Grants for Small Businesses

September 20, 2010

Grants for small businesses provide an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to finance the launch of a new company or the expansion of an existing one. The federal government understands the important role that small independently owned business play in the local economy. They can reduce unemployment by providing new job opportunities within a community, give youth valuable work experience as well as increase a city or county’s tax revenue.

Many large corporations also have charitable foundations that offer free grant money for business that benefit and enhance their communities in some way. These grants are available to both new and existing businesses and are typically offered by departments that operate a business in their own state. There are however also cases where a foundation does not require your business to be in the same state that they operate within. Research is the key in finding the right grant opportunities and having a completed business plan is a must for the majority of grant application packages.

Although much useful information exists, caution must be exercised when searching for grant opportunities on the internet in order to avoid “grant finding scams”. It is recommended that you steer clear of companies that guarantee grant funding for your business. No one can promise that your grant application will be approved and there is never a charge for filling out grant application forms. All legitimate agencies and government departments provide free help in filling out their application forms. It is also important to remember that no legitimate granting body will ever contact you personally with offers of free government money for your business.

Many entrepreneurs are intimidated by the process of writing a business plan but remember that if you want your request for free funding to be taken seriously, a professional business plan is essential. There is no need however, to pay a person or company hundreds of dollars to write a business plan. There is a wide selection of websites that offer free templates or step-by-step guides on how to write your own professional business plan. As an entrepreneur, you understand that time is money and making efficient use of your time is important. Finding the right resources can be very time consuming so knowing where to look for the best and most appropriate advice is key.

There is little doubt that you will have to lay out money at some point to help you in the set-up of any new business even before you apply for free corporation or government grants. Make sure that the expenses you must incur will help you access useful links that offer grants for small businesses, show you the types of businesses that are most likely to qualify for grants, give you practical tips for completing grant application packages as well as sources for free professional advice.

There is an enormous pool of money available throughout the United States that is set aside to provide small business grants. While you may need to make use of personal savings, loans from family members or conventional lending institutions at some point, remember to invest time in finding sources of free financing and free advice from professionals that have proven their business success.

Business Grant

September 17, 2010

What is a Small Business Grant?

A small business grant is money that never has to be paid back and is used for the purpose of launching a new business or the expansion of an existing one. There will be very specific criteria that the business owner must adhere to in order to qualify and continue receiving any grant funding.

Who Offers Small Business Grants?

Grants are made available through the federal government, nonprofit corporations and foundations.  Although the federal government does allocate funds for the sole purpose of grant funding, they are typically not the ones to appropriate or administer the grants. They are instead generally filtered through state, local and community agencies.

What can a Small Business Grant be used for?

Each grant opportunity will outline in detail the specific purpose for which the grant is being offered. For this reason, it is very important that your grant application addresses all components of the proposal and shows that you have a clear understanding of the project including how you will achieve the final outcome. If the business grant in question is being offered through the federal government, funding must be used for the purpose of providing a service of some kind that will benefit the community in some way and must have an outcome that is measurable. Federal grant money can not be used for the benefit of a government agency or department through the sale or purchase of property or by the provision of any such services.

Who can apply for a Small Business Grant?

Small business grants are not awarded to individuals but rather to a business in order to aid them in carrying out the primary function of the company. Anyone that owns an existing business or is looking to launch a new business can apply for a business grant. Businesses that are not for profit are often more likely to meet the criteria of such projects. Other popular businesses that tend to find grant opportunities that match their company’s primary purpose are those in the high tech sector, education, research, medicine as well as those that provide a direct service by making available, programs to members of the community that are disadvantaged in some way. There are however many innovative ways that for profit businesses can broaden their scope of eligibility. For example, a for profit art or drama school can easily open a not for profit department that caters to at-risk youth providing after school programs that build self esteem and a safe place to go at the end of the school day.

How does one Apply for a Small Business Grant?

Finding the right grants that match your expertise and business as well as having a completed business plan are the first two things that any business must do. Whether you are applying for government, corporation or foundation grants, an integral part of the application package will be your company’s business plan. All granting bodies will need to know that the money they are investing has a high probability of success. For this reason they need to see that the company is qualified to carry out the project to completion and that they have a definite means to measure the projects final outcome.

Finding grants that are available and match your company’s expertise and skills is generally the most time consuming task for any entrepreneur. The process of writing a business plan will help in narrowing the specific focus of your company and provide a means to alter aspects of the business than can ultimately increase your chances of being eligible for a variety of business grant opportunities.

Business Grants

September 10, 2010

It is a well known fact that small business plays a significant role in driving the economy. With this in mind, all levels of government as well as nonprofit organizations and foundations offer a host of financial aid in the form of venture capital, low interest loans and business grants. The key in securing any type of small business grants is, knowing which agencies offer such opportunities, knowing where to find them and of course the criteria for eligibility.

Many entrepreneurs dream of owning and running their own business with the help of government business grants but are unsure what type of business to launch. Researching the kinds of projects that are more likely to receive business grants and which agencies, foundations and corporations routinely offer grant opportunities is a good place to begin. It is important to assess your own personal skills in order to match your areas of expertise with projects that are available for grant applications.

