While the federal government does not provide grants for starting or growing small businesses, it does provide a myriad of services to assist entrepreneurs in pursuit of their dreams. One of the mechanisms in place to promote small business growth and economic development is the Community Development Financial Institution Fund managed by the US Department of the Treasury. In the current fiscal year the federal government is allocating more than $12 Million to support CDFIs.
Community Development Financial Institutions fall into four categories:
The genesis of the Community Development Financial Institution Fund was the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. The reason for the fund's existence is to foster economic revitalization and community development.
The Small Business Administration has established the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Empowerment Contracting Program wherein they aim to provide federal contracting assistance to eligible small business corporations which are located in underutilized business zones so as to improve their employment opportunities, investments, and their area's economic development.
In line with this mission, the NIH has recently constituted the Small Business Innovation Research Phase IIB Bridge Awards to Accelerate the Development of Cancer Therapeutics, Imaging Technologies, Interventional Devices, Diagnostics, and Prognostics Toward Commercialization Program.
Crowdfunding, while not a new model of funding, is used by nonprofits of collecting micro donations to target a larger fundraising goal.