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Top Small Business Grants in Texas

Small Business Grants in Texas
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
Sulaiman Abdur-RahmanUpdated October 17, 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.
Texas has about 3.1 million small business owners who can apply for small business grants. Submitting an application and competing for Texas small business grants can help you grow your small or medium-sized enterprise in the Lone Star State.The Texas economy has a gross domestic product of $2.36 trillion as of 2022. That’s the second 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 $147.8 billion worth of goods from Texas in 2021, making it the largest small business exporting state nationwide, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau export data.Below we highlight some of the top small business grants in Texas that you can explore.

Grants for Small Businesses in Texas

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

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Skills for Small Business Grant

  • Program description: This program provides small business owners with workforce training funds that can help employees learn new skills. 
  • Incentive: Small businesses can receive workforce training funds covering up to $1,800 of eligible tuition costs in a 12-month period for a new employee and up to $900 in a 12-month period for an existing employee who learns new skills in a continuing education course.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:
    • Be a small business owner based in Texas
    • Employ at least one full-time employee and not more than 99
    • Pay the prevailing wage in your local labor market
    • Use the funding to train at least one full-time employee
    • All training must be provided by a public community or technical college
    • Self-employed individuals are not eligible for this grant program
  • How to apply: Visit the TWC website to apply.

Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant

  • Program description: The Texas Department of Agriculture offers STEP grants that can help you export your goods and services from the Lone Star State to foreign markets.
  • Incentive: Receive reimbursement for eligible business expenses, including your expenses of advertising overseas, attending international trade shows, and covering interpreter fees, among other export-related expenses.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:
    • Operate a Texas-based small company with a for-profit business structure
    • Be in good standing with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
    • Have at least one year of business experience
    • Understand how exporting works and the cost of doing business with foreign buyers
    • Have a Federal Identification Number tied to a Texas address
    • Have a product or service that’s manufactured, produced, processed, or value-added in Texas
    • Be new to export or expand your exports to new markets abroad
  • How to apply: Check the TDA website for details when the application period opens.

San Antonio Façade Improvement Grant Program

  • Program description: Eligible commercial property owners in San Antonio can receive partial reimbursement for enhancing the general aesthetics of a building exterior or façade.
  • Incentive: Receive up to $50K in reimbursements for making façade improvements to an eligible property in San Antonio.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant:
    • Be a small business owner (or nonprofit organization) occupying an eligible San Antonio commercial property
    • Have been in business at the location prior to Jan. 1, 2021 
    • Propose a façade improvement project
    • Be in compliance with all zoning and Unified Development Code requirements 
    • Be current on all property taxes
    • Have no city liens against you
    • Have the ability to meet program insurance requirements
    • The following businesses are not eligible:
      • Franchisors (local or nonlocal)
      • Gambling businesses
      • Sexually oriented businesses
      • Payday loan lenders
      • Liquor stores
      • Tobacco, cannabis, and vape stores
      • Any business in which a City of San Antonio local government employee or officer has a financial interest
How to apply: Apply online if and when the San Antonio Façade Improvement Grant Program reopens.

City of Austin’s Zero Waste Business Rebate

  • Program description: The City of Austin offers rebates for eligible businesses that improve their waste reduction and diversion practices.
  • Incentive: Receive up to $3,000 reimbursement for reducing waste beyond the minimum requirements of Austin’s Universal Recycling Ordinance.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this rebate program:
    • Business is based within the City of Austin’s full purpose jurisdiction
    • Business owner provides on-site recycling services to tenants and employees on company premises as required by City of Austin Code of Ordinances
    • You’re in compliance with municipal Austin City Codes
    • All tax accounts are in good standing
  • How to apply: Access the rebate application via the City of Austin website.

City of Rosenberg Business Improvement Grant Program

  • Program description: The Rosenberg Development Corporation (RDC) offers partial reimbursements to eligible businesses that make capital improvements to their Rosenberg commercial properties.
  • Incentive: Receive up to $10K reimbursement for implementing a qualifying project, including façade improvements, landscaping, and demolition of abandoned signs and structures.
  • General requirements: Here are some of the general requirements for this grant program:
    • Business is based within Rosenberg city limits in Fort Bend County, Texas
    • Entity structured as a for-profit business
    • Have no outstanding financial obligations to the City of Rosenberg
    • Have no active lawsuits against the City of Rosenberg
    • Business facilities not used for residential purposes
  • How to apply: You can obtain an application via the City of Rosenberg website.

Who Provides Small Business Grants in Texas?

Municipal, county, and state governments in Texas may offer small business grants in the Lone Star State. Corporate entities may also provide financial assistance to Texas establishments.You can compare small business grants in Texas 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 Small Business Grants in Texas?

Local business owners or operators of an enterprise with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for small business grants in Texas.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 Texas Support With Grants?

Texas offers a variety of grants supporting the following industries:
  • Manufacturing
  • Food services and drinking places
  • Real estate
  • Restaurants and other eating places
  • Retail trade (store and nonstore retailers)

Texas Resources for SMB Owners Looking for Funding

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

Texas Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network

The Texas SBDC network can provide Texas small business owners with the following services:
  • In-person business training and webinar events
  • Access to market research reports
  • Professional business advising at no cost

SBA District Offices in Texas

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that provides resources and support to small business owners. The SBA has six district offices in Texas:

Alternative Funding Sources for Small Businesses in Texas

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

Texas Small Business Credit Initiative (TSBCI)

The Texas Small Business Credit Initiative is a federally funded program for small business owners in the Lone Star State. Federal law — the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 — allocates more than $472 million to the TSBCI.Here’s how Texas plans to use the funding:
  • TSBCI Loan Guarantee Program — $354 million. This program makes it easier for Texas startups to qualify for small business loans by providing guarantees of up to 80% of unpaid principal on enrolled loans.
  • TSBCI Capital Access Program — $118 million. This program uses TSBCI matching funds to support portfolio insurance on small business loans. This can make it easier for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to access small business funding.

Texas Microloan Lenders

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

Texas SMB Loans from Private Lenders

Banks, credit unions, and private lenders may offer different types of small business loans to Texas 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 a small business grant in Texas?
How hard is it to get a business loan in Texas?
What is the easiest SBA loan to get approved for?
Photo credit: iStock/supersizer

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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