Financing sources: commercial construction grants to support your next project
When it’s time to grow, it’s all about what you know
When it’s time to build, securing financing is at the top of the to-do list, and taking advantage of commercial construction grants can help you lock in the resources you need for your next project. Even in these uncertain times, a number of grants exist to support business growth; the key is to find the grants that are a fit for you and put forth the time and effort to secure them.
Researching which grants are out there for commercial builds and figuring out which are appropriate for your project can be a time-consuming effort. That’s why — to help get you started — we’ve pulled together some great financing sources, information on how to apply for these grants and where you can go to get more information. It’s essentially a beginning guide to possible grants for commercial construction projects. In the end, it’s all about helping you build your business.
Potential commercial construction grants for businesses that want to build
A few quick tips about applying for grants
Keep in mind, applying for business grants can require significant time and effort on your part to pull together the paperwork/application materials and write the grant. This may include business records, your business plan and information supporting the funding objective. Take care to note the deadlines for the grants you are considering, as well as the eligibility details. Be sure you have a clear picture of the problem your business will solve and how that solution intersects with the goal of the organization providing the grant. And, of course, make sure you and your business can meet the requirements of the grant.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some potential grant sources for your business construction projects and where you can find more information to get started.
Federal grants typically are accessible to nonprofit organizations, learning institutions and state and local governments, but the selection of opportunities is so vast, it’s possible to find grants for companies in a wide variety of industries as well. You can now access information on these grants in the palm of your hand with a mobile app that allows you to search available grants and even submit your application. You can search for grants by keyword, such as “construction” or other appropriate terms, to whittle down potential opportunities. Go to https://www.grants.gov/ for more information. You can also look through opportunities and filter by keywords within the Catalog of Federal Assistance (CFDA).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also provides Rural Business Development Grants. These grants are designed to assist rural small businesses with fewer than 50 new workers and $1 million in gross revenue. They can be used for various needs, including acquiring and developing land, construction, renovation, and more. Applications must be submitted to USDA Rural Development offices locally or at the state level.
Grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps provide federal financial grants to small businesses for everything from research and development under the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs to grants for export development.
The SBIR funds research-based businesses with grants through a dozen federal agencies, like the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, The Environmental Protection Agency and more. To learn about the specific grants that are available and check your eligibility, go to https://www.sba.gov/.
Small Business Development Center resources
The Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) may be valuable resources for those looking to grow their business or launch a new venture. They serve as a free resource to both small and medium-sized companies and are funded in part through the SBA. They’ve recently hosted COVID-19-related webinars for businesses about loan forgiveness for businesses which received PPP loans — which is especially timely, but they also connect businesses with the resources they need. Ask your local SBDC office about financing resources, including grants and loans. If you need more guidance, they also offer one-on-one advising for business leaders and would-be entrepreneurs. These days, counseling sessions are held via phone, but no doubt the information is just as valuable. To find the SBDC office closest to you, visit https://americassbdc.org/small-business-consulting-and-training/find-your-sbdc/.
Grants through the Economic Development Administration
The U.S. Economic Development Administration is focused on creating jobs in economically-depressed communities and spurring commercial growth. We’ve written before about opportunity zones and the associated pros and cons — the EDA provides competitive grants for economic development in Opportunity Zones of the U.S., in addition to the tax breaks owners may realize. More recently, the EDA began providing grants to communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Those grants may support a wide variety of needs, including construction of infrastructure and economic development projects as well as innovation grants. You can see the latest EDA Grants here and all current funding opportunities from the EDA here.
Grants for the self-employed
NASE, the National Association for the Self-Employed, offers NASE Growth Grants to small business owner members in good standing. Grants are up to $4,000, so while they may not finance a construction project, they might just help get you started in growing your small business so you can take it to the next step.
Community Development Block Grants
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program awards grants annually to develop urban communities by expanding economic opportunities and providing good housing for people of low- to moderate-income. They offer several programs that may provide financial support for projects such as demolition and rebuilding of blighted buildings under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and building resilience to mitigate disaster risks and reduce potential future losses under the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program. You can learn more about HUD funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program here.
Other grant sources for businesses
There are many sources for potential grants for business construction and other needs for which you might be eligible. Depending on your business and who owns and operates the company, you may be eligible for grants for women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and much more.
Financing your commercial construction: grants are available
Finding the financing sources you need to bring your commercial construction to life may not be easy. The grant research and writing process can be long and time-consuming, particularly if you’re starting at the beginning. Hopefully, this list of resources — although not exhaustive — will help you on your way to securing the capital you need to build the future of your business. And when it’s time to build, remember, the design-build model of construction has many benefits. Among them: maximizing your investment, virtually eliminating change orders after construction commences and ensuring that the project is delivered on-schedule and on-budget, which can make the most of your hard-won financing, including your commercial construction grants.