Grant money is available to specific commercial enterprises and businesses, whose profit making goals align with community development. Many neighborhoods in the United States have had downturns due to the loss of business in their communities.
Commercial government grants are extremely limited and must meet a community good such as energy conservation, low-income housing production, or the creation of jobs.
The federal government has agencies dedicated to attracting business and growth to low-income communities. However, the federal government provides no direct grants to small business. Small businesses are advised to consult with the Small Business Administration (sba.gov) to find grants and loans in their local communities.
The federal government has a process to give funds to States, who then can distribute commercial grants businesses. For example, there is government money for persons who want to start a child care business, however, the grant will not cover all expenses. The business must find loans and matching investment to cover entire costs.
In addition, many States provide modest commercial grants for equipment, IT technology, and research. Many of those opportunities are posted on State government web sites, which give instructions on application and deadlines.
There are commercial grants available to businesses that create economic development and jobs. The federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) distributes funds to U.S. states, cities, and depressed rural areas to create affordable housing and new jobs. Activities must benefit low and moderate income people and they participate in the process. One of the goals of this program is to develop private-public partnerships. Businesses that create housing or job opportunities for low or moderate income people may be eligible for funding. These opportunities are best won through winning the support of a local elected official and community leaders.
Businesses and commercial enterprises can examine federal allocations to States and cities to find where their work fits into community development. The Catalog for Federal Domestic Assistance (CDFA.com) is a complete listing of federal opportunities. Searching for “entitlement communities” will see if your local area has CDBG money. Most cities and metropolitan areas in the United States receive CDBG money. However, there is also funding across the U.S. in areas with poverty and under-development.
To successfully apply for a commercial or business grant, an applicant needs a business plan and evidence of community participation and support. Support from the neighborhood and local elected officials in the area(s) of the business site is critical to win a grant.