Government Small Business Grants

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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