The Top 12 Startup Business Grants Around The World

If you are reading this, you probably own a startup.

According to fortune, 60% of the startups fail, and the uncertainty in a lot of these cases comes from a lack of money.

There are a lot of ways startups can get money apart from the revenue. Loans, crowdfundingventure capitals are all sources you must have heard a hundred times by now.

But all of these require something in return. Maybe interest rates are too high for you. Or you don’t want to spread ownership. Well then, a grant is your dark knight.

A grant is a fixed sum of money an organisation provides to an existing startup to help them operate further. What makes a grant unique? The ‘help’! It is a one-way transaction! That is the reason it is commonly termed as ‘free money’.

But with a lot of good competition, this ‘free money’ is very hard to get. A lot of effort is required for winning a grant. You might even have to make changes in your startup to fit the criteria of a grant.

Furthermore, a lot of grants are hard to find. To buy you a little more time to concentrate on your company, we did the research. Here are some of the best grants from 6 different countries:

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Startup Business Grants In India

Biotechnology Ignition Grant Scheme (BIG)


BIG is the prime grant scheme by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). It acknowledges startups working with unique and innovative ideas in the field of biotechnology. Its aim is to propagate research discoveries to the stage of commercialisation; thus it provides funding in a very early stage. It, ‘supports ideation to proof of concept.’

Who can apply?

Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) which is available for scientist entrepreneurs from research institutes, academia and startups. The applicant must either be incubated or have a registered company with a functional R&D laboratory.

The project can be from any of the following categories:

  • Devices & Diagnostics
  • Drugs including drug delivery
  • Industrial Biotechnology including Secondary Agriculture
  • Agriculture
  • Biosimilars & Stem Cells
  • Vaccines
  • Bioinformatics & facilities

Innovations in any of these categories via modern sciences like artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, cloud computing etc. are encouraged.

BIRAC makes it mandatory that the incorporation date of the startup, should be registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956/2013, shouldn’t be more than 5 years old from the time of closing of a particular BIG call. A qualified and competent project leader who is also a shareholder of the company should be nominated.

What will the applicant get?

The awarded company receives a grant-in-aid which is rolled out in 4 instalments during 18 months and may go up to Rs. 50 Lakhs. BIG ‘partners’ also provide guidance in various fields.

How to apply?

BIRAC calls for applications twice a year via advertising in multiple sources such as magazines, newspapers, website and journals. 1st January and 1st July are the dates application processes start and stay open for 1-1.5 months.

This is followed by a 3-tier selection process involving the online review, face to face presentation and selection by the expert selection committee. The selected applications are then forwarded to the concerned BIG partners with whom requirements’ finalisations are made, and a report is created. This report is examined by BIRAC, following which the grant is awarded.

To know more about BIG, refer the circular here.

Multiplies Grants Scheme (MGS)


MSG is a grant by Dept. of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) aimed at promoting the collaboration of companies with R&D institutions. It looks to close the gap between R&D and commercialisation of products.

Following this aim, MGS accepts proposals only from the academic institution(s) /R&D bodies jointly with the industry/industry consortium.

Who can apply?

The proposals for getting financial support under the scheme are to be submitted jointly by the industry and institutions. Also, the proposal should be for innovation in modules/ products/ packages/ services in the area of E&IT.

One more need is the collaborating institute should be at least 5 years old and should have a good academic record. The institute is judged on the basis of prior research and projects, level of professional courses it undertakes, papers published by them and their prior/ongoing collaboration with the industry.

The proposals outcome should be backed with market research should practicality of the commercial product.

What will the applicant get?

The government commits a grant of N*R where,

N is the multiplication factor and

R is the resources the industry commits.

The multiplication factor is decided by a committee of subject experts and while there are exceptions, ‘N’ goes up to 2. The amount goes up to Rs. 2 Crores which is disbursed to the institutions in stages preferably in less than 2 years. For consortiums, the amount is up to Rs. 4 crores in the time period of up to 4 years. In must be noted that the grant is provided to the academic institution with which the startup is collaborating and comes fixed terms such as manpower, equipment, consumables etc. and grant-in-aid from DeitY will be given to academic/R&D institution(s) only. The Government grants would cover specific items of expenditure under the

How to apply?

The concerned ministry calls for proposals for up to 3 times in a year. A working group with domain experts evaluates the proposals and directs suitable departments to allot funds. Once the grant is won, a Project Review & Steering Group (PRSG) guides the industry/institution and decides suitable funds release amount/time.

To know more about MGS, refer the circular here.

