Posted in Business
US Government grants are available as federal, state, and local grants. Securing a federal government grant for an iOS app development project as a small business or organization is challenging, because these grants are awarded mostly to projects that have a strong public impact or else are focused on valuable scientific research. State grants, and especially local grants, on the other hand, can be within your reach, if you develop the right kind of app, that is.
What App Development Projects Get Funded
It’s important to understand that government grants are intended to fund projects that are of public interest, such as those focused on healthcare, education, or scientific research, or else help address a particular social problem affecting a certain area. Government grants are not mere financial tools to help businesses develop products and grow. If you want to fund an iOS game, an entertainment app, or any other type of app that doesn’t touch in any way on social or economic issues, health, education, or science, obtaining a government grant is extremely difficult.
Finding the Right Grant for Your App
Although obtaining a government grant isn’t easy, there are several US government grants you can apply to:
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential while engaging in research and development projects. iOS App development projects may qualify, but this is a highly competitive program. In 2014, SBIR awarded 300 grants averaging $624,807.
Together with the SBIR program, STTR is one of the most prestigious grants for small businesses in the US. To be eligible for this grant, your small business has to formally collaborate with a research institution in the first two phases of the program. Five different Government Agencies are involved in this program, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation.
The National Endowment for the Arts features Grants for Organizations as well as individuals that create art works. The grant is focused on art works that foster public engagement, promote learning, and strengthen communities. Included in the list of accepted art works are iOS apps. Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.
The state of North Carolina offers an attractive small business incentive in the form of funding that helps small businesses compete on the same level as larger businesses for the startup and development stages of a technology venture. More specifically, the program offers matching funds to North Carolina businesses that have qualified for either the STTR and SBIR programs mentioned above.
NASE stands for the National Association for the Self-Employed. Aimed at micro-business owners worth up to $5,000, NASE Growth Grants offers small business grants for financing a specific business need. Unlike other grants on this list, the NASE Growth Grants are somewhat easier to obtain. Before you can apply to them, however, you have to become a NASE member.
Local grants are offered by municipal governments and local agencies, and can vary widely in terms of benefits and requirements. In order to qualify for such a grant, your app often needs local intent. In other words, it has to help the local economy or population in some way.
While not a grant in the proper sense of the word, the US Small Business Administration Small Business Loan Program offers attractive low-interest loans that can be used to fund iOS app development. One of the conditions for eligibility is “a sound business purpose”. A SBA small business loan is basically a guarantee that the government makes to a bank, which provides the actual financing.
How to Increase Your Chances of Receiving a Government Grant
While you should not exclude entirely state and even federal funding for your iOS app development project -- after all, you never know -- a more realistic approach is to focus on local programs. This is true whether you are a startup, a small business, or an organization. There are a few things you can do to become a strong candidate for a local government grant:
- Create an app that promotes or facilitates education at any level
- Build an app that provides users with a range of tools that can improve the health of the population, or that can assist doctors and other medical staff
- Design an app that promotes environmental improvement in an intuitive way, offering practical solutions to challenges such as recycling or energy saving
- Add a social element to your app, in a way that promotes the greater good
- Go in a community-oriented direction with your app development project; the more focused and specific your app is, the better
- Create a non-profit app, without ads, in-app purchases, subscription plans, or paid upgrades
- Use your app to help a vulnerable group, such as impoverished children, homeless people, or people with disabilities
In the end, remember that today, a government grant is only one of the many funding opportunities you have, alongside crowd-funding, app contests, loans, angel or seed funding, and last but not least, your own earnings and savings. Also, don’t forget that having a solid app project and working with a talented and reliable app developer will increase your chances of securing a government grant. Choose your iOS app developer with care.
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