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Top Small Business Grants in Indiana

Indiana Small Business Grants
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
Sulaiman Abdur-RahmanUpdated October 15, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Indiana has about 530,000 small business owners who can apply for small business grants. Submitting an application and competing for Indiana small business grants can help you grow your small or medium-sized enterprise in the Hoosier State.Indiana’s economy has a gross domestic product of $455.8 billion as of 2022. That’s the 19th largest GDP in the United States out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Small businesses contribute to the nation’s economy.Small and medium-sized firms exported about $5.3 billion worth of goods from Indiana in 2021, which ranks 23rd in the nation out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau export data.Below we highlight some of the top small business grants in Indiana that you can explore.

Grants for Small Businesses in Indiana

If you’re looking for Indiana small business grants, here are some potential options to consider:

Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) Elevate Grants

  • Program description: FHLBI Elevate grants can help you grow your Indiana firm and cover costs related to small business expansion and workforce development.
  • Incentive: Eligible business owners can receive up to $20,000 to cover project expenses, such as technology enhancements, capital improvements, and workforce development.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:
    • Partner with an FHLBI member institution
    • Be a small business owner based in Indiana or Michigan
    • Be active in business for at least 12 months
    • Have average annual gross revenues of less than $1 million
  • How to apply: Work directly with an FHLBI member institution to apply when the annual application opens.

City of South Bend Business Grants

  • Program description: The city of South Bend offers a variety of grants that may partially reimburse eligible businesses for making capital improvements.
  • Incentive: Eligible businesses can receive up to $20K for making visual enhancements in downtown South Bend and up to $112K for implementing an advanced sustainability project in select corridors.
  • General requirements: Any business in South Bend may be eligible for a Vibrant Places matching grant, and businesses in the downtown area may be eligible for one Exterior Enhancement Grant per year.
  • How to apply: Visit the City of South Bend website for additional information on these grants and how to apply.

Michigan City Urban Enterprise Association (MCUEA) Business Grant Program

  • Program description: The MCUEA offers grants to eligible business owners who make exterior and interior improvements to their brick-and-mortar commercial establishments in Michigan City, Indiana.
  • Incentive: Eligible businesses in the Michigan City Urban Enterprise Zone can receive up to $7,500 in reimbursements for making capital improvements.
  • General requirements: You generally need to operate a business within the Michigan City Urban Enterprise Zone for a minimum period of one year to qualify for this grant.
  • How to apply: Contact the Michigan City Urban Enterprise Association for information on when the business grant application opens.

City of Madison’s Preservation and Community Enhancement (PACE) Grant Program

  • Program description: The PACE Grant Program provides matching grants to eligible property owners who rehab and improve the structural integrity of dilapidated buildings within the city of Madison, Indiana.
  • Incentive: The PACE Grant Program offers the following incentives per category:
    • Receive a Curb Appeal Grant of up to $5,000 for improving the appearance of your residential or commercial property within the hilltop target area
    • Receive a Rehabilitation Grant of up to $7,500 for rehabbing your downtown historic property
    • Receive a Dangerous Buildings Grant of up to $10,000 for the full demolition of an unsafe property within the city of Madison
    • Receive a Dilapidated Structures Grant of up to $25,000 for the partial demolition and rehabilitation of a dilapidated structure within the city of Madison
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:
    • Own residential or commercial property in the city of Madison, Indiana
    • Be current on all property taxes
    • Have no current tax liens against the property
    • Have no current litigation between you and the city of Madison
    • Provide willingness to execute all legal agreements
    • Properties which previously received PACE grant funds are not eligible for additional funding for two years following the previous grant’s final disbursement of funds
  • How to apply: Contact the PACE Review Committee or Madison’s Planning Department if you’re interested in applying.

Downtown Danville Partnership Façade Improvement Grant Program

  • Program description: Downtown businesses in Danville, Indiana, can receive partial reimbursements for making improvements to their storefronts and building exteriors.
  • Incentive: Receive up to $5,000 per grant for making exterior façade improvements to your commercial property in downtown Danville, Indiana.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:
    • Own a business in downtown Danville, Indiana
    • Your business is located within the boundary of Clinton, Kentucky, Broadway, and Wayne streets
    • Receive design approval in advance from the Town of Danville’s Design Review Committee
  • How to apply: Go to the Downtown Danville Partnership website to submit your application online.

