Startup Grants

Goals

The goal is to find 10 grants that provide at least $50,000 in prize money to startups and small businesses and have little to no eligibility requirements.

Early Findings

  • The SBIR Grant awards $150,000 or more to small businesses that are participating in research and development. They do not list any application dates or deadlines, so this may be an ongoing grant.
  • To be eligible for the SBIR Grant, companies must qualify as an SBC at the time of the award, and that the Project Manager be in full employ of the SBC.
  • The Visa Everywhere Initiative grants $50,000 to 3 final companies every year. Their 2020 dates have not yet been announced.
  • The Visa grant does not list any specific requirements, but states that they "look for startups that have ideas relevant to Visa’s business, a product in market, traction with early customers, and early funding from external investors".
  • The Visa grant requires participants to work on project challenges that aim to solve certain business needs and finalists will pitch their solutions at the Visa Payments Forum.
  • The Eileen Fisher Grant is an annual grant that awards between $10,000 and $40,000 to small businesses that either engage women in sustainable economy or increase women's participation in decision-making.
  • Applications for the Eileen Fisher Grant will be taken from April 1 to 30, 2020.
  • The FedEx Small Business Contest Grant is an annual contest that awards winners with anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 in grants. They do not have application dates out for the 2020 season yet.
  • To qualify for the FedEx grant, businesses must have been in business for at least six months and have less than 99 employees.
  • The Comcast Innovations Grant awards grand prize winners $20,000. Applications are accepted until March 12, 2020.
  • We were unable to find specific eligibility requirements, but the grant focuses on businesses that can offer technological innovations.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
We found very little information on open-ended grants that offer more than $50,000 in grants. What we did find either offered much less ($1,000 to $30,000), or had specific requirements such as businesses in agriculture. Because of this, we suggest continuing with a broader scope and finding 5 additional grants that offer at least $10,000 in prize money to winners. We will aim to find grants that have as little restriction on entrants as possible. For each, we will provide the grant name, website, grant amount, and a brief overview of requirements, the application dates, and what the grant entails. US Scope (Or Global, as long as it includes US entrants).
Alternatively, we can provide an overview of 3-5 best practices in obtaining financial backing for startups in the US. For each best practice, we will include what it is, why it is considered a best practice, and how to go about using that method for a small business.