Many of today’s small business grants aim to help businesses retain employees. However, not all business owners have a team by their side. If you’re self-employed, there are still funding opportunities that may help you grow your business or overcome challenges. But you may have to look a bit harder to find them.
New Business Grants for the Self-Employed
Here are some grants for self-employed, sole proprietors, and freelancers.
National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
The National Association for the Self-Employed offers business growth grants of $4,000 to self-employed individuals. This is an ongoing program. And applications are evaluated at the end of each quarter. Applicants must be NASE members to apply for Growth Grants. You must also demonstrate a need and detail how you would use the funds. An organizational committee evaluates all applications to determine where funds can make the biggest impact.
Freelancers Relief Fund
Hosted by Freelancers Union, the Freelancers Relief Fund was a funding program that supported freelance households negatively affected by COVID-19. The program has closed for now. But freelancers can check back for updated about future funding opportunities. The program offered $1,000 grants to freelancers, with more than $350,000 raised overall.
Grow by Invoice2Go
Invoice2Go’s Grow grant program offers grants of up to $15,000 to business owners from underrepresented groups. Businesses must be minority-led, less than five years old, and have less than $1 million in annual revenue. The opportunity is open both to sole proprietors and businesses with employees. But only those with ten or fewer team members can apply. Applicants can also join the Invoice2Grow community to access additional business resources. The application deadline closes February 28.
BOSS Network and Sage’s Invest in Progress Grant
The BOSS Network and Sage are partnering to offer the new “Invest in Progress” grant for Black women entrepreneurs. The program will award $10,000 grants to 25 Black female business owners. The program is open both to sole proprietors and companies with a small number of employees. Additionally, winners will receive mentoring services through the BOSS Business University, along with marketing assistance and guidance. Applications are open now through February 25.
Authors League Fund
The Authors League Fund is a donation-based program to help independent authors. The fund has supported professional authors, journalists, critics, poets, and dramatists since 1917. It’s specifically designed to provide temporary relief due to health problems or loss of income. Currently, the program may help those with income loss due to COVID-19. “Loans” from the program can be used for various living expenses. Authors are not required to repay funds, but are encouraged to donate to other authors once they’ve recovered financially.
The Halstead Grant
The Halstead Grant provides funds for emerging silver jewelry artists each year. The program is not specific to independent businesses. But funds can help you kickstart a new brand or start a solo venture in the jewelry industry. To apply, jewelry artists submit their portfolio and answer a short series of questions. The grand prize is $7,500, along with other business support. Smaller prizes are available as well. Applications are due August 1 every year.
Artist Relief Tree
Artist Relief Tree was a donation-based program to support independent artists struggling due to COVID-19. Any self-identified artists could apply for funds to cover emergency expenses. The initial funding round has already closed. But you can sign up for updates online to learn if new rounds become available.
New York Foundation for the Arts Grants
The New York Foundation for the Arts provides over $3 million in funding to artists each year. The cash grants are open to individuals pursuing various artistic careers or starting their own ventures. There are various programs available throughout the year, including grants for visual artists, dancers, and those experiencing medical emergencies.
Puffin Foundation Grants
The Puffin Foundation offers grants to artists each year. The deadline has passed for the 2022 cycle. But this is an annual program. Grants can be up to $2,500 to support fine artists, musicians, and other independent creatives. Applications are usually released toward the end of each year.
Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grants
The Gottlieb Foundation provides grants specifically for mature artists. The program is aimed at fine artists like painters and sculptors who have been in the industry for 20 years or more, regardless of their level of commercial success. This is an annual program. Last year, the foundation provided 20 grants of $25,000.