Louisiana Small Business Grants: The Top Options

Written on September 14, 2021
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Getting a Louisiana small business grant can be a great way to inject cash into your business. A small business grant can cover all sorts of business expenses or help cover project costs. Although small business grants can take time to acquire, unlike business loans, the benefit of a business grant is that they don’t come with any fees or expensive interest rates.

In this article, we’ll look into six of the top Louisiana small business grants. We’ll also go over how to plan your grant application and look into different types of financing options in addition to grant funding.

The Top 5 Louisiana Small Business Grants

Below is a list of grants that we believe are some of the best for Louisiana small businesses. These grants are either large state grants and national grants available to businesses across the country. We also want to call out the fact that you can find a few excellent grants through your local SBDC center, or even SCORE center. You can also contact your state senator’s office because they often compile a list of grants for Louisana small businesses.

There are also a few small business grants for women and grants for minorities which you can look into if your business fits those requirements.

Now let’s jump into the top Louisiana small business grants.

1. STEP Grants

The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant is an SBA program that awards financial grants to small businesses that need assistance with export development. The Louisiana STEP program offers reimbursements of up to 90% for expenses related to trade shows, trade missions, or export training workshops. The STEP program can offer grants up to $6,333.

Eligible businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Have one year of business history
  • Be for-profit
  • Headquartered in Louisiana
  • Have an export strategy plan
  • Meet the SBA definition of a small business
  • Have export products that contain at least 51% of U.S. content
  • Must be seeking to export to new markets
  • Understand the costs of exporting (e.g. shipping, customs brokers, etc.)

To apply, you must download the Louisiana STEP application and complete it.

2. SBIR and STTR Grants

The SBIR and STTR Grant Programs award grants up to $250,000 to small businesses that conduct research and development with the federal government. SBIR and STTR grants are highly competitive and, in order to apply, your business must have technology that is eligible for commercialization and meet specific government requirements. If your business receives an SBIR or STTR grant and performs well, you also have the opportunity to earn more money through the program.

To meet the SBIR and STTR basic eligibility requirements, your business must be located in the United States and may not have more than 500 employees.

3. Zach Grant

If you want a quick way to earn a cool $2,500, the Fundera Zach Grant is an annual grant program that awards $2,500 to one small business each year. To apply, all you need to do is upload a three-minute video about why you started your business. You won’t have to fill out copious amounts of paperwork and financial statements. As long as your video entry is creative, original, and of high quality, you can stand a good chance of winning the grant.

If you want to apply to the Fundera Zach Grant, you must like and follow Fundera’s Facebook, publish your video entry to your YouTube channel, email your video to Fundera, and post your video entry to your social networks.

4. Amber Grant for Women

If you are a woman operating a business in Louisiana, you need to check out the Amber Grant. The Amber Grant awards $10,000 each month to women-owned businesses. If you’re selected to receive a monthly grant, you automatically qualify to win an additional $25,000 at the end of the year, which means you can potentially win up to $35,000 in grant funding. The Amber Grant program is open to small businesses across the country and the application process is super simple.

You simply need to fill out a few questions about your business and why you need the grant funds to apply, and then pay a $15 application fee. Eligible applicants must be over the age of 18 and have a business that is majority-owned by a woman.

5. GrantWatch

Louisiana GrantWatch compiles a bunch of new grants for small businesses. Although not all of the grants are for small businesses, the site compiles local, state, and federal grants. Louisiana GrantWatch is an excellent resource if you’re on the hunt for new grants, and you can also use the site to find a grant writer to help you craft stellar small business grant proposals.

How to Find the Right Small Business Grant for Your Business

To best prepare you for your grant search and application process, we’ve assembled a few best practices to help guide you through. Below, we’ve outlined the basics of a grant proposal, and briefly touch on how to understand your business’s eligibility.

Here are some tips to help you find the right Louisiana small business grant.

1. Understand Your Eligibility

The first cardinal rule of applying for grants is to choose a grant program that aligns with your business needs. You do not want to automatically disqualify your business by not meeting a grant program’s eligibility requirements, so do your due diligence before you apply. Before you start applying for a grant program, make sure you have an answer to the following questions:

  • How you identify (gender, race, ethnicity)
  • The industries into which your business fits (e.g., biotech)
  • What you’re going to use the grant money for
  • Your company’s goals and mission
  • How many jobs you can create with your grant (if applicable)
  • The local areas to which you belong (state, county, community, etc.)
  • The size of your project
  • Whom your company serves and affects

2. Write a Strong Grant Proposal

A grant proposal is the heart of your grant application. Generally, the more grant money you’re requesting, the more time and effort you will need to put into your proposal. To set yourself up for success, you should allocate a few hours each day to write your proposal and application. A grant proposal typically includes a cover letter, a description of your business, financial projections, business plan, and an outline of how you plan to budget your grant money.

If you need help writing a grant proposal, you can hire an external consultant or take a course on grant writing.

3. Watch Out for Grant Scams

Unfortunately, grant scams are extremely common. With so many businesses desperate for free funding, it can sometimes be hard to discern which grant programs are legitimate. That’s why if you find a grant program that seems too easy to qualify for or requires a lot of money to submit an application, it may be better to avoid applying. There are also some grant programs that claim they need sensitive information, such as your social security number or your banking information to deposit money into your bank account. If you do come across those programs, please avoid them like the plague.

Alternative Loan Options for Louisiana Businesses

As we mentioned earlier, getting a grant is a lengthy process. If you don’t have the time or resources to invest in your grant application, you might want to consider acquiring a business loan. SBA Loans and microloans have shown to be a popular option for small businesses that want low-interest-rate financing.

You can also find online business loans, although we do want to point out that these loans are slightly more expensive than traditional bank loans. However, online small business loans can be a good choice for businesses that don’t have great credit scores or are just starting out.

The Bottom Line

When you’re looking for the best Louisiana small business grant, you’ll need to think about a few things beforehand. First, make sure your business fits the eligibility criteria outlined in the grant program. You don’t want to apply for a grant that you don’t qualify for, because that is time that could be spent running your business.

Second, we recommend that you either consult with a local SBDC business representative or a SCORE mentor who can point you to grant options within your local area. They typically keep a fresh list of all of the latest grants. And lastly, if you can’t get a Louisiana small business grant, don’t worry—there’s always next time.