If you are considered a felon, you may be familiar to hearing that the opportunities other people have access to are simply not available for you, but when it comes to grants for felons, things become quite different. A study by the Bureau of Justice a few years ago reported just 12.5% of employers are willing to consider job applications from people who have been convicted of a crime. Here in this article we will be going through to 13 Best Business Grants And Resources For Felons.

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Depending on the nature of your felony, you would be disqualified from holding certain reputed positions that involve handling money or working with children.

For many felons looking to start over, the solution is to start a business. Therefore, to help you further, we, at PlanGrip, have found some useful resources that can help you in your quest to start over fresh and become financially self-dependent.

Grants Defined

Grant is a popular financial assistance system from federal government, given to private or public organisations, to help them carry out a specific task. In other words, it is a form of loan or cash which is not needed to be repaid back to lenders, depending on the situation.

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Who Could Benefit From a Grant?

While the federal government is the predominant provider of grants to public and private organizations, states also have grants that they can offer to their residents. Anyone or organisation that operates within the specific boundaries of either the state or a particular country could benefit from a grant. And grants are offered to researchers, college graduates, professors, small businesses, non-profit organisations and individual citizens who are seeking to start their own small business.

These grants provide this wide range of people an opportunity to build their organisation up, gather enough information through research, or develop prototype products, services, or other items that may benefit someone else.

There are particular grants that are set aside for people of certain ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, gender and much more. There are also government grants for farms, energy companies and much more.

All About Grants for Convicted Felons

When you are talking about getting money from the federal government, it would seem as though grants for convicted felons would not be provided. And many felony convictions the majority of states result in the loss of certain civil rights. The most common civil right that a person loses when they are guilty of a felony is the right to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment. Around 14 states revoke the right to vote for felons. 28 states make it so that a guilty felon can no longer serve in public office.

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After having a felony conviction on  record guilty also struggles to find employment or job opportunities that many within the general population have easy access to. There are many different companies that will not even consider an applicant who has a felony record.

There are no laws that pressurize companies to hire anyone with a felony conviction on the record, though that can be changed in the future. And convicted felons would also be able find adequate housing, often because apartment management companies and independent landlords do not want to have any issues with their renters and a person with a felony conviction.

As a result, many ex-convicts do not even consider the possibility of pursuing a grant for any reason.

Benefit of Federal Grants for Felons

There are many advantages that an ex-convict can take, just as anyone else, when it comes to grants. One of the most significant is to be able to start their own business. And they have an opportunity to gain an education, learn valuable skills and even pursue certain entrepreneurial endeavors while they are serving their sentence.

They can also have an idea that could benefit their community, society as a whole, or a particular target market with regard to a product or service they may offer. Getting a business off the ground may attain a significant and sufficient amount of money, especially if it is considered a brick-and-mortar business.

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A brick-and-mortar business is one wherein the owner will need a physical presence, or store or office building, where customers, clients and/or employees would come. For an online-only business, developing a website and getting marketing established can cost huge amount of dollars, at a minimum. That can be prohibited to many ex-convicts who may not have any real income once they are released get out from prison.

Getting a small business loan or a grant through either a state or federal government is possible and easy, even for ex-felons. It can be much more difficult for an ex-felon to be granted financial assistance through one of these grants, but it is not impossible. There are many factors that are considered for determining eligibility for a grant.

Important Things To Consider When Applying For A Grant

The most significant thing for an ex-felon when applying for a grant is to establish the fact that he or she has completely turned their life around. And people who review applications for various grants want to see somebody being responsible and that the financial assistance will go toward what it is intended for in the first place.

Another important factor is a solid business plan. A business plan essentially lays out the foundation for the business, including its goals, projected earnings, growth in the future, target market and more. The more information and details a business plan has, the easy it is for a person to potentially get grant money.

13 Best Business Grants and Resources for Felons

Here are the some of the best business grants and essential resources for felons that can provide them an opportunity to become self-dependent.