Startup Business Grants In The USA

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


SBIR is a competitive program by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialisation.

Who can apply?

As mentioned on the website, there are 4 main goals of SBIR:

  1. Stimulate technological innovation.
  2. Meet Federal research and development needs.
  3. Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
  4. Increase private-sector commercialisation of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.

If your operations align with the goals of SBIR, you can plan on applying. In simple words, the startup should be focused on priority fields for the US such as telecom, renewable energy, exceptional technological innovation, healthcare innovation etc.

The eligibility criteria for this goes very deep. You can get the complete criteria here.

What will the applicant get?

SBIR provides a 3-phase grant.

  • Phase 1 is when SBIR examines the commercial feasibility of the proposed R/R&D and determines the quality of performance of the organisation. Phase 1 grant is provided during 6 months and doesn’t usually exceed $150,000.
  • Phase 2’s funding depends upon results during phase 1 and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase 2. The grant is provided in 2 years and doesn’t usually exceed $1,000,000.
  • Phase 3 isn’t funded by the SBIR program. It is funded by some federal agency and is done to execute commercialisation objectives after research from previous phases.

How to apply?

After matching all eligibility check-boxes, you must prepare a proposal that meets the needs. This is followed by choosing a solicitation and then choosing a research topic accordingly. With a solicitation chosen, you now have to apply and submit a proposal for the phases you are applying for.

Amber Grant


The Amber Grant is a grant awarded every month by WomensNet. It runs for for-profit businesses run by women. Running since 1998, it was started in the memory of Amber Wigdahl, who passed away at the age of 19.

Who can apply?

All USA based women entrepreneurs/startups are eligible for receiving the grant. The conditions aren’t very specific at all. The business should be for-profit and run by a woman/women. That’s all.

Quoting from the website, “Don’t try to “sound corporate.” Past grant winners are women who have simply shared from the heart.” That’s what you need to follow too.

What will the applicant get?

The grant is presented to the winning applicant every month. The amount has been increasing with time, and from $2,000, it was raised to $4,000 in 2020. In addition to the $4,000 every month, one amongst all the winners of year also receives $25,000 grant money at the end of the year based on public voting.

How to apply?

The application process is fairly simple and straightforward and is done by filling the form here. The form requires very minimal details about you, your business and your plans with the grant. To finish applying, you will need to pay a $15 application fee.

Startup Business Grants In Singapore

Startup SG Founder


Startup SG Founder is one of the most popular startup support programs in Singapore. It looks for innovative business ideas by first-time entrepreneurs. Startup SG Founder works with 40+ companies which are referred to as Accredited Mentor Partners or AMPs. These are companies that look to provide benefits to startups whose focus area aligns with their own.

An AMP judge’s applications on the basis of the uniqueness of business concept, feasibility of the business model, strength of management team and potential market value.

Who can apply?

The grant’s primary focus is on the uniqueness or novelty of the company’s flagship focus. Your startup must be working on something much different from what’s on the market.

While all first-time entrepreneurs who are Singapore’s citizens or permanent residents can apply, some criterion must be satisfied. Applicant(s) must hold or propose to hold at least 30% equity in the underlying company which itself, shouldn’t be incorporated for more than 6 months at the time of applying.

The company must have at least 51% of the local shareholding and not be incorporated for more than six (6) months at the point of application. The applicants must not have registered or incorporated any business entity, and this should be their first government funding for the proposed business idea.

What will the applicant get?

A capital grant of $30,000 is provided by Enterprise Singapore (ESG). AMP with a consultation with the applicants, decides the milestones for the next 12 months on which the grant will be released. This is then examined approved by the ESG.

In addition to the grant, the AMP will provide continuous mentoring and other benefits such as legal support, machining, publicity, incubation space etc. These benefits vary on the partner to partner basis.

How to apply?

The application to grant award is broadly a 5-step process:

  1. The applicants choose one or more AMPs from the list mentioned here and apply with their idea.
  2. AMP(s) evaluate if the eligibility and evaluation criteria are met and recommend the applicants to ESG.
  3. The concerned AMP and ESG will together evaluate and decide the applications to proceed with and reply within 5 days.
  4. ESG provides Letter of Offer to the selected applicants. AMP provides support during the 12-month process.
  5. The grant money is disbursed by the ESG as and when the pre-decided milestones are met.

For all the details, click here.

Experience Step-Up Fund (ESF)


ESF is one of the 9 grants provided by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and of course, all of these focus on businesses working on enhancing tourism in Singapore in one or the other way. ESF in particular looks for businesses working to improve the satisfaction of the tourists, thus making Singapore (and the destination in focus) more alluring for outsiders.

