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Grants For Houston Small Businesses in 2024

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic might have affected your small business as well. Families, businesses, and vulnerable communities can apply for a wide range of business grants. With the influx of grant funds and technical assistance, it will be easier for small businesses in Houston, especially minority-owned small businesses, to grow and sustain their businesses with the help of these resources and information.

Texas has 55.67 billion dollars in grants for businesses in federal government grants and $35.33 billion in grant money from the local government. Texas small business funds are available to them no matter what type of business a small business is. Additional funding sources also exist, such as individual grants designed specifically for unique business needs. Texas is home to 392,378 businesses and 247,000 farms.

Further, grants can help businesses finance marketing campaigns, hire more staff, and close cash flow gaps—payroll and salaries in Houston amount to $376.65 billion annually. The number of bankruptcy petitions filed by Houston residents every year is 57,810. An expanding company or a new business start-up cannot receive or use government small-business grants. Along with federal grants, nonprofit organizations and private grant awarding bodies can also provide funding for new and expanding businesses to create a positive financial impact and social impact. These business grant opportunities are pivotal to supporting small businesses that pave the way for economic development and prosperity.

What Is A Grant?

A government/private agency or authority can present funding opportunities for developing products, businesses, or projects. In contrast to secured and government-backed loans, grants cannot be repaid. As a source of financing for a business, grants may also replace loans that need to be repaid. Consequently, the grant recipient small businesses benefit greatly from grant programs.

Although grants have a low cost, they are a lengthy process to apply for and administer. You must demonstrate how the funding will assist you in building a successful business in a small business funding application. Non-profit organizations, local governments, and foundations offer various grant funding options.

Overview of Houston's Small Business Landscape

Houston, often celebrated as a nexus of innovation and enterprise, boasts a thriving small business community. Driven by the city's strategic location, robust infrastructure, and diverse demographic fabric, local entrepreneurs have capitalized on a myriad of sectors including energy, healthcare, technology, and arts. This dynamic environment has positioned Houston as not only a key player in the Texan economy but also as a benchmark for small business success across the nation.

Houston Small Grants

Residents of Houston have access to a variety of grants. There will be a variety of grants available to business owners in 2024.

Texas Enterprise Fund

Businesses looking to start a project in Texas versus other out-of-state options may be eligible to receive a "deal-closing" grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF). TEF has several eligibility requirements. Eligible projects must generate at least 75 full-time jobs in urban areas (or at least 25 full-time jobs in rural areas). Wages must meet or exceed the average county wage where the project will be located. The project must also be supported by the local county government where the project takes place.

Awards are calculated based on whether the project will likely see a return on investment. Awards will also depend on the number of jobs created, average wages, and hiring timeframe.

To apply to TEF, applicants must undergo a lengthy due diligence process. You must fill out a 20-page application and pay a $1,000 application fee. You will receive an offer letter detailing your grant contract if your application is approved.

The State of Texas Trade Expansion Program

To encourage Texan businesses to export to foreign markets and increase the value of exported goods and services, The State of Texas Trade Expansion Program (STEP) awards grants of up to $10,000 to eligible small businesses participating in select export activities. Companies that want to participate in foreign trade shows, get compliance testing to test the viability of a product in a foreign market, or need to translate their website or invest in search engine optimization are considered approved export activities.

STEP requires that the business matches 25% of the grant in conjunction with the grant up to $2,500. Eligible businesses must be organized and operating in the U.S., meet industry-based business size standards (you can check your size standard through the Code of Federal Regulations), be in business for at least one year, and understand the costs associated with exporting and conducting business transactions with foreign purchasers.

Amber Grant

If you search for women-owned business grants on Google, you will find a variety of websites. There are many scams on the Internet, and there are also confusing government websites (SBA). Your personal and financial information will usually be requested on forms and applications.

Using the WomensNet website, you may be able to obtain funding for your new business venture. After completing it, you will find it worth your time and effort. Even if it takes time and effort, this is a worthwhile project. Whether you want to learn about Amber Grant or pursue your business dreams doesn't matter.

Many women-owned and operated businesses are eligible to apply (including Houston). Amber Grants of $10,000 are available every month to qualified applicants. Consider applying if you want to become one of their 12 monthly winners. Every month, they choose a winner to receive a grant of $25,000 if they meet their eligibility criteria. Over 12 months, the grant can award the recipient $35,000 in total.

