Grants for Businesses

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.

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