April 19, 2013 in Commentary

INSIGHT : New York State Grants for Businesses

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Most businesses owners are aware that billions of dollars in grant money flows into local businesses from federal, state and regional sources. These grants support a variety of goals – increasing local employment, encouraging businesses not to relocate, stimulating valued industries, environmental improvements, promoting local tourism.

A few large projects, such as development projects valued in the hundreds of million of dollars, get much of the attention. However, companies of almost any size may qualify for grants. The difficulty comes in identifying and applying to the available grant programs.  In New York State, the process has become easier with implementation of the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).  The new application is credited with streamlining the process by allowing one application to serve as access to funds across numerous state agencies and programs.  For an overview of the range of resources available through the CFA, see this publication.

Be aware that the application may not access all programs offered by participating agencies. For example, businesses looking for funds to make their operations more energy efficient will find that the CFA provides access to significant resources from the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) but some of their programs may not be included. If you have specific programs in mind, it’s best to confirm participation in the CFA with the individual agencies involved.

To improve your chances of receiving some of the available grants, use your local regional economic development council as a primary resource. (New York State is divided into ten economic/geographic regions.)  Each region makes a wealth of valuable local data available. This data can be used to make your application a better match for available funds.  Additionally, each regional council develops a strategic plan identifying the types of business and projects it will encourage.  The regional council may be able to group your application with others as part of a regional push that is more likely to be awarded. As an example, the regional plan for Westchester, including a broad range of targeted programs and industries, is available here.

This post addresses grant sources in New York State, but similar grants are available through a range of federal programs and agencies. The Small Business Administration is one such agency and a great resource in general.  It offers qualifying small businesses a range of resources, loans, and grant.

Feel free to contact Zak Shusterman to discuss this and other options for funding your projects.