Top Small Business Grants in New York

By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman · May 22, 2024 · 11 minute read

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Top Small Business Grants in New York

Small businesses make up a substantial portion of the New York State economy. According to New York’s 2023 Annual Report on the State of Small Business, a full 98% of New York businesses have fewer than 100 employees, and just over 92% of that total have fewer than 25 employees.

To support small and medium-size businesses in the Empire State, New York offers a number of generous grant programs that can help entrepreneurs launch or grow their companies. Unlike small business loans, grants typically don’t have to be repaid. While competition for New York grants can be stiff, here are five small business grants in New York to explore.

Grants for Small Businesses in New York

If you’re looking for a small business grant to grow or start your business in New York, here are some options to consider.

Global NY Fund Grant Program

•   Program description: The Global NY Fund Grant Program can help you export your goods or your services from the Empire State to foreign markets.

•   Incentive: Eligible businesses can receive up to $25,000 in reimbursement for expenses related to market customization, participation in trade shows, export workshops, or product adaptations to meet foreign regulatory requirements.

•   General requirements:

◦   Be a New York small business owner

◦   Have 500 or fewer employees statewide

◦   Be new to export or expand your exports to new markets abroad

◦   Have at least 51% of the value of your goods or services originate in New York, or be certified as a local producer

◦   Your business is at least 12 months old

◦   You have a demonstrated need for grant assistance

◦   You understand how exporting works and the cost of doing business with foreign buyers

•   How to apply: The Global NY Fund Grant Program is due to reopen for business by the end of 2024. You can find more information on its website .

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The Creative Opportunity Fund

•   Program description: In partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), A.R.T./New York offers the Creative Opportunity Fund (COF) to provide general operating support grants to theaters throughout New York State.

•   Incentive: Small professional theaters with budgets under $500K can receive general operating support grants of $2,000 to $5,000.

•   General requirements:

◦   Be a New York-based theater company with at least two years of public programming experience

◦   Operate as a 501(c) nonprofit, fiscally sponsored, or unincorporated artist collective organization

◦   Host live or virtual performances in New York State

◦   Have annual expenses totaling $500,000 or less

◦   Commit to allocating at least 50% of any funding awarded through the COF to providing compensation to artists

•   How to apply: The application process for the 2024 COF program closed in October 2023; check the COF website back in early August 2024 for 2025 grant opportunities.

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City of Troy’s Community Business Investment Grant

•   Program description: The City of Troy’s Community Business Investment Grant provides reimbursement funds to eligible commercial and mixed-use projects that strengthen the surrounding community. Such projects can include interior or exterior renovations to a commercial space, among other capital improvements.

•   Incentive: Business owners in Troy can receive between $5,000 and $50,000 in reimbursement for expenses related to a capital improvement project.

•   General requirements:

◦   Be a property owner or business owner in the City of Troy

◦   Be current on all taxes

◦   Propose a capital improvement project, such as making energy efficiency upgrades to your commercial property or rehabbing an industrial building

◦   Certify a minimum 50% match requirement

◦   Have proof of available financing for your project

◦   Begin project within six months of grant approval

◦   Complete the project within one year of project commencement, unless granted an extension

•   How to apply: Check the City of Troy’s website for updates on 2024/2025 grant opportunities and deadlines.

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City of Rochester Small Business Grant Programs

•   Program description: The City of Rochester offers small business reimbursement grants to eligible retail and neighborhood service establishments that need capital for items such as advertising, furniture/equipment, exterior signage, computers, architectural services, and security equipment.

•   Incentive: Startups in business for up to 12 months are eligible for up to $5,000. Existing businesses (in business for 12 months or more) are eligible for up to $8,000.

•   General requirements:

◦   Be a retail establishment or consumer services business owner with annual gross revenues of $5 million or less

◦   Operate your Rochester-based business in accordance with local zoning regulations

◦   Meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) eligibility guidelines of providing an essential product or service in low-to-moderate-income areas (or meet other HUD guidelines)

◦   Be current on your sales and property taxes

◦   Have no outstanding code violations or nuisance points on your commercial property

◦   Operate an eligible business or enterprise (adult entertainment businesses, check-cashing facilities, gambling facilities, gun shops, home-based businesses, payday loan operations, and vape shops are not eligible)

•   How to apply: You can submit an online request for assistance/information on the City of Rochester’s website .

Market New York Tourism Grant

•   Program description: The Market New York grant program can help small businesses and other eligible applicants pay for tourism marketing initiatives in the Empire State.

•   Incentive: Various funding amounts are available for tourism marketing initiatives, capital projects, and special events (such as meetings, conferences, conventions, festivals, and athletic competitions).

•   General requirements:

◦   Be a not-for profit corporation or a for-profit business certified in the state of New York

◦   Propose a marketing or capital project that will promote tourism in the region or state

◦   Complete and submit a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA)

◦   Make a 50% match for working capital/marketing projects with a $50,000 minimum request.

◦   Make an 80% match for capital projects with a $150,000 minimum request

•   How to apply: Contact the New York State Division of Tourism staff for information about the next round of funding.

Who Provides Small Business Grants in New York?

Federal, state, and local governments and agencies; nonprofit organizations; and institutions of higher learning offer a variety of small business grants in New York.

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Do You Have to Pay Back a Small Business Grant?