Houston and Wells Fargo Open for Business Grant

The city of Houston and Wells Fargo is launching a new $20 million Open for Business grant. The portal opens for applicants on August 9 to support the city's underserved businesses. Wells Fargo's contribution is part of its nationwide Open for Business Fund, created during the early days of the pandemic. To qualify, businesses and non-profits must be led by people of color and located in the Houston area with 50 employees or fewer. Eligible businesses and non-profits can apply for grants between $10,000 and $65,000. The application portal and the current grant cycle close on August 23.

GrantWatch

The GrantWatch website provides small businesses with access to grants that are relevant to their needs. The website also offers access to loans, grants, and government subsidies for small businesses. You can search for new grants through GrantWatch and contact grant writers who can assist you in preparing winning grant proposals. With GrantWatch, you can search for new grants for free. It only takes a few minutes to fill out a grant application.

Information in this business grant portal is accessible only to Houston GrantWatch subscribers. There is a $199 annual subscription fee and an $18 weekly subscription fee. Since free members are not eligible to apply for grants, they cannot submit them.

City of Houston Grant Initiatives for Entrepreneurs

To bolster the city's commitment to small businesses, the City of Houston has rolled out several grant initiatives tailored for entrepreneurs at various stages of their ventures. These initiatives, backed by partnerships with local organizations and financial institutions, aim to provide financial support, mentorship, and training resources. Particularly noteworthy is the emphasis on businesses that bolster community development, promising sustainable growth and fostering local job opportunities.

Grants vs. Loans: What's Best for Your Houston Business?

While both grants and loans offer financial relief to businesses, they cater to different needs and circumstances. Grants, typically non-repayable funds, are often competitive and may have stringent criteria, making them suitable for businesses with unique propositions or those contributing to community enhancement. Loans, on the other hand, provide more immediate and sizable funding but require repayment with interest. Houston businesses should evaluate their immediate needs, repayment capabilities, and long-term goals before deciding on the best financial path forward.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What types of grants are available for small businesses in Houston in 2024?

In 2024, there are various grants for small businesses in Houston. These grants come from federal, state, and local sources, as well as private organizations. Some examples include:

-The Small Business Administration (SBA) grants
-The Houston Small Business Economic Development Initiative (SBEDI)
-Houston Women's Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) grants
-Local corporate-sponsored grants

These grants cater to a variety of industries, and some are specifically designed for minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned businesses.

How do I apply for a grant for my Houston small business?

To apply for a grant, you will need to:

1. Identify the appropriate grant(s) that align with your business needs.
2. Thoroughly read the grant requirements and eligibility criteria.
3. Prepare the necessary documentation, which typically includes a business plan, financial projections, and details about your business's mission and objectives.
4. Complete the application form provided by the grantor, either online or in paper format.
5. Submit your application by the specified deadline, along with any required supporting documentation.

Keep in mind that grant application processes may vary depending on the grantor, so be sure to follow the specific instructions provided by each organization.

What factors affect my chances of being awarded a grant for my Houston small business?

Several factors can affect your chances of being awarded a grant, including:

1. Your business's industry, size, and location
2. The grant's specific eligibility requirements and focus areas
3. The strength and viability of your business plan
4. Your ability to demonstrate a clear need for funding and how it will benefit your business
5. Your track record of success and growth, if your business is already established
6. The quality and completeness of your grant application

To increase your chances of success, research the grant opportunities carefully, tailor your application to the grant's specific requirements, and ensure that your application is well-prepared and complete.

The Bottom Line

Many business resources are available through the Houston Small Business Development Center (MSSBDC) for small business owners looking to start or grow their businesses. Government and private organizations have offered financial assistance to small businesses to help them overcome Coronavirus. By encouraging the growth of small businesses, financial aid can boost the economy in various ways. Choosing a funding source from the above list is the best way to get funding for your business.

As you explore the grant opportunities available for Houston small businesses, why not broaden your horizon a bit further? Discover what's available for entrepreneurs in the Natural State in our latest blog post on grants for Arkansas small businesses in 2024. Stay ahead by understanding the full landscape of your options!

Also, Learn about Small Businesses Grants In North Carolina.

Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations' blog section today!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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