With a few specific exceptions, the federal government does not directly give grant money to individuals to start a new business or to expand an existing one. These funds are generally filtered down to state, city and county agencies in order to help create jobs and increase their tax base. With so many different organizations offering business grants and other forms of financial aid finding the right one for you or the one that best matches your skills can be difficult and extremely time consuming. There exists an almost endless supply of free professional help, if you know where to look. Topics such as how to write a business plan, avoiding grant scams, how to come up with viable business ideas, etc. are all areas that need to be explored and researched in order to understand which businesses typically qualify for grants and how to apply for them.

Although applying for business grants is always free, understanding the process and knowing where to find the information you need can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. A comprehensive guide that explains why having a professional business plan is essential and how to write one, where to find grant opportunities with state by state links as well as links to free professional advice, templates, online business publications and more can save countless hours of research. Being prepared and knowing what granting agencies are looking for can make the difference between a successful application and one that will not be considered.

In today’s competitive market as well as in the often confusing world of business grants, knowledge is undeniably power. Getting the information you need quickly and efficiently is one of the best ways to work smarter rather than harder in getting what you want and need in order to launch a successful business. Explore all your options, read all you can about small business, talk to people who are successful entrepreneurs. Don’t lose sight of your dreams of being an independent business owner and avail yourself of all possible resources that will help you reach your goal. Stay determined and find out how you too can qualify for your share of free money in the form of business grants.

Grants for Businesses

September 10, 2010

Financing a new business is often the biggest challenge for today’s entrepreneurs. Raising money through family, personal savings and loans from conventional lending institutions is not always possible or in many cases simply not enough to get a business off the ground. The ideal scenario would of course be to acquire money that never had to be paid back. Both the US government and some large private corporations and foundations provide grants for businesses to help with the difficult start-up phase or to expand an existing business. The challenge then becomes knowing where to find these free small business grants, what types of businesses are more likely to receive this free money and what one needs to do in order to qualify for such small grants.

Although the government sets aside large pools of money to aid both new and existing businesses it is important to know that it is not typically through the federal government that these grants are awarded. They are generally filtered through to state, local and community agencies, making them more difficult to find. Equally important to understand is that even if one locates a grant opportunity that matches the business you plan to launch, you will need to have a completed business plan in order to be considered for any grant money. Before awarding any grants, the granting agency wants to be certain that a company has done the proper market research, is qualified to carry out the project to completion and that the investment they are making will have the best possible chance for success.

When looking for grants for small businesses, it is a good idea to understand which types of businesses are more likely to qualify for grants and which government agencies, corporations or foundations typically offer grant opportunities. The most common projects to receive funding are generally those involved in the high tech sector and those involved in research or nonprofit organizations that provide a service to a specific group of people within a community. The granting agency will also want to see that the company they will be investing in has in place a clear method of measuring and reporting on the outcome of the project. Since grants for businesses are meant for specific projects within definable parameters, there will always be criteria that will need to be met. Although it may initially seem like a daunting task to supply a grantor with all that they are requesting, a professional and completed business plan will contain all the information that is needed to apply for any business grant or loan.

Successful entrepreneurs running either small or large companies agree that one of the most important elements of any business is having a business plan which is regularly revised to reflect the company’s growth and changes in the market. Whether you are launching a smaller home-based business or a larger business outside of your home, a professional business plan will greatly increase your chances of success and long term sustainability and is also mandatory if your company wants to be considered for a small business grants or loan. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars to have someone else write a business plan for your company.  There are numerous free resources that offer professional help and templates that will give you step by step instructions on what is needed to complete your own business plan. Remember that no one knows your business as well as you do and with a little free help from the right resources, you too can have a professional business plan that can help open the doors to free money that never has to be paid back in the form of grants for businesses.

Grants for Small Business

September 10, 2010

Grants for small business start-ups or expansion of an existing business are made available by the federal government as well as through various nonprofit corporations and foundations. Although grants for small businesses are often initiated by the federal government, the responsibility for making them available to the public is generally through state, local and county agencies. The science, technology and environment sectors typically have the widest selection of grants for projects that benefit local communities in some way through research  or programs that directly involve a particular group of people in need.

Grants for small business typically fall into one of several categories such as:

  • Health and Medicine
  • Science, Technology and the Environment
  • Community and Social Services
  • The Arts, Humanities and Education

Although there is an abundance of free grant money available for a business start-up or expansion, these opportunities are often not openly publicized, making it difficult for the average small business person to find. Even if one has a specific area of expertise with years of proven experience, it can take hours of research to find the right match for your business. Caution must also be exercised in order to avoid the many grant scams that promise free grant money for a fee. Legitimate government departments and foundations do not charge grant application fees nor can they (or anyone else) guarantee that you will receive a grant. Although every granting agency will have specific criteria that must be met in order to qualify for funding, there are certain steps that will be required for any business grant or low interest loan. Understanding these common elements will make applying easier and will give you a better chance for success. Some of these steps include:

  • Business summary
  • Purpose of grant
  • Project description
  • Budget or financial statement
  • Conclusion

All these elements will need to be included in a business plan and will form an integral part of the application process. It is also recommended that you apply for as many grants that match your business profile as possible which will increase your chance of success. It is important to remember that a business plan should always be considered a work in progress and may need to be altered in order to reflect certain aspects of each individual grant application.

