Grants for Starting a Business

November 30, 2010

How do government grants for starting a business work and who can apply for one?

Government grants are available in every state and as long as certain guidelines are met, anyone can apply. Grants are designed to enhance or improve the lives of individuals or certain underprivileged groups within our communities. People that belong to a minority, research and development projects, innovative technologies, advancements in the medical or education fields as well as programs for the disabled generally have more grant opportunities available to them. It is also advantageous to be a nonprofit business when looking for government grants.

Government small business grants are never meant to be used in a way that would benefit a government department or agency in any way. Their purpose is to encourage the growth of small business and to provide a needed service or research project in a particular neighborhood, community or state. Each grant proposal will outline a specific problem that the government has identified along with an intended outcome.

Whether you are looking to start a new business or expand an existing one, the first and most important thing to do is to develop a business plan. This will focus the purpose of the business and will enable you to determine what is needed in the way of expertise and funding. Understanding the kind and amount of funding you will need is crucial as each grant proposal will specify the amount of funds to be awarded. Most new businesses require more than once funding source and this information will need to be clearly outlined in your business plan. Even if you have never written a business plan, there is no need to pay hundreds of dollars to have one completed as there is an abundance of free professional help including user-friendly templates on the internet that one can follow.

In the beginning, the world of grants may seem extremely confusing and impossible to find ones that fit into your own business category. This is largely due to the fact that although grants for starting a business is a federal government initiative, the responsibility of dispersal and administration is filtered down to state and local government departments and agencies. The key to focusing your search lies in knowing were to look for grants and understanding how to zone in on the ones that are relevant to your business.

Often once people have spent some time in researching grant opportunities, they realize that they would fare better if they were to receive some additional training. The government does make training grants for starting a business available, especially if an individual is a member of a minority group.

The task of finding small business grants for starting a business will always involve a commitment of time however; the result when you are successful is money for your business that never has to be paid back. Stay focused and be persistent by applying for as many grants as you are eligible for. It is also very important to view any rejections you may receive as opportunities to strengthen your next application. Be sure to find out from the granting agency the reasons your submission was rejected and learn from the experience.

Small Business Start up Grants

November 26, 2010

Small business start up grants are not many but still available.  Imagine being able to get free money from the government through grants for small business start up! It takes some work, lots of research and of course patience but it can be done. The federal government wants small businesses to flourish; it’s good for the economy at both the state and local levels. With this in mind, large sums of money are allocated annually to promoting the start-up and expansion of small businesses throughout every state. Along with the enormous, positive impact it has on tax revenues, small business start-up grants are designed to enhance the lives of underprivileged groups within our communities.

Whether you are in the planning stages of a new business or are looking to expand an existing small company, Small Business Start up Grants are an excellent resource that merits investigation. The problem that most entrepreneurs have is firstly, finding government grant opportunities and then matching ones that fit their particular business. The difficulty generally stems from the fact that although these grants for small business start up begin with the federal government, they are filtered down to state and local government agencies for administration and dispersal.

These start up grants are often hidden through layers of departments and categories on government websites. Knowing, where to find grants and how to focus on the specific grants that pertain to your business will save you hours of research. Avail yourself of all the free professional advice you can, read trade magazines and talk to other entrepreneurs who have been through the process. One of the most crucial factors will be to have a completed business plan, as virtually all granting agencies will require one to be included with your grant application package. If you have never written a business plan before, there is plenty of free help including easy-to-use templates that will walk you through each step.

It is true that many people are not successful on their first try but do not let that dissuade you. There are countless reasons why your application may have been rejected. Contact the review board either personally or through e-mail and find out why your application was not successful. Use this information to better prepare yourself for subsequent applications. Hundred of proposals never make it past the first reading for minor errors or omissions. Make sure you read and re-read the application and all its instructions. Some of the most common reasons for Small Business Start up Grants applications to be rejected are:

  • Grammatical and spelling errors – although this may seem petty, your grant application package is the reviewers first impression of you. Spelling and grammatical errors will show a lack of attention to detail which may make the person reviewing it feel that this is how you will conduct your business as well.
  • Blank spaces – Make sure to answer every question on the application. If something clearly does not apply to you simply put an N/A in the space but don’t leave it blank.
  • Follow their requests exactly – Many grant proposals will ask for a summary. If the application requests a one page handwritten summary make sure that is exactly how you submit it. A typewritten one, no matter how good it is, will cause your application to be automatically rejected.
  • Check submission deadlines – Always make sure you give yourself plenty of time to gather all the information you will need in order to submit the application package prior to the posted deadline. If the grantor requests a post mark of say the 23 of a month, any applications received after that will not be considered.

