Small Business Grants

Small business grants are scarce. To our knowledge, there is no grant money available for starting a small business. Neither the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center nor the U.S. Small Business Administration provides grant funding to small businesses.

Some grants are available to small businesses in a specific industry serving a special purpose, such as a lunch program for a day care or research and development for technology businesses. However, these programs are typically narrow in scope. Most small business owners have to look to personal resources and loans to finance their small business.

Limited grant funds are available to Arkansas small businesses through the Economic Development Program (EDP) Plus from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, but they can only be obtained in conjunction with an FHLB EDP loan through a participating community bank. Contact your bank to determine your eligibility.

The vast majority of grants are for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions rather than for-profit businesses. By and large, these are fundable organizations with a clear mission and a comprehensive program already in place. They have a track record within the community and are not start-up organizations. Obtaining funding is highly competitive among nonprofit organizations.

Locating grant-funding sources is a time-consuming process that entails utilizing resources such as grant indexes available at public libraries and on the Internet. Out of thousands of private and public funding sources, only a small few may be applicable to a grant seeker’s particular geographic location, mission, or purpose. There must be a logical match between the grant provider’s purpose and the grant seeker’s intended use.

A grant is not “something-for-nothing” and should not be equated with “free money.” A grant proposal outlines goals and outcomes that, if not carried out, may necessitate the return of funds to the funding source.

Grant announcements can be lengthy, and typically require interested applicants to prepare a grant proposal. Application requirements and deadlines are strictly enforced. Proposals go through a review process, and awards often are not announced for several months following the application deadline. Grant recipients are required to submit periodic progress reports to demonstrate that the grant funds are being utilized properly and goals are being achieved as projected in the application.

Arkansas Small Business Grant Resources

The ASBTDC does not recommend you base your financing objectives on obtaining grant funding. However, if you are interested in searching for specific grants, consider the following resources:

Central Arkansas Library System – Main Library
Located at 100 Rock St., Little Rock, AR 72201
Offers grant indexes and other resources related to grants and grant writing. Also available is an online database, called the Foundation Center. Similar resources are available in Pine Bluff at the Jefferson County Library System, and in Fort Smith at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.

Arkansas Early Childhood Commission
Located at 700 Main Street Slot S-140, Little Rock AR 72201
Oversees grant programs to further childcare services in Arkansas.

Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Science and Technology Authority
900 West Capitol, Suite 320
Little Rock, AR 72201
Provides state grants, through a competitive application process, to Arkansas enterprises in applied research, technology transfer, and development of innovative technology-based businesses and projects that stimulate economic growth and industrial competitiveness in Arkansas.

Catalog of Federal and Domestic Assistance
Online catalog that gives you access to a database of all federal programs available to state and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.