SBA Announces $3 million grant to bolster small business cybersecurity

Serine Alejandro

Updated: January 30, 2022

 

Key Takeaways

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) aims to secure the growth of emerging small businesses by offering a $3 million grant, allowing qualified applicants to provide training, counseling, and other remediation for small business owners.
  • On top of the grant, the SBA is also actively offering cybersecurity trainings and seminars for small businesses, free of charge.
  • In an SBA survey, 88% of small business owners were found to lack confidence about their security. Despite knowing their company wouldn’t stand the chance against cyber threats, these emerging companies can’t act on it due to lack of funds and time to manage it.

To curb the looming threats of a cyber-attack, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced $3 million in new funding for state governments to help small businesses build and develop their cybersecurity defenses.

This initiative is part of the Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program under the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. According to Isabella Casillas Guzman, the SBA head, state governments are now “eligible to compete for grants that will help deliver cybersecurity assistance to nascent and startup business owners.”

“We must do more to help small businesses combat cybersecurity threats, which continue to increase, evolve and inhibit,” said Mark Madrid, SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. “The pilot program will empower state governments to expand existing services, innovate, adapt to current environments, develop new resources, and scale solutions to assist more small businesses.” 

Madrid emphasized: “Additionally, expanding access to underserved and underrepresented small business ecosystems will be a critical marker of success.”

According to a survey released by the SBA, 88% of small business owners felt their company was vulnerable to a cyber attack. While this is the case, they can’t do anything about it because they don’t 1) have the financial capability to equip their business with IT solutions; 2) have time to devote to cybersecurity, or 3) don’t know where to begin.

In that regard, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 authorized the SBA to provide grants to States and its equivalents to “carry out projects that help new small business concerns with tools to combat cybersecurity threats during their formative and most vulnerable years.”

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have adopted technology at high rates to survive, operate, and grow their businesses. As a result, cybersecurity has become increasingly important as now, more than ever before, small business owners face cyber risks and challenges that could disrupt their operations and competitive advantages,” Guzman said.

If you are a small business owner and you think you will benefit from the SBA’s cybersecurity grant, we’ll outline everything we know so far. Note that the information in this article is still subject to change without prior notice, given that the Pilot Program was just announced.

Who are Eligible to Apply for the Cybersecurity Grant?

Eligible applicants consist of state governments that seek to provide cybersecurity training, counseling, remediation, and other services related to cybersecurity services for new or emerging startups and small businesses.

When will The SBA Start Accepting Applications for the Cybersecurity Fund?

Applications for the SBA Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program will be accepted from January 26 to March 3, 2022.

What is the Maximum Award Given to Eligible Applicants?

The award ceiling for the SBA Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program is $1,000,000. The estimated total funding for the Program is $3,000,000.

How To Inquire About SBA Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program

Interested applicants may reach the SBA’s phone number at 1-900-518-4726 or visit Grants.gov for more details. You may also send an email to [email protected] for any concerns or clarifications.

Does the SBA Offer Any Cybersecurity Training?

Yes. The SBA is actively launching free cybersecurity trainings and seminars that small business owners and their employees can attend. The SBA invites some of the most recognized cybersecurity and IT experts so you can stay up-to-date on the latest security trends, issues, and solutions.

Need Funds to Protect Your Business ASAP?

Given that the Cybersecurity for Small Business Program is still in its early stage, you may already seek funding to strengthen your cyber defense or build your security infrastructure. You may reach out to your lender to know the best small business loans you can get to fund your cybersecurity.

To give you an idea, you can seek for a business line of credit to make sure you have sufficient funds to cover an loophole in your IT, pay for an outsourced cybersecurity professional to inspect your network, or upgrade old systems.

Building stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem

Guzman elaborated that the SBA aims to help small businesses “build a stronger and more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, [the organization] must innovate and provide resources to meet the evolving needs of the growing number of small businesses”

“With this new funding opportunity, the SBA intends on leveraging the strengths across our state governments, territories, and tribal governments to provide services to help small businesses get cyber ready and, in the process, fortify our nation’s supply chains,” Guzman said.

For more information about the SBA Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program, please visit the website at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html

Serine Alejandro
Serine is a graduate of Journalism from one of the most prestigious universities. She has broad experience in public relations and marketing communications for the lifestyle, travel, tech, and banking industries. She is now a co-owner of a growing condiments business, a manager of her family’s pharmacy, and a full-time writer for SMB Compass.

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