Remember that this is not a quick process so it is important to use your time wisely and as efficiently as possible. It is always better to ask questions if you are uncertain about something than to submit an incomplete application. Small Business Start up Grants listing is available in our business funding section.

Business Start up Grants

November 24, 2010

Business start up grants from the government are so often overlooked, yet they can provide an exceptional opportunity for individuals without their own financial means to become private business owners. There are countless people all around us who have unique skills to offer with programs and technological, educational and other advances that could greatly benefit all members of their community. Even though the federal government sets aside millions of dollars each year to promote small business start-ups and expansions most people are not aware they exist or simply assume that they would never be eligible to apply for one.

If you are in the planning stages and still uncertain what type of business would be best suited to your talents, there are few things you can do to help make the process easier. Begin by understanding your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. There is no point in getting into a business that involves work that you do not believe in, have no passion for or lack the specific skills required to perform the job. Understanding the field that is best suited for you helps you find what kinds of grants are being offered in those areas. It makes sense to get involved in a business that presents many opportunities for a number of grants for small business start up or other forms of financial aid from the government. It should quickly become evident that government aid is designed to support businesses, programs and research and development projects that have some sort of measurable benefit to people within a certain community or a particular disadvantaged group. So if your dream is to open a local bakery, you might consider including a separate nonprofit department that offers say, after school baking classes to at risk youth within your neighborhood. Although you will have to find the financing for the core bakery, you would certainly be eligible to apply for a grant to open the after-school portion of the business.

Once you have a specific business in mind, it is time to create a business plan. This will be one of the most important steps you will need to complete as virtually all grant proposals will require you to include one in your grant application package. Be prepared to modify your business plan so that it fits into the goals, objectives and outcomes presented in the grant offer. All grants for small business start up will have their own well defined parameters that must be addressed. It is imperative that the application form be filled out in its entirety and that no spaces are left blank. If a particular question clearly does not apply to you, it is alright to mark an N/A in the space. Also make sure that you have plenty of time to gather all the information you need and submit your application before the deadline date posted by the granting agency. Hundreds of grant applications are routinely rejected due what applicants thought to be minor issues or omissions.

Be prepared to spend enough time to research the market, complete a business plan and apply for as many business start-up grants as you qualify for. Understanding which government agencies typically offer grant opportunities and how to find grants that fit into you area of expertise will help you make the best possible use of your time.

Grants to Start a Business

November 22, 2010

Small business plays a major role in the American economy both at the state and local levels. The federal government understands this contribution and has put in place a variety of grants and other forms of financial aid to help individuals start new businesses or expand existing ones. It is important to research all types of funds as government grants to start a business is generally just one component of the financing needed for new business start-ups and expansions.

The biggest obstacle individuals’ encounter is in knowing where to look for grants and then finding the ones that relate to their specific type of business. This is largely due to the fact that although these funding opportunities originate at the federal level they are then filtered down to state and local government departments and nonprofit corporations. The posting and administration of grants, low interest loans and other financial aid is the responsibility of each granting organization. Although all grants are open to the general public they are not well advertised and locating them often requires searching through pages and pages of proposals that are simply not relevant for the particular business one has in mind.

In most cases grants are created to fill a need within a community and are designed to provide a measurable benefit to a particular underprivileged group. Nonprofit businesses, research and development projects and certain areas of technological advancements tend to have more grant opportunities available to them. For those that plan to start or expand a for-profit company there are innovative ways in which an owner can attach a nonprofit department to their business resulting in more grant funding possibilities.

The first crucial step that all entrepreneurs must take is to have a completed, professional business plan.  At the outset this may seem like a daunting task and many people are lured into paying hundreds of dollars to have one written for them. There is plenty of free advice including easy-to-use templates allowing anyone to create their own business plan. Remember that no one knows your business as well as you do and with some free guidance you too can accomplish this task quite easily. Having a business plan will give you a better understanding of your business and will show you exactly what you need in the way of financing. Another reason that a business plan is essential is because virtually all grant proposals require it as part of their grant application package. It will also help focus your search for grant funding and can save hours of looking through pages of grants that you do not qualify for.

If you happen to belong to a minority group, there are many government funding opportunities specifically designed to help minority businesses. In some cases it is even possible to apply for grants that allow you to take courses that will give you any skills that you need to help you start your own business.