Typically, no. Unlike small business loans, small business grants generally do not need to be repaid. However, that doesn’t mean there are no strings attached. Small business grants usually come with terms and conditions and require the recipient to sign a funding agreement. If for any reason you violate the terms of the grant, you may be responsible for paying back the funds. For example, using the grant for an illegitimate purpose may violate the agreement and require business owners to pay back the grant.

In some cases, 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.

Who Is Eligible for Small Business Grants in New York?

Local business owners or operators of an enterprise with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible for small business grants in New York.

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 business with just a few employees, even self-employed individuals, may also be eligible for small business grants.

What Industries Does New York Support With Grants?

New York offers a variety of grants supporting the following industries:

•   Manufacturing

•   Performing arts

•   Technology

•   Renewable energy

•   Restaurants

•   Retail

•   Tourism

New York Resources for SMB Owners Looking for Funding

Here’s a look at some resources for small- and medium-sized businesses looking for funding in the Empire State.

New York Small Business Development Center (NYSBDC)

The NYSBDC is a statewide program that offers New York’s small business owners with the following services at no cost:

•   Business training courses, seminars, and workshops

•   Library and research services

•   Confidential business counseling

SBA District Offices in New York

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

•   SBA Buffalo District Office . This SBA district serves 14 of the westernmost counties of New York. Depending on where you’re based, you can contact the main office in Buffalo or the satellite office in Rochester.

•   SBA Metro New York District Office . This SBA district serves 14 counties in New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding area. Depending on where you’re based, you can contact the main office in New York City or the satellite office in Hauppauge.

•   SBA Syracuse District Office . This SBA district serves 34 counties in upstate New York. Depending on where you’re based, you can contact the main office in Syracuse, branch office in Albany, or the satellite office in Elmira.

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Alternative Funding Sources for Small Businesses in New York

If you don’t qualify for small business grants in New York State, you’re not necessarily out of funding options. Here are some other ways you may be able to get the capital you need to launch or grow your business in New York.

NY Microloan Lenders

Community-based nonprofits may offer microloans of anywhere from $500 to $50,000 to underserved small business owners in New York, such as women and minorities. Interest rates tend to be low (or zero in some cases), and the qualification criteria are often less stringent compared with other business loans.

Microloans can provide an infusion of cash to get a startup off the ground or grow an existing business. However, you may need to provide a microlender with a personal guarantee and collateral in order to secure funding.

SBA loans for New York Businesses

An SBA loan is a type of SMB loan that is partially guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and offered by banks and other lenders. Loan amounts range from $500 to $5.5 million.

Because the federal government guarantees to repay most of the loan amount if a borrower defaults, it reduces the lender’s risk and encourages them to offer loans to companies they might not otherwise work with. For small business owners who can’t qualify for a traditional business loan, an SBA loan can be an ideal option.

SBA loan rates are among the lowest available, and repayment terms can go up to 10 or 25 years, depending on loan usage. However, the SBA loan application process can be long and rigorous.

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New York SMB Loans from Private Lenders

Banks, credit unions, and online lenders may offer business term loans to New York business owners. Newer businesses typically have a better chance of approval through online lenders because they typically offer more flexible qualification requirements.

With a term loan, you receive a lump sum of cash upfront and repay it over a set period of time, often up to 10 years. Your business’s history, annual revenue, and creditworthiness (including your personal credit) typically determine which loan terms you’ll have access to and how much you can borrow.

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Business Lines of Credit

A business line of credit is a flexible financing option that lets you borrow money on an as-needed basis up to a predetermined amount. Similar to a credit card, you pay interest only on the money you’ve drawn. Once you’ve repaid your funds, you can draw on your line again.

Business credit lines are offered by banks, online lenders, and other lenders. Banks tend to have more stringent qualifications and lower rates, while online lenders may be more lenient, but offer higher rates.

Equipment Loans

If your business needs money to purchase equipment or machinery, equipment financing may be a good solution. The equipment you purchase serves as collateral for the loan. If you default, the lender can repossess and resell the equipment to recuperate some of its losses. Since this lowers risk for the lender, equipment financing often comes with competitive interest rates.

The amount you can borrow with an equipment loan depends on what you need to finance. Many banks and online lenders will offer financing that covers the full cost of equipment.

The Takeaway

A variety of small business grants are available in New York State, whether it’s from state or local governments or the private sector.

If you’re seeking financing for your business, SoFi can help. On SoFi’s marketplace, you can shop top providers today to access the capital you need. Find a personalized business financing option today in minutes.

With SoFi’s marketplace, it’s fast and easy to search for your small business financing options.


How do you get a small business grant in New York?

To find a small business grant in New York, you might start by contacting the state’s Economic Development Administration and your local Small Business Development Center. You typically need to submit a grant application as a qualified small business owner to be considered for a small business grant in New York.

How hard is it to get a business loan in New York?

You typically need to have been in business for at least two years and have strong financials to qualify for a business loan from a bank. Online alternative lenders tend to have more flexible qualification criteria but generally charge higher interest rates.

What is the easiest SBA loan to get approved for?

There’s no guarantee you’ll get approved for any SBA loan, but SBA microloans may be one of the easier ones to get if you’re a new business owner. Startups may be eligible for SBA microloans of up to $50,000. If you’re looking for a streamlined application process, look into an SBA Express loan.

Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

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