Small Business Grants: Texas  

    You may be eligible for a Texas small business grant if the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly reduced your company’s revenue. Small business grants are available to companies that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

    Texas receives more than $55.67 billion in federal grants and another $35.33 billion in funding from local governments. The biggest portion of the government budget goes to financial assistance in the form of business grants, as small businesses and large corporations are the foundation of the economy of Texas. The state of Texas has 392,378 businesses and 247,000 farms.

    It is not an easy task to start and manage a small business in Texas. Texans pay over $376.65 billion in salaries and wages every 12-month period, and nearly 57,810 companies file for bankruptcy each year. The federal government does not provide grants to entrepreneurs to start and expand a business. Still, in Texas, some small business grants are available to entrepreneurs to launch and expand their ventures, and grant beneficiaries are not required to pay back the grants. Small business grants are an excellent means of funding from government for your business, so it makes sense to consider them.

    What Is a Grant?

    A money or resources award usually creates something new for the community through a non-profit organization or business entity. Grants can help eligible businesses launch new products, services, or projects. Unlike a loan, a grant does not have to be repaid. For small businesses, grants are an excellent option since they are non-repayable.

    No matter how time-consuming grant applications and administration may be, grants can benefit growth. However, it can be quite time-consuming to apply for and administer grants. Your business must meet the lending body’s requirements regarding grant applications and have the financial resources to succeed. Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and foundations administer most grant programs.

    Finding The Right Texas Small Business Grant 

    The grant application process can be challenging, but familiarizing yourself with it will help you avoid some pitfalls. We provide a few tips to help you with the grant application process.  

    Create an Application Timeline

    It is not a good idea to rush the grant application process. You should have a clear business plan for your business to stand out from the thousands of other applicants competing for free money.

    To avoid rushing through the grant application process, give yourself enough time to complete each application. I believe you will need some time to prepare your grant proposals, compile the necessary documents, and think about how to communicate the business’s unmet financial needs. You can create a timeline for your application to keep track of these tasks and ensure you have the time to complete them.

    Write a Strong Grant Proposal 

    The most important part of applying for grants is knowing how to write a strong grant proposal. A grant application can be as short as a few pages or as long as many hundred pages. Your grant proposal should be your top priority so they can get to know your business and what makes it unique.

    Grant organizations will evaluate your proposal to determine whether you fit the organization’s mission, requirements, and scope and whether your proposal is credible. Your grant proposal will unlikely be approved if it does not meet the above requirements.

    There are six standard elements to grant proposals: the title, the summary, the introduction, the need statement, the objectives, the project plan, the evaluation plan, the timeline, the sustainability plan, the budget, letters of recommendation, and a CV.

    Avoid Grant Scams 

    It’s very common for scammers to prey on desperate business owners, so research and do your homework before applying for a grant. Don’t accept grant applications that seem too easy to qualify for. Don’t enter sensitive information in any grant program, such as banking details, and don’t provide personal information over the phone. You should notify the Federal Trade Commission ASAP if you have been victimized.

    Texas Small Business Grants

    Texas residents can apply for small business grants for a variety of purposes. Following are a few Texas grants you might find helpful.

    Young Farmer Grant Program

    The Young Farmer Grant is a program to grow and support Texas agriculture. Applicants must be between 18 and 45 years of age. The Texas Young Farmer Grant program supports both new and existing agricultural businesses in Texas. Farmers must supply their own funding when requesting state funds for this matching grant program. A farmer, for example, must raise 10,000 Dollars in grants to match the grant if the project costs $20,000. The state opens a new application cycle every spring and fall and distributes matching funds. 

    ​Skills for Small Business

    The Texas Workforce Commission offers Skills for Small Business to help small businesses train new employees. It pays up to $1,800 per new hire and $900 per existing employee over 12 months and covers the cost of training new workers or upgrading existing skills. The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service or a public community college must provide training. Online courses, continuing education, and credit courses are all acceptable. The TWC works in direct collaboration with colleges to fund the specific courses that each business chooses.

