Top Small-Business Grants in Colorado

State, local and federal grants are an option for Colorado small businesses that are seeking funding for expansion, working capital and other purposes.
Lisa Anthony
By Lisa Anthony 
Edited by Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

MORE LIKE THISSmall Business

Colorado small businesses may be able to access funding through business grants. This “free money” doesn’t need to be repaid, but it does require some work and time away from your daily business activities. And while some grants are exclusively available to Colorado small businesses through local and state government agencies, you can broaden your search to include national grants open to businesses across the U.S.

Here are some small-business grants available to Colorado businesses and a few tips on how to manage the grant process.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Colorado-specific small-business grants

There are small-business grants, both local and statewide, that are available specifically to Colorado small businesses.

BMO Celebrating Women Grant

Business owners in 24 states, including Colorado, may be eligible for this grant program, which is a collaboration between BMO and Deloitte. Your business must be at least 51% women-owned in order to apply. Fifteen businesses will be awarded $10,000 grants via this program. Applications are open until May 14, 2024.

Office of Economic Development and International Trade grants

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade offers a broad range of grants and funding opportunities. The following may be of special interest to small-business owners:

  • Advanced Industries Export Grant (awards up to $15,000).

  • State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant (awards up to $10,000).

  • Community Business Preservation Program (awards up to $50,000).

  • Skill Advance Colorado Job Training Grant (award amounts not disclosed).

  • Advanced Industries Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant (awards up to $250,000).

  • Innovative Housing Incentive Program (awards up to $350,000).

Customized job training grants

Contingent on available funding, the customized job training grants could be a good place for Colorado-based entrepreneurs to look for funding. These grants, provided jointly through the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), come in two varieties.

  • Colorado First provides funds for businesses that are relocating to or expanding in Colorado to train new hires.

  • Existing Industry provides funds to established Colorado businesses to help them remain competitive within their industry, adapt to new technology and prevent layoffs.

Small Food Business Recovery & Resilience Grant

The Colorado Department of Agriculture offers grants to support small food retailers and small family farms with the goals of lowering the cost of healthy food and increasing access to it throughout the state. The Small Food Business Recovery & Resilience Grant offers awards up to $50,000 per business per year There will be three grant rounds during this final year of the program. Funds can be used for eligible equipment, point-of-sale machines, operating expenses and accounting and bookkeeping support.

First Southwest Community Fund Grants

Through a partnership between First Southwest Community Fund and Colorado Startup Loan Fund, grants of up to $15,000 are being offered to small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. These grants are designed to support underserved businesses located in rural Colorado and can be used for operating expenses, business planning, human resources and other business purposes.

Colorado Springs Grants

A number of small-business grants are offered through the nonprofit Downtown Development Authority located in Colorado Springs. Small businesses located in the downtown area of the city may be interested in the following grants:

  • Building Enhancement Grants (awards from $10,000 to $50,000).

  • Retail Incentive Grants (awards from $10,000 to $50,000).

  • Tree Canopy Grants (awards from $2,000 to $12,000).

The Denver Foundation grants

The Denver Foundation (TDF), a Colorado-based nonprofit organization, focuses on the seven-county Denver metropolitan region. It offers several grants, generally focused on reducing racial, ethnic and economic disparities. Grant awards typically range from $20,000 to $50,000. Nonprofits located in the Metro Denver region with a 501(c)(3) designation can apply with grants cycles in the spring and fall of each year.

National grant programs open to Colorado businesses

Although they may not be specific to Colorado-based entrepreneurs, the following grant programs are open to businesses located throughout the U.S.

If you’re interested in federal grants,, is a great place to find and apply for grants. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages the website, but grant opportunities for all types of federal agencies can be found including those for the Department of Agriculture, Agency for International Development, Department of Energy and Department of the Interior.

National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

The nonprofit National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers Growth Grants in amounts up to $4,000 to small businesses. Grant funds can be used for specific business needs, such as expanding facilities, hiring employees, advertising and marketing. NASE requires that you be a member of the organization and provide detailed information about need for funding, use of proceeds and impact on your business growth. Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis.