No matter what type of funding you are looking for, it will require a commitment of you time to research all the possibilities. It is therefore important that you learn to use this time in the most efficient manner possible. Planning ahead and having a completed business plan can open doors to grant opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. It is also important to always be cautious in your search and learn how to avoid the many grant scams that you will inevitably come across. Keep in mind that no legitimate granting agency can guarantee you will be awarded government grants to start a business and there is never a fee associated with filling out a grant application. Also remember that no government or other granting agency will ever contact you personally with offers of free money for your business.

Grants for Starting a Small Business

November 18, 2010

Being awarded one of the many government grants for starting a small business that are available throughout the United States can be a pivotal point for any entrepreneur. In most cases however, it should not be the only source of funding being sought by someone looking to start or expand a small company. Another possible source of funding can come from low interest small business grants that are again funded by the federal government and dispersed through various organizations. Although government grants are initiated at the federal level, they are dispersed to various state and local departments as well as to large nonprofit corporations. Numerous grants are also made available by many charitable foundations which post specific project proposals on their websites.

In many cases, those offering grant opportunities want to see that a company applying for a free grant has made provisions to continue their work even after the grant period has expired. Since a number of grants provide funding for a specific and time limited project, the applicant must show both its past and present successes as well as its long term sustainability. The world of grants can seem like a maze and often takes you in directions that do not pertain to your area of expertise. For this reason having a definite set of parameters for your existing or proposed business will help you focus your search within the specific grant categories that apply to you.

Completing a business plan is one of the best ways to understand exactly what your business needs are and should be one of the first steps you take before applying for any grants for small business. Most grant proposals will include sub categories that offer other grant opportunities of a similar nature. It is recommended that you apply for all grants that pertain to your business. However, it is important to review each one separately and have a clear understanding of the specific requirements for each one before applying. Go over your business plan and modify it to fit each application while ensuring that all elements of the plan remain accurate.

Grants for starting a small business can come in a variety of ways and if you are a member of a minority group you may be eligible for further funding. If for example you lack certain skills that would enable you to start a business, there are often grants that can help you gain the skills to help you launch a new business enterprise. With so many government and other grant opportunities at both state and local levels, it can be difficult to maneuver through them efficiently. The key to finding the right grant opportunities that can help you get started lies in knowing where to look.

Take the time to do your initial research and to write a professional business plan. If the thought of creating a business plan seems overwhelming and somewhat intimidating, remember that there are plenty of free advice available as well easy and user-friendly templates that one can follow through each step of the process. Although it may take some time to find the right grant opportunities that fit into your business category, keep in mind that this is money that never has to be paid back! A little extra effort in planning ahead is well worth it.

Free Small Business Grants

November 16, 2010

Although not always easy to find, free small business grants can be the perfect solution to launching or expanding a new business venture. There are many people in the United States with promising ideas for innovative businesses that never get off the ground due to lack of financing. Personal bank loans and money from family members in most cases are either not enough or simply out of reach. The federal government recognizes the significant impact small privately owned companies have on both the state and local economies.  As part of its efforts to encourage individuals to become successful entrepreneurs, the government sets aside huge sums of money each year to promote these endeavors. Since these funds are not dispersed directly at the federal level but rather through state and local government agencies and nonprofit corporations, they are often difficult to find.

These grants are designed to provide programs that directly benefit members of our local communities and more often groups that are somehow disadvantaged. There are also numerous research and development grants to promote medical research, technological advancements and so on. Another vital area where funds for free grants for small business are set aside is for individuals that belong to minority groups wanting to start or expand a small business. The opportunities for government grants are many and cover a vast array of disciplines. Being able to narrow down your research to grant categories that best match the skills and expertise of your business will save countless hours. Time is a valuable commodity and there is no point in wading through pages and pages of free small business grants that your business will never be eligible for. The key in using you time wisely lies in knowing where to find grants that your company will have the greatest chance of submitting successful grant proposals to. It is also important and even recommended that you apply for as many grants as you qualify for, again increasing your chances of success.

Having a completed business plan will go a long way in helping to focus your search on precisely what your company has to offer. As virtually all grant proposals require that you include a business plan in your grant application package, it is one of the most important steps to complete. Of course writing a business plan can be an overwhelming and daunting task for many people. This step can be relatively easy to accomplish if one avails themselves of all the free professional advice that is readily available on the internet and often even within your own community.

Always remember to use caution when researching sites that offer free small business grants as there is no shortage of grants scams targeted at those looking for free government money. Following are a few tips to keep in mind as you conduct your research.

  • Never pay a fee to fill out a grant application form. No legitimate granting agencies will ever charge a fee to submit a grant application.
  • If you have not filled out an official grant application form you will not be eligible for any government grants. All government agencies have their own application forms with specific rules and helpful advice on how to fill them out.
  • No government or other granting agency will ever contact you directly with offers of free grant money.
  • No one can ever guarantee that your application will be successful. Each application is reviewed on its own merits and all applicants that have applied for a government grant can view the progress of their application online.