Who Provides Indiana Small Business Grants?

Local governments, nonprofits, and financial institutions affiliated with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis may offer small business grants in Indiana.You can compare small business grants in Indiana with similar programs in other states, such as:

Do You Have to Pay Back a Small Business Grant?

A small business grant typically comes with terms and conditions, and you may be responsible for paying back the grant if you violate those terms. In general, small and midsized business owners are not required to pay back an SMB grant absent any violations.You typically have to sign a funding agreement to accept a small business grant. As mentioned above, the grant may come with certain conditions. Using the grant for an illegitimate purpose may violate the agreement and require business owners to pay back the grant.Small business grants may require you to spend the money by a certain date. You may also have to provide proof of payment and a written statement detailing how you’ve spent the grant.Recommended: How To Get a Small Business Grant

Who Is Eligible for Indiana Small Business Grants?

You may qualify for Indiana small business grants if your business generates annual revenues of less than $1 million and you plan to implement a capital improvement project. Local business owners or operators of an enterprise with fewer than 500 employees may also be eligible for small business grants in Indiana.The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy generally defines a small business as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. A small business, including individuals with freelancing business ideas, may be eligible for small business grants.

What Industries Does Indiana Support With Grants?

Indiana offers a variety of grants supporting the following industries:
  • Agriculture
  • Food services and drinking places
  • Hair, nail, and skin care services
  • Landscaping services
  • Restaurants and other eating places
  • Retail trade (store and nonstore retailers)

Indiana Resources for SMB Owners Looking for Funding

Here are some resources for small and medium-sized businesses looking for funding in the Hoosier State:

Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Indiana SBDC is a statewide program that can provide Indiana’s small business owners with the following services:
  • Access to market research reports at no cost
  • Confidential business counseling at no cost
  • Workshops and training events

SBA District Office in Indiana

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that provides resources and support to small business owners. The SBA District Office in Indianapolis serves all 92 counties in Indiana.

Alternative Funding Sources for Small Businesses in Indiana

Here are some alternative funding sources for small businesses in Indiana:

Indiana State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

Indiana’s SSBCI is a federally funded program for small business owners in the Hoosier State. Federal law — the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 — allocates about $99 million to Indiana’s State Small Business Credit Initiative program.Here’s how Indiana plans to use the SSBCI funding:
  • Indiana Angel Network Fund — $70.4 million. This program will help eligible startups access venture capital in the Hoosier State. It provides equity capital directly to startups through the Indiana Angel Network Fund alongside co-investors. Investments from the Indiana Angel Network may be made up to $1 million per company and typically require a minimum 1:1 co-investment.
  • Indiana Loan Fund Investment Program — $28.7 million. This program can help Indiana small business owners access small business loans. This includes Indiana small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Indiana Microloan Lenders

Community-based nonprofits may offer microloans of up to $50,000 to Indiana small business owners, including microloans for women-owned small businesses in the Hoosier State. In general, microloans can range from $500 to $50K and may be available to startups.

Indiana SMB Loans from Private Lenders

Banks, credit unions, and private lenders may offer different types of small business loans to Indiana small business owners.Here are some of the funding products you may consider depending on your needs:

Find Small Business Financing With Lantern

If you need funding to grow your business, Lantern by SoFi can help. Just fill out a simple form and find the right financing for your business.Lantern can help you find fast funding for your small or medium-sized enterprise.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get an Indiana small business grant?
How hard is it to get a business loan in Indiana?
What is the easiest SBA loan to get approved for?
Photo credit: iStock/Pgiam

About the Author

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman

Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman writes about personal loans, auto loans, student loans, and other personal finance topics for Lantern. He’s the recipient of more than 10 journalism awards and served as a New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists board member. An alumnus of the Philadelphia-based Temple University, Abdur-Rahman is a strong advocate of the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
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