Small Business Grants from the US Government
As it the case with any new business, capital is a necessity in order to not only launch a new business, but grow it. And many entrepreneurs are tethered to a job they dislike because they can not find the capital needed to start their new enterprise. There are, however, small business grants available that you can apply for and possibly receive. State, federal and private foundations offer small business grants, however, the competition is fierce.
The solution for many small business startups – grants!
The solution to the funding quandary is grants for small businesses. The advantage of a grant for a small business is that they are exempt from taxes and are interest-free. Believe it or not—there are sources of money available to business owners that equate to a free lump sum of money that you can use for start up costs.
Sources of grants for business owners
First of all, there are two main sources of grants for small business owners:
- state and federal governments
- private foundations
Yes, the government and private equity firms are interested in growing your business. They want you to succeed!
Finding small business grants
Finding a small business grant can be difficult. Start your search at like BusinessUSA or Grants.gov. Most grants are very specific to the industry of which they serve. There are thousands of small business grants available, but finding the perfect grant that fits your business in your industry is time consuming.
Grants are offered by:
- Corporate categories
- Some grants specify that the grant is only available to business owned by women, minorities, and veterans.
Extensive information about government grants are available online at www.grants.gov, which is the Federal government’s web site. This federal website is maintained in order to provide information pertinent to individuals who are looking to find and apply for federal grants.
Once you choose a grant to apply for, make sure you follow the instructions for the grant proposal to the letter. Respect all guidelines and deadlines. Go to your state’s web site to discover what state government grants might be available.
Private Foundation Grants
Private foundation grants are an excellent source of funding for small businesses. You might ask yourself…. why would a company offer to “give” away money? The truth is that many foundations NEED to donate money to charity for tax reasons. These foundations set up trusts or endowments for specific charities or new businesses through grants.
Finding a private foundation grant is not as easy as finding a government grant. Therefore, you might consider hiring someone to help you with the grant process, such as a consultant.
If you choose to outsource the grant process, be sure to hire someone that is experienced and familiar with the grant process. A consultant can complete the research and find a comparable grant for your business. This can save you a great deal of time. And more importantly, you need to find someone that is familiar with the grant process in YOUR industry. This can be a significant obstacle for some companies.
If you are not prepared to write the grant proposal yourself, you can take a class to learn more. Do some research at Google.It can be done and grants have been obtained by business owners who have no previous experience in obtaining grants.
Grant consultants offer the following services:
- training for the do-it-yourself type
- research and find grant opportunities
- writing highly competitive grant proposals
- participating in debriefs with the foundations on rejected proposals
- help clients build long-term relationships with foundations following successful proposal
Writing a Grant Application
The grant application process is extensive and the competition fierce. Of course, you will want to make sure your application stands out. So, when writing or preparing to write your proposal, you will need to keep in mind that the goals for grants are to not only help business owners, but also help society. Keep this in mind when writing your application.
How will your business help society? Is your business tied into the interests of the organization which offers the grant? How can you show the sponsor of the grant that your business will be a good investment for the country? If a small business or nonprofit benefits all of society, their chances of receiving a grant are higher. For example, a research and development businesses can benefit society and therefore, more likely to have their grant application accepted.
Free Software for grant application writing and grant management
- Fluxx Grant Management (free)
Affordable Software for grant writing and grant management
- Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Grants Management
- Award Force for Grants Starter
Website Hosting for Business
Most of all, start with a website hosting account to setup your website and business email. Don’t rush into the grant application process before you have a website established. Furthermore, keep in mind, that just because you THINK you have a good idea, that it is. Bounce your choice off of friends and family. Do they “get it?” Do they understand why you chose it? If so, it’s probably a good choice for a company. However, if your choice of a web host doesn’t resonate with your confidant, then maybe you should keep working on your comparison of web hosts before making your selection. Your application process will require a URL and a professional web presence, so you need this step done prior to submitting your application for a small business grant.
Prior to writing your proposal
Before you do anything – before you develop a business model, a revenue model, a purpose of the company, before you establish your brand’s core values and develop a tag line for the company, think long and hard about the best website for your new business enterprise.