If you’re in the midst of building a brand new startup, there’s probably one big thing on your mind: money. While there are plenty of fundraising routes you can take, there’s nothing more enticing than free money awarded to you in the form of startup funding grants.
The problem is, federal government grants or state startup funding grants are not always a reliable source of cash. Not only is there high competition, but award sizes can vary dramatically. Not to mention, some states lack grant funding for startups entirely.
But just because federal or state grants may not be a great fit, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on free funding. In some cases, corporate startup funding grants can help to bridge the gap and take your business to the next level. This kind of money usually comes from big corporations who are looking for a way to give back to the business community, while also bringing in some positive PR for their own brand.
Below is a list of the best corporate startup funding grants in the US:
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)
- NASE Members can apply for small business grants up to $4,000.
Fundera’s Annual Entrepreneurial Grant
- The Zach Grant is a $2,500 grant to help budding entrepreneurs grow their business.
FedEx Small Business Grant
- FedEx annually award grants of up to $25,000 to ten small businesses.
Visa Everywhere Initiative
- A global innovation program that tasks start-ups to solve payment challenges of tomorrow, further enhance their own product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa’s vast network of partners. $50,000 grants will be awarded to the final three winners of the contest.
Amber Business Grants for Women
- The Amber Foundation helps women start businesses and helps existing ones grow. The foundation awards monthly awards of $2,000 and one annual award of $25,000.
StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award
- The StreetShares Foundation is committed to creating more opportunities for military veteran entrepreneurs. Their grant program allows us to boost veteran small businesses in a big way by providing opportunities for access to capital. Grant sizes range from $4,000 to $15,000.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
- An annual international business competition created in 2006 to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs. A grant of$100,000 is awarded for first prize and $30,000 for second prize.
Fast Pitch Awards
- Each year the Women Founders Network creates a unique opportunity for Female Founders with awards of $50,000 in cash and more than $100,000 in professional services.
- The Girlboss Foundation awards one grant biannually to female entrepreneurs pursuing creative endeavors. Each grant beneficiary will receive project funding of $15,000.
Idea Café Small Business Grant
- Small grants with low-barrier application processes for businesses with forward-thinking ideas. Winners receive $1,000 in cash, free hosting for 2 years, provided by LiquidWeb, a total of $1,500 in advertising credits.
Tory Burch Foundation Fellows Program
- A program designed for women entrepreneurs, providing the community of support needed to connect, learn, and grow your business. Winners will be granted a one-year fellowship, $5,000 in grant funding and the chance to pitch their concept to industry leaders for greater funding.
Of course, it’s important to note that the application process for corporate grants is often (though not always) quite different than applying for state or federal funding. Instead of stacks of forms to fill out, applying for a corporate grant often involves some kind of pitch competition or presentation. While this can be a lot of work, the bonus is that you may end up with some great runner-up prizes, even if you don’t win the big award.