businesses in certain parts of North Carolina or in specific industries discussed by the state policies.
What grants are available for small businesses in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Commerce Department offers a range of grants for small businesses in the state.
How do I apply for a small business grant in North Carolina?
You can apply for small business grants through the North Carolina Commerce Department’s website.
What types of businesses are eligible for small business grants in North Carolina?
Small businesses in a wide variety of industries may be eligible for grants from the North Carolina Commerce Department.
Are there grants available specifically for women-owned small businesses in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Women’s Business Center offers grants specifically for women-owned small businesses in the state.
What kinds of expenses can I use a small business grant for in North Carolina?
Small business grants in North Carolina can be used to cover a variety of expenses, including equipment purchase, employee training, and startup costs.
How much money can I get from a small business grant in North Carolina?
The amount of money you can get from a small business grant in North Carolina varies depending on the program.
Are small business grants in North Carolina taxable?
Yes, any money received through a small business grant in North Carolina is subject to federal and state income tax.
How long does it take to get a small business grant in North Carolina?
The amount of time it takes to receive a small business grant in North Carolina varies based on the program and application process.
Can a nonprofit organization apply for small business grants in North Carolina?
In some cases, nonprofit organizations may be eligible for small business grants in North Carolina.
Are there grants available specifically for minority-owned small businesses in North Carolina?
Yes, there are several programs that offer grants specifically for minority-owned small businesses in North Carolina.
Can I apply for multiple small business grants in North Carolina?
Yes, you can apply for multiple small business grants in North Carolina as long as you meet the eligibility requirements for each program.
How much competition is there for small business grants in North Carolina?
The amount of competition for small business grants in North Carolina depends on the program and the number of eligible applicants.
Can I use a small business grant to pay off existing debt in North Carolina?
Small business grants generally cannot be used to pay off existing debt in North Carolina.
What documents are required for a small business grant application in North Carolina?
The required documents for a small business grant application in North Carolina vary depending on the program, but may include financial statements, tax returns, and business plans.
If my small business is based outside of North Carolina, am I still eligible for small business grants in the state?
Some programs may allow small businesses based outside of North Carolina to apply for grants, but many require that the business be based in the state.
Can I use a small business grant to hire employees in North Carolina?
Yes, small business grants in North Carolina can be used for a variety of expenses, including employee salaries and benefits.
What is the North Carolina State Small Business Credit Initiative?
The North Carolina State Small Business Credit Initiative is a program that provides loans and other forms of assistance to small businesses in the state.
Does my small business need to be a certain size to be eligible for grants in North Carolina?
Eligibility requirements for small business grants in North Carolina vary by program, but generally, there are programs for small businesses of all sizes.
Are there grants available for small business expansion in North Carolina?
Yes, there are grants available in North Carolina specifically for small business expansion and new job creation.
Where can I find a list of small business grants available in North Carolina?
You can find a list of small business grants available in North Carolina on the North Carolina Commerce Department’s website.
Can a small business that is not yet profitable apply for a grant in North Carolina?
Yes, some programs may allow non-profitable small businesses to apply for grants in North Carolina.
How long do I have to use the funds from a small business grant in North Carolina?
The time frame for using funds from a small business grant in North Carolina varies by program but is generally specified in the terms of the grant agreement.
Can I apply for multiple grants from the same program in North Carolina?
It depends on the program, but in some cases, you may be able to apply for multiple grants from the same program in North Carolina.
What is the payback process for a small business grant in North Carolina?
The payback process for a small business grant in North Carolina varies by program, but generally, there is no payback required for most grant awards.
Are there grants available for small businesses impacted by natural disasters in North Carolina?
Yes, there are grants available for small businesses impacted by natural disasters in North Carolina.
Can I use a small business grant to pay for advertising in North Carolina?
Yes, small business grants in North Carolina can be used for a variety of expenses, including marketing and advertising.
Can I use a small business grant for personal expenses in North Carolina?
Small business grants in North Carolina are intended to be used for business expenses, so personal expenses generally can’t be covered by a grant.
Can I apply for a small business grant in North Carolina if I have previously received a grant from the same program?
It depends on the program, but in some cases, you may be able to apply for additional grants from the same program in North Carolina.
What is the North Carolina Rural Economic Development grant?
The North Carolina Rural Economic Development grant is a program designed to help small businesses in rural areas of the state.

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Conclusion

Small business grants can provide valuable funding and support for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina small business.

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