Grants for Independent Contractors

Are you looking for the Best ? As independent contractors continue to play an increasingly important role in the modern economy, the need for to help them succeed and thrive has never been greater.

With that in mind, this article will provide a comprehensive list of the 10 best grants for independent contractors. 

Who is an Independent Contractor?

An independent contractor is a business that contracts with other companies or individuals to supply its services. Therefore, independent contractors are responsible for Medicare and Social Security contributions.

A company that hires an independent contractor does not have to offer the worker the same employment benefits, such as health insurance and employer-sponsored retirement funds, that it provides its workers.

The payer must appropriately classify each payment received as an independent contractor or an employee. A freelancer is another name for an independent contractor.

There is no doubting the importance of independent contractors to the economy, but they also confront some particular financial concerns.

Financial aid is available through grants from various sources for self-employed people.

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The vast range of businesses served by these grants means that you may use them to offset costs across the board, from tools and training to advertising and beyond.

You can locate a grant to help you expand your business and reach your goals if you are a freelancer, small business owner, or gig worker.

With the help of these grants, freelancers may take their businesses to the next level and realize their full potential as entrepreneurs.

These offer a range of opportunities for self-employed people to access additional funding, from seed money to .

Applying for A Grant as an Independent Contractor | Step by Step Guide

Grants for Independent Contractors

Focus on efficiency and effectiveness in your work. Instead of filling out many grant applications, it is better that you create a “resume” for your firm that addresses the common questions asked by grant providers.

In as much as these grants are “free” money, you will still need to put up some work to receive one.

Different circumstances call for various software packages. If you're applying for a grant from your city or county, you'll need to demonstrate how your business expansion would benefit the economy in your area.

However, if you're applying to a private company like FedEx, you might need to produce a film to convince them to provide you with funding.

The following details may be required when applying for a business grant:

  1. Time in business
  2. Number of employees
  3. Monthly or annual revenue
  4. How will the funds be used?
  5. Your business's “elevator pitch.”
  6. Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  7. Your social handles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  8. A photograph of yourself (and, if applicable, your partners or offices). A professional photo may go a long way, especially if a company wants to publish your image on its website to announce accolades.
  9. A business strategy. Having a conversation with an SBDC consultant or your accountant may help you determine the numbers, estimations, and statistics that indicate the current status of your firm and its potential future growth.

If you don't already have one, an SBDC consultant or your accountant may help you compile the numbers, estimations, and data that will tell the story of where you are now and where you can take your company.

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How to Find Suitable Grants for Independent Contractors

If you Search Google for “freelance financing” returns millions of results. Considering all the available options, narrowing down your selection may seem impossible.

However, a few resources may help you not only locate the appropriate grants for your business but also apply for them and spot opportunities for grants that you might otherwise overlook.

1. Research government grants

Local, state, and federal governments all have programs that provide financial aid to entrepreneurs and sole proprietors.

Equipment, training, and advertising are just some of the many costs that these subsidies might offset.

2. Look for industry-specific grants

Several trade associations and professional organizations provide financial assistance through grants to encourage and support their members' participation in their respective fields.

For instance, the National Association of Small Business Owners has financial assistance programs for entrepreneurs in the retail and service industries.

3. Check for grants for specific demographics

Independent contractors from underrepresented groups, such as women, veterans, or people of color, may be eligible for funding from specific organizations.

4. Check for grants from nonprofits

Many grants are available for entrepreneurs and sole proprietors from nonprofits.

These funds are necessary for several initiatives, like hiring new staff, purchasing necessary machinery, or advertising.

5. Utilize online resources

The Small Business Administration's website and Grants.gov are just two of the numerous tools that might assist you in your search for grants.

OpenGrants

OpenGrants is the most comprehensive directory of government and nonprofit funding opportunities in the United States.

There is a free version of the site as well as a paid version.

Free users get access to the database of available grants, may hire professional grant writers for a fee, and can utilize the available resources and advice from the site's experts.

With a premium membership, you may save grants, set up email notifications for when new grants are available, leave comments on grants, use the power search option, export your search results, and receive personalized matching.

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Grants.gov

Who wouldn't want some of the government's free money? Grants.gov is the central hub for all federal grant opportunities across all government departments.

Though it's a fantastic tool for locating available grants, small companies may be dismayed to learn that many need to be open to them.

You'll have to filter among grants meant for school districts, local governments, individuals, and charitable organizations to locate the ones that apply to your situation.

To add insult to injury, there are size restrictions on several federally funded programs catering to small firms.

Business grants, especially those awarded by the government, have a reputation for needing help. The federal government utilizes the following broad principles and conditions to decide whether businesses are qualified to receive grants:

  • No company startup grants are available.
  • A grant can cover neither debt repayment nor general operational costs.
  • Organizations that aid in economic growth may be eligible for federal funds at the state and local levels.

GrantWatch

There is also GrantWatch, a database of grants of all kinds that requires a subscription fee. Various grants from various organizations, including government agencies, nonprofits, and businesses, may be found here.

The site is regularly updated and expired grant opportunities are available for .

To find grants specifically for small companies like yours, you may restrict the pool of over 25,000 awards by selecting a specific category.

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Your local librarian

Finding funding is only one service that many public libraries offer to company owners for free or at a moderate cost. Use the library's reference section for assistance.

These folks have access to many databases and have undergone extensive training as researchers.

Because libraries frequently collaborate with local Chambers of Commerce or business groups, they can put you in touch with specialists who are familiar with the area and can direct you to local business grants.