Who can apply?

The ESF is applicable for all companies or associations registered in Singapore. It is also open for government bodies. Since the grant is tourism-focused, the startup’s proposal for the new project should be under one of the following categories:

  • Development of new products and experiences
  • Content enhancements at existing attractions and precincts
  • Technology enablers
  • Amenities enhancements within retail malls and attractions
  • Infrastructure enhancements

What will the applicant get?

Instead of receiving a fixed grant amount, ESF reimburses the money spent in different areas. These may include third-party costs such as hardware/software costs, material costs, manpower costs and cost of professional services. It can also cover some of production and marketing costs. All the reimbursements are issued after STB’s evaluations on the basis of realisation of agreed milestones and deliverables. In most cases, the companies have to submit externally audited documents on the qualifying reimbursement costs.

How to apply?

The applicants need to create their proposal based on this template. In addition to the applicant’s details, it requires information on how the project aims to accomplish the mentioned areas of opportunities, tentative cost and timeline, sales and marketing plans and capabilities to achieve the target.

The proposal should be sent to the STB at [email protected]. An STB officer will contact the applicant and guide them further. It is a necessity that the project shouldn’t have begun before the grant is offered.

Startup Business Grants In Australia

CSIRO Kick-Start


Kick-Start is a grant administered by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science research agency. The aim of the grant aligns with that of CSIRO who tackle problems relating to national growth priorities with innovation in science and technology.

Kick-Start is for Australia based startups and SMEs, and together with funding, it provides research expertise and support to help your startup advance.

Who can apply?

An Australia registered and based for-profit startup with an Australian Company Number (ACN), non-tax exempt and registered for GST can apply for the grant. Also, your company needs to either be registered for less than 3 years or have had the annual turnover and operating costs below 1.5 million AUD in running as well as previous two FYs.

Since the proposed project should be research-based, it should either propose research into a new idea with commercial feasibility for the future or propose testing of a home-developed novel product, to inform R&D activities. Development/improvement plans for a product or process can also be proposed.

The proposal should be in one of the 12 (currently) business facilities under CSIRO like energy, manufacturing etc. and should be less than 1 year.

What will the applicant get?

After details such as budget, payment schedule etc. are finalised between CSIRO business unit and the startup, CSIRO provides Kick-Start voucher funds. The grant amount can range from $10k to $50k (AUD). CSIRO provides as much money (within the range) as much as the startup itself contributes (dollar-matched funding).

The startup is not only facilitated with research and development resources but also provided guidance for the same. A second Kick-Start voucher can also be granted if conditions are met.

How to apply?

To apply, you need to fill the ‘Expressions of Interest’ form here. The form collects details about the applicant and the proposed project. Based on this, a suitable researcher under CSIRO is assigned to the project together with whom the company needs to develop a complete application form, including all the documentation required. This is then reviewed and approved if the deemed suitable.

Accelerating Commercialisation (AC)


Accelerating commercialisation is one of 4 elements of The Entrepreneurs Programs by the government of Australia. It is meant to give assistance to startups, entrepreneurs, SMEs and researchers by facilitating them with expert advice and funding, usually to launch a product, process or service commercially.

The primary focus of the grant is the provision of commercial advisors assigned to the awarded companies which provide expert guidance as well as connections. Companies also receive excellent portfolio services. The financial help remains a part of the overall support.

Who can apply?

You need to fall in one of the following categories to be eligible:

  • Non-tax-exempt eligible corporations registered for GST.
  • Group of Individuals, researchers or partnerships who agree to form an eligible corporation (as defined in the guide below).
  • Eligible Partner Entity (EPE) looking to commercialise the result of the research.

In most cases, AC doesn’t fund R&D projects so the company will have to have a working prototype.

What will the applicant get?

The primary reward of AC is high-quality commercial guidance. Professional commercial advisors are assigned who guide the startup on how to convert their IP into a successful commercial product/service. These advisers also help you develop a relevant professional network.

In addition to the guidance, you can apply for a financial grant with which portfolio services are included or can apply for the latter alone. The startup can apply for dollar-matched financial grant amount with an upper limit of 1 million AUD.

If applied and chosen for, you also get to be in AC’s portfolio for the project period or even more. Portfolio members get to have reach and visibility to investors, supply chains etc. ACs’ portfolio is a credible source that investors trust.

How to apply?

The application process is open throughout the year. You will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form here. If found worthy, you will be provided with an advisor who reviews the proposal and advises accordingly. The application for the commercial grant as well portfolio services is made only after the startup has received proper commercial guidance.