America’s Seed Fund

America's Seed Fund is coordinated by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is funded through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Grants that range from $50,000 to $1.8 million are designed to support small-business innovation and technology. The grant process is lengthy and takes a business from proof of concept through technology development to the final phase of commercialization.

WomensNet Grants

For women business owners, the WomensNet awards offer a number of grant awards throughout the year. Amber Grants, Startup Grants and Business Category Grants in the amounts of $10,000 are awarded monthly along with annual awards of $25,000. These grants are available to both U.S. and Canadian businesses that are at least 50% women-owned. A single application will allow you to be considered for all three grants.

Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs

Managed through the SBA, the Program for Investors in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME) offers funding for organizations, including nonprofits and Tribal Governments, that provide assistance to disadvantaged microentrepreneurs. This includes access to capital, training and technical assistance.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

If you have fewer than 99 employees and use FedEx for shipping, you may be interested in its corporate grants program which gives out cash awards and prizes annually. In 2024, 10 winners will be selected with one grand prize winner receiving a $50,000 grant and the others receiving $20,000 each. Applications will be accepted from March 1 - April 1, 2024. To be eligible you’ll need to have an active FedEx business shipping account that’s been open for a minimum of six months.

Bluevine - Line of credit
OnDeck - Online term loan
Funding Circle - Online term loan
NerdWallet rating 


NerdWallet rating 


NerdWallet rating 



Est. APR 


Est. APR 


Est. APR 


Min. credit score 


Min. credit score 


Min. credit score 


How to find the right Colorado small-business grant for you

Here are some actions you can take to help manage the grant application process.

Narrow your search

Grants are often tied to a specific group, mission or industry. Look for grants that are relevant to your business or that relate to what’s unique about you or your operation. For instance, a search could be narrowed by looking for small-business grants for veterans, grants for Black women, grants for people previously convicted of felonies or technology grants for small businesses.

Also, focusing on grants that you’re well-qualified for can help you during the evaluating process.

Manage your time to meet deadlines

The grant process takes time, especially your first application. Although you're likely to become more efficient with each application, you’ll still need to devote time and energy to the process while not neglecting your day-to-day business operations.

It can be helpful to determine how much time you can realistically spend on grant-related activities — whether daily, weekly or monthly — and schedule that time on your calendar. Paying careful attention to application deadlines, can allow you to avoid missing them or wasting time on grants with submission deadlines that aren’t feasible.

Understand your eligibility

Many Colorado small-business grants have specific requirements for eligibility. Depending on the grants, requirements could be based on factors such as the following:

  • Location of business.

  • Number of employees.

  • Characteristics of the owner (gender, race, ethnicity, etc.).

  • Industry in which the business operates (farming, manufacturing, biotech, etc.).

  • For-profit or nonprofit business.

  • How the money will be used.

  • Business goals and mission.

  • Projected number of jobs created with funding.

  • Size of the project.

  • Who the business serves.

You’ll want to make sure you meet grant requirements before you apply. Also, the more relevant a grant is to what your business is doing, the more likely you’ll be in serious contention to win.

Be realistic about the process

Grants are competitive and winning a grant is not a given.

Providing a persuasive argument for funding can be a major part of the grant application process. Talking with a trusted mentor or using the free business consultants at your local Colorado Small Business Development Center or SCORE office, may be helpful in creating a needs statement and explaining how the funds could benefit your business, customers and surrounding community.

Also, be realistic about your chances of winning a grant. Because of the strong competition for grants, you may want to also look at small-business loan programs, such as SBA loans and traditional bank loans. Having an alternative plan is advisable, especially when you need money quickly for your business or if it’s vital to expanding operations.

Finally, understand that if a grant sounds too good to be true, it likely is. You’ll want to thoroughly research any grant program, especially if it’s being promoted through an unsolicited email or ad and requires a fee.

Looking for a business loan?

See our overall favorites, or narrow it down by category to find the best options for you.

on NerdWallet's secure site

One blue credit card on a flat surface with coins on both sides.
Smart money moves for your businessGet access to business insights and recommendations, plus expert content.
Sign up for free