1. Your Correctional Facility

If you are currently incarcerated, take advantage of any resources that exist inside the prison system before your release. Many correctional facilities have programs that help inmates gain job skills that can also be useful in starting (and running) a small business. For example, you might be able to learn how to use Microsoft Office or take a culinary arts course.

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2. Your Community

Programs designed specifically to assist felons start businesses tend to be small and locally based. The following resources will be helping you finding out if any programs exist near you:

  • Your state government website/offices
  • County government website/offices
  • City government website/offices
  • Local churches, temples, or other religious organisations
  • State and local economic development agencies/organisations

This is an ideal place to initiate when looking for business grants for felons.

3. HelpForFelons.org

This website focuses on general re-entry into society, not on starting a business. However, it provides a wide range of methods to assist you with everything from legal information to getting education loans.

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4. Inmates to Entrepreneurs

This non-profit community outreach group, get funding by Sageworks, assist former inmates get the information needed to start over, start their own businesses and become productive participants in society.

Resources include online videos and information. You might even be near a local chapter and be able to attend in-person meetings or educational seminars.

5. Federal Education Loans and Business Grants for Felons

What if you want to learn accounting, graphic design, how to be an HVAC technician, or another skill that could be the foundation of a business but you would have to go back to school for training, certification, or a degree? You might be able to get a federal Pell Grant or federal student loan to finance going back to school.

Being a felon does not disqualify you – financial need is the main criterion.

6. Grants.gov

You can use this website to search for federal government grants you are eligible for. Be warned, you are not likely to find specific business grants for felons. Instead, search for grants for your type of business idea, your nationality, your heritage, or other characteristics.

Also, know there are far more grants for non-profits than for-profit businesses, so you may want to consider starting a non-profit.

7. SBA Microloans

In general, it is very difficult to get an SBA loan for starting a business. Your best chances lie with the SBA’s Microloan program, which focuses on loans under $50,000 – its average loan is about $13,000. The SBA does not directly lend loans; it works with approved lenders and guarantees a portion of the loan.

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8. Freelancer Marketplaces

Starting a low-investment business from home can be a smart move. You will have no worries about credit checks or signing leases. If you have the skills, consider starting a business like graphic design, freelance writing, website design, or marketing communications that lets you work with clients remotely.

Upwork, Freelancer and Guru are three of the well-known marketplaces that match independent contractors or freelancers with clients. The websites serve as intermediaries and handle payments, so you can feel confident working with customers across the country or around the world.

9. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Unfortunately, many con artists prey on desperate people who look and search for easy ways to make money from home and be their own boss. The internet is crawling with promises about making money from telemarketing, stuffing envelopes or doing medical billing from home.

Before you sign any contracts or send any money to one of these operations, be sure to visit the FTC website and read their advice on spotting scams. And keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

10. GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a personal popular financing site that has assisted individuals raise over $3 billion. Just create a campaign and share it on social media. Because the site acts as the go-between, donors feel confident giving money. Most people use GoFundMe to finance things like education, medical expenses, or charitable donations. But, if you can create a convincing case for why people should finance your start-up. This could be the perfect solution to getting the financing you require.

11. IndieGoGo

This crowd-funding website can help you get financing to bring new product ideas or inventions to life. The site offers support from experts in all aspects of launching and managing your crowdfunding campaign and can also connect you with design, prototyping and retail partners to help take your product to market.

12. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

The Association of Small Business Development Centers is a nationwide, non-profit network that provides assistance to business owners. And people who want to start businesses. In most cases, SBDCs are associated with local colleges and universities. SBDCs provide free advice and counselling from business experts such as attorneys, accountants and marketing professionals. They also host networking events, seminars and webinars to help people start and grow small businesses.


With more than 300 chapters nationwide, SCORE has been helping people start and grow businesses for more than 50 years. Professionals, entrepreneurs and former business owners serve as SCORE mentors, giving start-ups and business owners free consulting and advice.

The site offers a wide range of resources, including online courses, templates, articles, webinars and much more

Bottom Line

If you are a felon looking to start over after paying your debt to society. Consider getting small business grants for felons. Although it is not easy, there are resources to tap into. Hopefully, this article can help you with the best business grants and resources for felons.

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