SBA Grants Explained: How to Apply, Qualify, and Utilize Funds for Your Business

The Small Business Administration or the SBA is an agency established by the federal government that primarily aims to assist small businesses in the country. This agency is committed to the role of promoting entrepreneurship and helping the flow of the nation’s economy. Since its establishment in the 1930s, SBA remained committed to its mission of assisting small business owners, especially now that the pandemic drastically changed most of the country’s economy.

How SBA Grants Work

SBA grants are usually given to eligible groups and organizations that are responsible for initiating training and consultation programs, and other business-related programs that promote entrepreneurship within the country.

Types of SBA Grants

There are various small business grants and assistance funded by the SBA. Choosing where you will apply may depend on the type of assistance that your business needs. Listed below are some SBA programs that you can apply to:

Small Business Innovation Research Program or known as the SBIR program

Small Business Technology Transfer program or known as the STTR program

7 (j) Management and Technical Assistance Program

SBA Grants Focusing On Community Organizations

There are also available grants focused on veterans who own small businesses as well as small business owners who are focused on innovation and development. If you belong to this category, you may be eligible to apply to the following programs:

  1. Boots to Business Program or the B2B – In availing of this program, you must be a recipient of the Boots to Business Program. This typically assists small business organizations for a period of 5 years.
  2. Veterans Business Outreach Centers or the VBOC – Just like the B2B and other small business grants for veterans, the VBOC provides counseling and business-related training sessions to veterans, disabled, and spouses of veterans planning or owning a small business.
  3. Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program or the SDVETP – This is a program that focuses on supporting organizations responsible for initiating training programs for veterans aspiring to start a business or veterans who own small businesses.
  4. Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program or the WVETP – This is another funding opportunity provided by the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) wherein it targets female veterans, service members, and spouses of veterans who are owning or planning to start a small business. The organization determines grantees based on their background, experience, and commitment to the training program provided by the organization.
  5. Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneur Training Program or the VFPETP – This funding opportunity is only available for recipients of the Veteran Federal Procurement Entrepreneur Training Program. This includes a period of 12 months as initial funding and two option years both having a 12-month period. The following are the existing procurement programs under this grant:
    • Procurement opportunity training for starting small businesses; and
    • Procurement training for established small businesses.
Organizations That Support Small Business Organizations

There is also a certain program under the SBA that promotes successful business innovation by small business entrepreneurs:

  1. Federal and State Technology Program (FAST) – This is a good funding opportunity for organizations promoting business innovation and research development. Specifically, the goals of this program are listed as follows:
    • Initiate programs within states that will promote the increase of innovation and research development proposals for the SBIR and STTR;
    • Increase the number of awards that the SBIR and STTR provides; and
    • Train and prepare SBIR and STTR grantees for potential success in their business.
Things To Keep In Mind

Here are some things to keep in mind about SBA Grants:

Usually Utilized Forms

The following are some Forms that you might need when you apply:

Wedding Grants Every Couple Should Know About - Saying 'I Do' with Financial Aid

Wedding grants can be a big help for couples who are planning to tie the knot but have limited funds for the needed expenses. According to Smart Money’s recent survey report, it stated that total wedding expenses usually range from 21 to 40 thousand dollars in the US.

Thinking about expenses alone can get you exhausted, what more with the preparations? If you want to make your wedding less expensive and memorable, maybe it’s time to avail yourself of a wedding grant. In this article, we will share resources that will help you find a suitable wedding grant for your needs.

What are Wedding Grants?

Wedding grants are a type of grant usually funded by non-profit organizations or companies to couples with certain circumstances. For example, if a partner is terminally ill or has a disability, then the couple can be qualified for a wedding grant. Most wedding grants may cover the following expenses depending on the program description:

  1. Venue
  2. MC fee
  3. Venue decorations
  4. Photographer and videographer
  5. Makeup and hairdresser
  6. Cake
  7. Clothing

There are a lot of wedding grant programs nowadays, and all you have to do is to be wise enough to search for one. To help you with your search, we listed down tips and resources on how to get a wedding grant which will be discussed later in this article.

