There are grants for for-profit businesses, non-profit businesses, individuals, and other applicant entities. However, unlike the infomercials, grant funding is not available for all businesses, all purposes, all of the time
Most grants are designed to operate programs, and most grants are designed for tax-exempt organizations. Non-profit organizations with an exempt and charitable status from the IRS may qualify for Foundation, Corporate, and Government Grants. So if you are seeking grant funding for a program for a tax-exempt organization there is probably one or more available sources for you.
There are about 100,000 foundation and corporate funding sources. Each one has a specific purpose and geographic area in which they will award funding. Sometimes the geographic area is limited to a single city or the community where the corporation has its headquarters. Others may fund projects on a state, national, or international basis.
For-profit businesses are more likely to qualify for Government Grants depending on the specifications of the Notice of Funding Announcement (NOFA or Notice). Not all of these businesses or purposes are good matches to receive grant funding. As a rule, general retail and wholesale businesses are ineligible to receive grant funding. Although there is always an exception to the rule, there are very few grant funding opportunities for these types of business. Most of the grants received by businesses other than those that are tax-exempt would be for scientific research, medical research, developing alternative energy sources, or improving the infrastructure of the country. Businesses like trucking, yard care, and restaurants will find it very difficult to locate any appropriate grant funding.
Individuals such as artists, educators, researchers, and health professionals may qualify for a small number of Foundation Grants depending on the specifications. Other individuals may qualify for government grants; many of these grants are administered by State and Local Governments.
The single most significant indicator as to whether or not an applicant will receive funding is – how close the applicant’s purpose and project meet the mission and funding priority of the funding source. The stronger your program fits the purpose in which the funder wants to give an award the better your chances. The more you are chasing the money the less likely you will win any funding award.
Then there could be several other characteristics of the application process that are woven into the full instructions such as having to include matching funds of your own or submitting a required Letter of Intent prior to being able to submit the full proposal.
Working with a professional grant writing association can significantly improve your chances of finding the best matching grant funding opportunities.