Finance Your Business

There are many ways to finance your business, including loans backed by the government and funding programs.

Loans

Government loan programs offer financial support to business owners who may have trouble qualifying for a traditional bank loan. Banks and lending institutions that participate in these programs provide loans guaranteed by the government to start or expand a business.

To apply for a loan, you will need to create a loan package with the participating lender that qualifies for a government guarantee. The guarantee portion represents the part of the loan that the government will repay the lender if you default on your loan payments. This guarantee by the government increases the likelihood of a loan being offered by reducing the risk to the lender.

These agency tools and services can help you find a loan that best suits your business needs:   

  • Small Business Administration (SBA) - Explore a variety of loan categories, such as starting and expanding a business, disaster loans, and export assistance.     

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Get information on government-guaranteed loans for rural businesses, including local program contacts.

  • GovLoans - Research many types of federal loans for your business and learn how to apply.  

  • Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) - This Treasury Department initiative provides capital to qualified community banks and community development loan funds (CDLFs) to help promote economic growth and create new jobs. Search for a participating lending institution in your state.

Grants

The federal government does not offer grants for starting or growing a business. It only provides grants for non-commercial organizations (nonprofits and educational institutions) in medicine, technology development, and related fields.

Some business grants are available through state or local programs. But these grants usually require you to match the funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing, such as a loan.

Other Funding Options

These federal and state programs can also help finance your business:

  • Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program - The Small Business Administration (SBA) partners with private investment funds licensed as SBICs to provide growth capital to small businesses. Find out if SBIC financing is right for your business.  

  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program - This competitive, awards-based program encourages small businesses to pursue federal research or research and development (R/R&D) projects that can lead to opportunities for commercialization. Learn how to apply for the program.   

  • State and Local Business Assistance - Get information about business financing programs in your state. This includes financing for business expansion, state credit initiatives, and more.

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Last Updated: April 20, 2017

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