Most importantly, if an offer of free money from the government seems too good to be true, it most likely is. If you are uncertain about an offer you can contact your Better Business Bureau or if you suspect a scam you can report it to The Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-447-8477.

Free Business Grants

November 14, 2010

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and are looking to launch a new business or expand an existing one with the aid of free business grants, there are several ways one can approach this process. For those individuals who already have a few solid ideas of a business they wish to start, a good place to begin is by searching for government and other grants that are currently available. This will give you a good idea about which types of projects have the most available offers that fit into your personal skills and experience.  A second approach that one can take if you already have a definite business venture for start-up or expansion is to search for free business grants that fit into the specific parameters of your business.

No matter which method you use, having a completed business plan is a must. Virtually all granting agencies will require a business plan as part of their grant application package. It is extremely important to read each proposal carefully as each one will have their own set of guidelines, requirements and submission deadlines. Hundreds of applications for free business grants are automatically rejected due to minor omissions or late submissions. It is imperative that all questions are answered and in the manner that is requested. If a question clearly does not apply to your business situation place an N/A in the space rather than leaving it blank. Another common mistake applicants make is if for example, the grantor is requesting a 2 page handwritten essay and you submit a type written one. Many Excellent, innovative businesses with a great chance of success are routinely rejected due to what may seem like small oversights.

It is common for entrepreneurs to become frustrated having to wade through pages of grants most of which do not apply to their area of expertise. Knowing where to find the right grants can save a tremendous amount of time and work. Millions of dollars of grant funds are put back into government treasuries every year simply because no one knew about them and were subsequently not applied for.  Another hurdle for many people is the task of creating a professional business plan. Once again, there is plenty of free professional advice that will take you through every step of a business plan, if you know where to find it.

Free business grants are there for both seasoned and aspiring entrepreneurs to help them become business owners. Of course one must have a well thought out plan with a business that can show a high degree of success and one that can maintain sustainability even after the grant period has expired. Taking the time to conduct the right research is certainly worth it when the end result can lead to free business grants that never have to be paid back.

It is equally important to be aware of the many grant scams that exist. One should never agree to pay a fee to have a grant application submitted as no legitimate granting organization will charge for filling out an application. Also keep in mind that no government department or other organization will ever contact you personally with offers of free business grants nor can anyone guarantee that your application will be successful.

Government Small Business Grant

November 10, 2010

Financing the start of any small business is generally the most difficult and stressful process for any aspiring entrepreneur. Receiving a government small business grant has certainly been the solution for many Americans. The federal government routinely sets aside millions of dollars each year in order to encourage the start-up or expansion of small businesses through the United States. These funds are typically designed to enhance the lives of disadvantaged citizens within our communities and neighborhoods. They are also awarded to small businesses for the development of new and innovative technologies that again will benefit our lives in some way.

Finding the appropriate government small business grant that matches your particular expertise can be a difficult and frustrating task if you do not know where to look for them. Although proposals are listed on each granting agency’s website, it can take hours of research to locate them and often results in projects for grants that your company is not qualified to carry out. Understanding which sectors of the market are more likely to receive grants and knowing where to find government funding will help immensely in narrowing down your search to the appropriate agencies.

The first important step all aspiring entrepreneurs must take is to develop a professional business plan. This is crucial with even a home-based business as your completed business plan is an integral part of the grant application package. Keep in mind that all business plans are designed to be modified to reflect your company’s growth, the changing market as well as conforming to the specific grant you are applying for. Each government small business grant proposal will have detailed parameters that present an existing problem and desired goal. Your object will be to demonstrate to the grant review panel that you possess the required skills to see the project through to the end showing measurable outcomes.

A large portion of grants are generally awarded to nonprofit companies however, that is not to say that as a for-profit business you would not qualify for a government small business grant. If for example, as a physician, you are the owner of a small for-profit medical clinic there are steps you can take in order to open up a greater number of grant opportunities. It would not be very difficult to launch a new nonprofit department that could conduct medical research or to perhaps study certain environmental effects on expecting mothers.

While doing your research be aware that there are always a number of grant scams that promise you free government grant money for a processing fee. Legitimate granting agencies do not charge processing fees nor do they charge for filling out a grant application. Also keep in mind that no government agency, corporation or charitable foundation will ever contact you personally with offers of free government grants. The Department of Health and Human Services strongly encourages anyone who comes across such scams to report them to their office at 1-800-447-8477.