The more grants for small business applications that you complete, the better you will be at knowing how to put together a professional application package. View any rejections you may receive as a valuable learning opportunity. Take the time to find out from the granting agency the reason(s) why your application was not successful and use that information for the next time. All government bodies, corporations and foundations that provide grants for small business will also provide clear instructions in regards to their requirements as well as free help in filling out their application. It is vital that you read and re-read all instructions carefully as incomplete applications are one of the most common reasons for small business grants requests being denied. It is also a good idea to keep track of all agencies that you have applied to in the event that they contact you to clarify certain points in application. Having a copy handy will ensure that you will be able to answer any questions they have quickly and professionally.

Small Business Grant

September 10, 2010

A growing number of people aspire to run their own business in order to give them more control over their financial future. Unfortunately, today’s difficult economy has made it virtually impossible for prospective business owners to find the capitol needed to launch a new company. In many cases, traditional lending institutions are simply not viable solutions for financing the start of a new business. It is however, still possible to realize your dreams of independent business ownership with a small business grants from your local or state government as well as from a number of non-profit corporations and foundations. Although today’s economic climate along with a growing global market can present some challenges, entrepreneurs can also take advantage of the many unique financial opportunities available by being well prepared before opening the doors to any new business.

Research is a major key to success and information and knowledge leads to increased confidence and power. It is important to have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses in order to make an informed choice about what type of business is best suited for you. Researching what types of companies are more likely to receive a small business grants is a good place to begin but remember that in order to be successful; you must enjoy working at whatever you decide to do. There are a number of other key components that must be taken into consideration during this phase of planning, some of which are:

  • Choosing the right business structure for your company
  • Types of funding that are available, including a small business grant
  • What is a business plan and why you need one
  • How to recognize and avoid grant scams

Although at the outset it may seem like a lot of work gathering all the information you need, remember that the better prepared you are the better your chances of owning a business that will be sustainable and profitable for years to come. There is no need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars hiring professionals to help you with such things as putting together a business plan or help in applying for a small business grant. There is a vast amount of free information and professional advice if you know where to look for it. All granting agencies and government departments that offer small business grants also provide help in filling out their application forms free of charge. If you have done your research and have a completed business plan, filling out an application and putting together a small business grant application package can be relatively easy.

It is extremely important to spend your time during this preparation phase wisely by talking to other successful entrepreneurs, reading business magazines, taking free information classes in person or on the net, etc. A lot of time can also be saved by knowing exactly where to find links that relate to the type of business you are launching and which resources are appropriate for you. Keeping all your research findings organized in a binder of some sort will make it easier to refer back to links and ideas you may need in the future. Following these tips will help you work smarter instead of harder, which is valuable lesson that will help you greatly throughout the initial preparation phase as well as throughout your career as an entrepreneur.

Grants for Business

September 10, 2010

Grants for a new business start-up are often overlooked by many people who are trying to finance a new enterprise. There are a couple of main reasons for this; the first being that they are either not aware free money is available or they just don’t know where to find reliable grant resources. The second most common reason is the process of qualifying and applying can seem overwhelming and intimidating.

It is true that trying to find the right grant opportunity that matches your skills and business can take hours and hours of research. Most entrepreneurs begin by looking to the federal government for free money to launch their business. The truth is that although grant funding is generally initiated by the federal government, it is through state, local and community agencies that this money is made available to the public. There are also a number of large nonprofit corporations and foundations that offer grants for specific projects. The areas that tend to be more popular in terms of grants to start a business are those in research and development, the technology sector, medicine, education and programs that directly benefit a particular community group that is in some way disadvantaged.

If you are thinking about starting a new business but have not yet decided which direction to go in or have several areas of expertise that you are passionate about, it is advisable to research where your best chances for receiving free grant money are. Take the time to speak with other successful business owners as most are only too happy to give you valuable insight into how they started out. Read trade magazines and the business section of your newspaper, either in hard copy or online. There is an abundance of free professional advice for the asking; if you know where to look.

Once you have found one or more small business grants start-up opportunities, it is easy to become discouraged by the application process and the amount of information they require from you. Before you apply for any free grant money, it is imperative that you have a completed business plan as most agencies will include this as an integral part of the application package. It is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on this phase as once again, there are many resources that offer free expert help in putting together a professional business plan including templates that you can use for your own business.

The same process applies to existing business owners who wish to expand their company and are looking for grant opportunities. Nonprofit entities tend to have more choices when it comes to finding the right grant offers. Even if your business is for-profit, adding a related nonprofit department can be a relatively easy one. A grant for business expansion is an ideal way to grow your company without having to exhaust your own personal finances.

In all areas of starting a business and applying for grants for small business start up or expansion should begin with research. Since time is a valuable commodity, it is important to narrow your focus by knowing where to look in order to find information that you can understand and make direct use of. Remember that the more information you have the better your chances of launching a successful business and finding grant opportunities that match your business and your skills.

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