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Federal Grants - Can's & Cannots

This section will explain what you can do and what you cannot do with Federal Grants.

Federal grants can be applied for and used predominantly by organizations and non-profit organizations, but usually not individuals. The amount of grant money awarded varies by each individual grant, and you must follow their guidelines for using the funds. On the federal level, the government tends to offer more loans than grants for individuals who would like to use the money to start a business.

There are some federal grants available that can be used to help and enhance already established small businesses. For instance, if your business deals with a field of science based on plants or animals, there is a Small Business Innovation Research Program that provides a project grant for small businesses to do research that will "stimulate technological innovation and the national return on investment from research through the pursuit of commercialization objectives"

This is simply one example out of many available that pertains to how federal grants can be used.

What can't they be used for?

In general, federal grants tend to be given to organizations and non-profits rather than individuals. These organizations are usually located at the state and local levels, so then the money typically filters down to individuals through state and local organizations. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the Foundation Grants for Individuals, as mentioned earlier.

Federal grant money might be awarded as a project grant for use in completing a project. This would cover project expenses, but would not cover things like start-up costs for your business, or your personal living expenses while you worked on the project. If you are looking for grant money to take care of your living expenses, or health expenses, there is another website called, which offers assistance in these areas.

As you begin reading each individual grant, you will see important information that you can use to determine if you should apply for the particular grant and for what it can and cannot be used. One feature that you will find in each specific grant entry is the average grant size awarded. This will help you when you are working on a budget for your project, and you can determine if the grant offered is an appropriate size for your project. If there are any restrictions placed upon who is eligible to apply, you will see it in the grant entry. Perhaps the grant is limited to people who live in a certain state or a certain city or area of the country. You might also see a listing of sample grants, where you will get to look at current recipients of grants from a particular organization. This information can help you determine if your proposed project has any similarities and if it will be a good fit for the foundation or the grant-making organization. Each entry will also go through application procedures, so you will know exactly what you will need to do to apply for the grant.

Make sure you take advantage of all of the grant programs the federal government offers. If these grant sources aren't used, they will disappear.

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