One can find a government small business grant in almost any discipline or field. The key is knowing where to find them and remembering that there is plenty of free professional help and advice that can assist you through every step of starting your own business and in applying for grants.

Government Grants for Small Businesses

November 8, 2010

Government grants for small businesses has, over the years, given many Americans the opportunity to become successful independent business owners. Individuals who would otherwise not be able to finance a company start-up or expansion have brought new programs and innovative technological advancements enhancing the lives of people within our own neighborhoods and communities. The government understands the contribution these businesses make to both the state and local economies and for this reason regularly sets aside large sums of money to encourage the growth of small business.

The difficulty in locating these grants is often due to the fact that although it is the federal government that initiates grant funding it is filtered through state and city agencies and some nonprofit corporations for dispersal and administration. There are a wide variety of government grants for small businesses encourage people who belong to minority groups to launch a new company or expand an existing one. In fact millions of dollars are set aside each year by the federal government for just this purpose. However because they can be so difficult to find much of this money goes back into the federal and state government treasuries largely because no one knew they existed.

If you have plans to start a new business, it is certainly well worth your time to research the many government grants for small businesses that are available through state or community agencies. Knowing how to find grants and Knowing how to find grants and knowing where to look for free professional advice will of course help narrow your focus into areas that are relevant to your skills and experience. There are certain elements that all business owners will have to complete before applying for any type of grant funding. A few of the basic steps that need to followed are:

  • Have a completed business plan
  • Have a location for your business (this could be your home or a separate location)
  • Choose a business structure
  • Register the name of your business
  • Contact your state revenue agency to determine which tax identification number you will require
  • Apply for any business licenses or permits that are needed to carry out your business

Some of these tasks may seem overwhelming at the beginning but remember that if you know where to find the right resources, there is plenty of free professional help and advice to help you through each step. As you conduct your research, it is important to keep in mind that there are many grant scams that you want to be careful to avoid. Some tips to help you steer clear of grant scams are:

  • Never pay to fill out or submit a grant application
  • Beware of quick application approvals. Be cautious of anyone that gives you either an instant response or one within a day or two
  • No granting agency will ever contact you personally with offers of free grant money
  • Never pay a processing fee to receive government grant funding

It is highly recommended that you report any such suspected scams to the Office of Inspector General at 1-800-447-8477.

The key to increasing your chances of finding the right government grants for small businesses including being awarded grant funding is to plan ahead and do your research. Remember that government grants are funds to help you start or expand a business that never have to be paid back so investing your time in research and planning now is well worth the effort.

Government Small Business Grants

November 6, 2010

If you run your own business or are planning to launch a new one and are looking for government small business grants, it is important to understand what they are and how they work. Firstly, although the federal government usually initiates grant funding, it is through state and local agencies that these funds are made available and administered. Secondly, government grants are not designed for expansion or start-up purposes of businesses that are of a general nature. For example, if you own a community music store and wish to expand it, you are not likely to get any kind of government funding.

Government small business grants are created for specific projects or programs that in some way benefit a disadvantaged group, innovative research and development projects, highly focused technology or environmental programs, etc. However that is not to say that as the owner of the local music store, you can not qualify for a government grant. You may have previous experience in working with neighborhood youth that are at risk which would qualify you to expand your business to include a nonprofit department providing after-school music programs for youth within your community.

There are definite steps that you can take to realize this type of expansion using government small business grants. There are federal government agencies that offer grants in community and social services or in the area of arts, humanities and education that may match your area of expertise and experience. The difficulty often lies in knowing where to find the right grant opportunities that match your particular business and the skills you have to offer. Once you have researched the grants that are available within your field you can begin to focus on how to implement programs that may be eligible for grant funding. At this point it is crucial that you put together a business plan outlining your intended project. Since there will likely be more than one grant opportunity that would be a good match for your proposed new company, you will be able to adjust your business plan to meet the specific criteria of each of the several government small business grants available.

There are of course certain sectors that provide more grant opportunities than others. Technology start-up or expansion grants tend to have more available grant proposals. There are several agencies and federal departments that post requests for project funding such as:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Energy
  • The National Science Foundation

It is also important to remember that in addition to government small business grants, there are a number of Foundations in the U.S. that routinely award grants in the area of Arts and Culture some of which are:

  • The Walton Family Foundation
  • The American Art Foundation
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • The Heinz Endowments
  • The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

Getting a business plan together and finding the right government small business grants that match your area of expertise may take some time but remember that you are ultimately looking for money that never has to be paid back. Take your time, plan ahead and narrow your search to areas that are within the skills you have to offer.

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