Who are the Qualified Applicants?

Most organizations and companies offer wedding grants to those:

Where to Find?

Looking out for wedding grants can be a bit tricky considering that most organizations require a load of requirements before being qualified. Fortunately, various organizations initiate wedding grant programs you might want to try so that you can cut down your expenses for your big day. These resources include the following:

Government Resources

The government does not usually initiate wedding grants per se, but some of their existing programs may help lessen your expenses on your wedding. Here are the best government resources where you can get assistance for your wedding.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - This program aims to help families who belong to low-income families to become self-sufficient. TANF also promotes healthy marriage and family relationships. To do that, this program provides grant assistance to qualified families. If you are a couple with children who are planning to get married, you can avail of TANF grants.

To be eligible for a TANF grant, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

Office of the Family Assistance (OFA) - OFA is another government organization that aims to help poor families, especially children. This organization is also known for helping couples who belong to low-income communities and want to get married.

Organizations

Some organizations offer wedding grants to deserving couples. These organizations include:

Wish Upon A Wedding - This is one of the renowned resources of wedding grants and assistance programs for ill and physically disabled couples. You need to meet some qualification requirements though. Requirements are as follows:

  1. In every couple, one should be terminally ill or in a life-threatening circumstance for no longer than five years.
  2. Couples should be 18 years old or above.
  3. Both must be legal US citizens.
  4. The application form must be personally filled out by you or your caregiver.

Note: Family members or friends are not allowed to fill out the form for you. Learn more about Wish Upon a Wedding.

Wedding Grants for Scholarships

There are also wedding scholarship programs available:

  1. Hitched Wedding Scholarship Program - This wedding grant is suitable for graduate and undergraduate students who live in Canada, US, or UK. Hitched wedding scholarships prioritize students majoring in English, Journalism, Fashion Design, or Creative writing. The primary requirement includes writing a 600 - 800 word essay or blog post about a topic related to weddings.
  2. Orla James Wedding Scholarship Program - This is another wedding scholarship for high school seniors, graduate, and undergraduate students. To apply for the program, you need to pass an article/essay talking about a certain topic related to marriage.

Other Ways to Minimize Wedding Expenses

Aside from the different programs mentioned above, there are also other ways to finance your wedding wisely. These include the following:

  1. Join Wedding Contests - Contests like the Oprah Winfrey Show often give wedding gifts to winners such as gowns, cakes, honeymoons, etc. Though contests are different from grants, joining wedding contests may help you cut down expenses. For example, say you joined a contest and won a honeymoon trip to somewhere special, this means you no longer have to include honeymoon expenses on your wedding plans because it’s already sponsored. So it’s crucial to stay on the lookout for wedding contests both in your locality or in a different state.
  2. Getting a sponsor - Getting a sponsor is also a good way to find someone to help finance your wedding. In exchange, you will need to find a way to advertise your sponsor’s services or products. An example would be putting on their logo on your gown, tables, chairs, or other decoratives. Couples with high social media engagement have more potential to get their wedding sponsored. You don’t have to be an influencer or artist though, all you have to do is to think outside the box and be creative enough to possibly increase your wedding guests.

Final Word

Planning for a wedding can be hectic and exhausting considering all the expenses and preparations needed to be dealt with. Expenses alone can even take a huge toll on the couple. Fortunately, there are various organizations that couples can rely on if they fall short of wedding funds.

Hotel Vouchers for Homeless - Stepping Stone to Recovery

Hotel vouchers for the homeless are usually in the form of prepaid that can be used in designated hotels or motels to get free stay-ins for a couple of days to a week. There are different types of hotel vouchers and each has its own eligibility requirements, though most vouchers are intended for homeless people.

If you are one of those who are in need of a free hotel voucher, this article will discuss what you should know about hotel vouchers as well as ways how to get one.

What are Hotel Vouchers

Hotel vouchers refer to the coupons given by various government, non-government, and religious organizations to specific people including homeless people.

Though hotel vouchers are given freely, there are still eligibility requirements that one must meet before getting one.