    Fiserv + Clover Back2Business Grant Program

    The Fiserv + Clover Back2Business Grant Program provides $10,000 to small businesses in the Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metropolitan area, Oklahoma, Texas, greater Detroit area, and Washington, D.C./Maryland/Virginia metropolitan area owned and operated by minorities. You must also form your company before January 1, 2020, and be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Small Business Emergency Grant Program

    Small businesses can apply for Emergency Grants up to $25,000 through the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court. As of December 30, 2019, these businesses must have been fully operational. You must provide two years of completed tax returns and show a decline in revenues of 25% or more from 2020 to 2021.

    Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Program

    Owners, employees, and suppliers whose unforeseen expenses are not covered by insurance may fulfill the eligibility criteria for the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Program. Because it aims to take care of its own, the grant can cover medical bills, repairs, and FEMA disasters. Funds are available to cover unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies and disasters. These funds are available continuously. Furthermore, applicants need to submit a statement of need that outlines why grant funding is needed and how it will be utilized. Grant applications are reviewed by the award committee of the nonprofit organization to determine the amount for each grant.

    State of Texas Trade Expansion Program

    Small businesses can apply for grants of up to $10,000 from the State of Texas Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to expand their exports overseas. Participants may use the funds to participate in international trade shows, conduct compliance tests, or obtain translation services. To complete these projects, businesses must match at least 25 percent of the grant amount. The grant funds for 2021 have been distributed. The grant program will continue in future years. The application process for summer 2022 opened in June.

    Texas Enterprise Fund

    Businesses in Texas looking to hire or start-up projects can apply for grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund. For a business project to be eligible, it must create at least 75 full-time jobs in urban areas or at least 25 in rural areas, at wages above the average in that county. Projects must also receive the support of the local government and have a high likelihood of providing a solid return on investment to the community. The application process requires you to submit a 20-page application and a $1,000 fee. You must also go through a lengthy due diligence process.

    Fort Bend County Small Business Emergency Grant Program

    Small businesses harmed by the pandemic can apply for grants from Fort Bend County’s Emergency Grant Program. Companies can receive a maximum of $25,000. Your business must have operated since December 30, 2019, and it witnessed an annual revenue decline of at least 25 percent from 2019 to 2020. The amount is based on business revenue and need. Applications will be accepted until all funds are exhausted via the online application portal.

    TX Restaurant Relief Fund

    The TX Restaurant Relief Fund was established by the Texas Restaurant Foundation to assist restaurants affected by the pandemic. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to assist restaurants in remaining open and retaining staff. The donation-based program is expected to raise $10 million to give to independent restaurants across the state. For the time being, the program has been suspended so that current applications can be considered. Applicants are encouraged to reapply as soon as possible.

    Texas Grant Watch

    As so many grant applications are being submitted and closed simultaneously, it can be challenging to keep up with all the grant opportunities available. The Texas GrantWatch website assists precisely with this need. Small businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations can find all current grant programs on this website. 

    This website provides free information about grants available from the federal and state governments. With Texas GrantWatch, you can keep track of new grant opportunities daily, as it updates daily. 

    Users can only access this information if they pay for a subscription, which also requires payment. You will be charged $18 per week for the weekly subscription plan or $199 for the annual subscription plan. Your free membership is subject to certain restrictions. In addition to being unable to view grant details, you will not be able to apply for grants as a free member.

    The Bottom Line

    You may want to investigate other options for small business loans while waiting for your small business grant to be approved since it can take a while for a grant to be approved. Texas offers a variety of loan programs that can help small businesses start or expand their businesses. 

    It may be necessary to extend your search beyond Texas’ borders and consider small business grants in other states if you are unable to secure Texas small business grants. Small businesses throughout the country can apply for various grants, including some tailored specifically for underrepresented groups. 

    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!