6. Network

Get in touch with local freelancers and small business owners to determine whether they have received funding.

Grant opportunities and eligibility criteria differ depending on your geographic region and period.

As a result, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for new grant opportunities, always take the time to thoroughly read the application guidelines, and ensure that you are eligible to apply before submitting your application.

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10 Best Grants For Independent Contractors

Grants for Independent Contractors
10 Best Grants for Independent Contractors 5

There are so many private companies in the United States that are eager to help 's small businesses succeed.

Grant eligibility and application criteria might differ by area and over time. Check your eligibility for each of these awards.

1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

This is one of the best grants for independent contractors and is suitable for existing businesses. This grant program for businesses got 18,000 submissions in 2022 and only awarded grants to ten individuals.

That's a 1 in 780 (or 0.13 percent) shot at winning the jackpot.

Even if you assume that a certain percentage of grant applications are frivolous or unintentional, the figures still accurately depict how competitive it might be to obtain funding for your project.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't apply for grants, but keep your expectations in check.

There were three winners of $50,000 each, four winners of $4,000 in FedEx print services, six winners of $20,000 each, and $1,500 in FedEx print services for placing first.

You'll need to give an elevator pitch on your firm and how it helps people and the planet to get in. You'll also have to prove that the grant money is desperately needed.

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2. National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

NASE Growth Grants are available for NASE members who are ready to take their company to the next level.

The maximum amount of a NASE grant is $4,000. You can use this money for advertising and to purchase new equipment.

This isn't just one of the best grants for independent contractors but is also suitable for growing businesses.

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3. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Established almost 20 years ago, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides grants to companies engaged in commercially viable research. When it comes to grants, they are also among the best grants for independent contractors.

They award grants through 12 leading federal agencies:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Transportation
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Foundation

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4. Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) 

The Small Business Innovation Research (STTR) program is competitive with other top awards for entrepreneurs.

This resource is for firms that are part of a research program but only for those within an official research institution. Since just five federal agencies presently offer STTR awards, it is also more limited by sector.

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • NASA
  • National Science Foundation.

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5. State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)

This program provides grants to self-employed individuals who engage in exporting.

If you want to find out if you qualify for this award, you'll have to call the SBA's Office of International Trade, as there needs to be more information on the web.

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6. SAM.gov (formerly the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance) 

This is another vast federal database with a modern re-design. It is one of the top grants for independent contractors. 

There is some duplication with Grants.gov, but there are also some valuable insights you will only find here. It is possible to narrow your search to sole grantees or include other support types, such as loans.

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7. Challenge.gov

While this isn't officially a grants-based site, substantial prize money is available to address many businesses' problems. You can break down these difficulties into technological and nontechnical subcategories. 

Watch Challenge.gov for opportunities that may be a cinch for your small business to win if you're doing something creative.

This is one of the top grants for independent contractors.

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8. Department of Education Grants

Many education-related grants are available to small companies, and the Department of Education keeps an up-to-date list of them.

Many grants have a potential reward of several million dollars, so education-focused businesses need to keep an eye on them.

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9. EPA Grants

The EPA offers dozens of grants to small businesses trying to improve the environment, particularly innovatively.

There are grants targeted toward air quality, environmental quality, water quality, pollution prevention, and more.

They are famous as one of the best grants for independent contractors.

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10. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

Funding from the EDA goes to small businesses with public-benefiting goals. The only problem is there needs to be a central location to keep tabs on all available awards.

Feel free to revisit this page frequently, as it will serve as the primary means of communication for any critical updates.

Check out their prior openings to get a sense of whether or not your business fits in.

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Dos and Don'ts of Winning Business Grants

You want to win a grant I believe, then let's start with the fundamentals of what to do and what not to do while applying for grants.

Do:

  • Make a schedule – Some grants can only be applied once a year. Giving yourself plenty of time to complete an application before the deadline is essential.
  • Write a business plan first – A grant proposal is typically required when applying for funding. It would be best if you had a clear plan for how the grant money will benefit your business.
  • See what companies have been funded in the past – Using this information, you may see which awards you have a more powerful shot at receiving. It's a positive indicator if they've given money to companies like yours.
  • Get help from community business organizations – We covered a wide range of groups that offer services to entrepreneurs. This includes assisting you in applying for grants and enhancing the public's perception of your business.
  • Consider professional help – If you come across a grant that calls for a well-written cover letter or essay, it may be worth your while to invest in the services of a professional grant writer if you have the financial means to do so. Most of the time, only large gifts are worthwhile.

Don't:

  • Wait until the last minute – Joining a group or obtaining a particular credential or license is a prerequisite for several awards. If you procrastinate, you risk missing the deadline for qualification.
  • Use a template for all grant applications – You should tailor each submission to each unique award. Otherwise, you'll add a lot of extraneous material and overlook the essential replies you requested.
  • Apply for every grant – There are several funding opportunities where your company stands a negligible probability of being selected. Instead of applying for a bunch of grants with mediocre quality, focus on the few that will have the most impact.

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FAQs About Grants for Independent Contractors

Summary

There you have it, the 10 best grants for independent contractors which offer various options for those looking to start or expand their business. From grants for small business owners to those for women-owned businesses, there is a grant for everyone. 

Additionally, many of these grants are to help those in underserved communities, providing them with the resources they need to succeed.

With the proper research and application, these grants can be a great way to get the support necessary to start or grow a business.


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