Who can Get Free Vouchers?

Generally, one can be qualified for a free hotel voucher if given the following circumstances:

Lost his/her home due to natural calamities - Sometimes, when mother nature gets upset, it leaves undesirable results that lead to losing one of our primary needs– our shelter. If you live in a calamity-stricken area, uncertain circumstances may arise anytime such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc.

Fortunately, there are local hotel voucher programs that you can lean into when this happens. You just have to do your search and inquiry about organizations that offer free hotel vouchers, so that instead of staying out in the cold, you can avail of a free stay-in in a hotel to keep you warm and safe if you lost your home during calamities.

Being a victim of domestic violence - Domestic violence is one of the prevalent issues in society. If you feel like you are experiencing abuse at home, you can get a free hotel voucher from various organizations to help you find shelter while you think about how to make a fresh start.

Homelessness due to accidents - Home accidents such as fire and explosion can be devastating, especially as you think about how to find a temporary home to stay in as you figure things out.

Qualifying for a hotel voucher will help you and your family to stay somewhere safe and warm as you find a new home.

Home eviction - If you have been evicted from your current home, you can qualify for a free hotel voucher to have somewhere to stay for a few days or weeks depending on how long you are granted.

Types of Hotel Vouchers

There are different types of hotel vouchers which include:

Where to Find Hotel Vouchers for Homeless People

Here are some of the reliable resources you can try to get free hotel vouchers:

Government and Non-Government Organizations - Some states offer free hotel voucher programs in their area which aim to help families and single parents who lost their homes. This program is part of the government’s goal to eradicate homelessness.

You can inquire at the nearest government office or search for local programs in your area. Once you find a hotel voucher you think you are qualified for, you should submit the necessary requirements and wait for your application to be approved.

You may need to explain why you need the voucher and other important info that will increase your chances of getting the voucher.

Salvation Army Vouchers - Salvation Army is a non-government organization that has been helping the community through various programs like meal assistance, rental assistance, etc. It is also the most reliable organization you can run into if you need a hotel voucher.

There are hundreds of Salvation Army branches across the US, and to start your application for a hotel voucher, you need to contact the nearest Salvation Army in your area.

American Red Cross - The American Red Cross is another organization that helps citizens who suffer from different crises like floods, fire, and hurricanes. They offer shelter and food assistance as well as hotel vouchers for the homeless.

You can visit the nearest Red Cross branch in your area or email your inquiry through their website. If you need to contact them because of an emergency, go to get help to get immediate help.

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) - There are many catholic charities ready to help homeless people in various places across the US. With the help of policymakers, congress, as well as administrators from different states, CCUSA ensures that they provide services like hotel vouchers, disaster assistance, and health services. Apply for a hotel voucher by visiting the nearest CCUSA office in your area.

Emergency Housing Vouchers From Other Churches - Other than Salvation Army and CCUSA, there are other churches that offer free hotel vouchers for those in need. Examples of these church organizations are Love Inc., the Jewish Federation of North America, Episcopal Church Assistance Programs, the United Methodist Church, and the like.

Emergency Housing Vouchers - This is the latest government program that aims to help homeless people to get emergency housing in times of disaster. This is established with the help of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Local Assistance Programs - For families who just lost their homes or an individual who got evicted and doesn’t know where to get help, you can start by inquiring about free hotel voucher programs from your local government office.

Other Helpful Tips

Don’t know how to start your search for a hotel voucher? Don’t worry because the following tips may help you find what you’re looking for more easily.

  1. If you still don’t have any idea where the organizations that offer hotel vouchers are, you can use your social media skills to find one. Post a plea on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram asking anyone who knows where to get help and how.
  2. Local businesses and establishments may also offer help to those who are in need of temporary shelter in times of disasters so if you know someplace that may offer a hotel/motel voucher, it’s not bad to try and ask for help.
Final Word

Losing a home or getting evicted is devastating especially if there are children involved. Fortunately, there are many government and non-government programs that are more than happy to help those in need of temporary home assistance.