For complete details about the grant, visit here.

Startup Business Grants In South Africa

Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF)


This is a woman only fund that focuses on empowering primarily women-run companies. It helps the startup expand, rehabilitate and bridge its finances. It is managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), South Africa.

Who can apply?

IWF is for South Africa based startups, with 50%+1 shares owned and managed by women of the company. The startup should also be at least 6 months in operations and showing signs of commercial growth and sustainability. One important factor that greatly improves the chances of getting you the grant is the impact the startup is creating socially, especially in job creation. Early-stage starts are preferred over the more developed ones.

What will the applicant get?

The amount of funding can vary from R30,000 up to R20,00,000 (South African Rand).

How to apply?

The application process is relatively simple. The application process can be carried out by calling +27(11)7727910 or by fetching the application form from here.

Strategic Partnership Programme (SPP)


The Strategic Partnership Programme was created as the successor of Incubation Support Programme (ISP). Originally supposed to end in 2019, it was further extended to an indefinite period of time. It is another offering of the DTI, South Africa and looks to support companies creating improvements in manufacturing and services supply capacities. It is also intended to support Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE).

It is fulfilled with a joint effort of large private sector businesses (strategic partners) and the government of the country to nurture startups and SMEs. The cost is also shared between the government and the private partners.

Who can apply?

The startup should be a South African registered legal entity working in manufacturing (or related services), agro-processing or mineral beneficiation. As a support measure for BBBEE, minimum 51% ownership should be by Black South African Citizens, and in most cases, black owners should command ownership and membership. The grant is provided for work in many areas such as machinery or equipment, Information and Communication Technology, Product development etc.

What will the applicant get?

Grant money is disbursed on a quarterly/bi-monthly basis, usually in a reimbursement format. The amount is capped at R15 Million and is provided in split by the government (DTI) and the respective strategic partner (private) in either 50:50 or 70:30 ratio depending upon the situation.

How to apply?

To apply, you need to submit this application form on DTI’s website. The form requires the current and future plans in extensive details. You will also need to specify funding requirements. Further steps are taken if the application is approved, and a strategic partner is involved.

For a more in-depth knowledge of SPP, visit here.

Startup Business Grants In Canada

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)


IRAP or NRC IRAP is run by National Research Council (NRC) of Canada and funds startups and SMEs to help boost their innovation capacity and to help them convert take their idea to product/service. The businesses are also given expert advices and connections. The mandate of IRAP is to “stimulate wealth creation for Canada through innovation.”

Who can apply?

If you are a for-profit startup/SME incorporated in Canada with 500 or less full-time employees, you are qualified to apply. Applying businesses should have their focus on profiting by developing cutting-edge new/improved products, services or processes.

What will the applicant get?

The awardees are connected to relevant Industrial Technology Advisors (ITAs) who provide technical advice, business advice, links to resources, referrals, patent searches and much more to the company. A network of associates from various zones like marketing, legal, technology etc. can provide access to tailored support and connections.

The funds are dependent on the type of project and also availability. The amount is not fixed but can go up to a maximum of $10 million.

How to apply?

The first step is to call NRC IRAP on 1-877-994-4727. If found suitable, you are referred to an ITA. The ITA will gain knowledge about your business and your plans, and if found feasible, the ITA will require you to make a proposal for a financial grant. This proposal will be analysed by the NRC on factors such as technical aspects, commercialisation potential, business capacity etc. as mentioned here.

If successful, the terms will be drawn, and the startup will be allowed to claim the amounts my submitting monthly reimbursement claims.

Space Technology Development Program (STDP)


Canadian Space Agency’s STDP works on bringing innovation in the Canadian space industry and on reducing technological unknowns. It awards grants to businesses developing innovative products with commercial potential. It also gives contracts to organisations for the development of technologies for the future.

STDP operates to increase industrial preparedness of Canadian space companies.

Who can apply?

All Canadian (established and operating) organisations, whether for-profit or non-profit are eligible to be issued contracts, but only for-profit organisations are eligible to be awarded any grant. The proposal of your company should, of course, be for some space-related technology and innovation.

What will the applicant get?

The available funding amount at a time is not fixed and depends upon the Request For Proposal (RFP) or Announcement of Opportunity (AO). The amount is variable and varies on different factors like the type of project, technological readiness etc. It can go from being under $100,000 to over a million CAD. The funds are usually dispersed in a period ranging from one to four years.

How to apply?

You can visit this page to apply for the grant.

Go On, Tell Us What You Think!

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