Anyone who has a television has seen the commercial with the “crazy question mark guy”, where he talks really fast probably because he doesn’t want you to really hear the bull he’s spinning, anyway I digress…As I was saying, so you’ve seen the commercial where he states that there are millions of grants available for anything under the sun and in a sense he’s correct, but –AND I STRESS BUT-you don’t have to buy a book to find these grants, especially governmental grants. Moreover, a lot of grant opportunities listed in his book and on other “fake” “too good to be true” grant programs, websites, and businesses may not be available for you; Therefore you should always seek credible grant writers, consultants, or assistance from credible sources and I will tell you how, but first we need to discuss the various types of grants, so that you can educate yourself in order to make smart decisions.
There are several types of grants for small businesses:
- Seed or Start-Up Funding – A start-up grant helps a new organization or program in its first few years. The idea is to give the new effort a strong push forward, so it can devote its energy early on to setting up programs without worrying constantly about raising money
- Capital /Equipment Grants– Sometimes called “bricks-and-mortar” or capital grants, these grants help an organization buy some long-lasting physical asset — a building, computer or van, for instance.
- Low Interests Loans– Loan programs lend to small businesses unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move on and talk about the above mentioned grant opportunities for small businesses. Grants from the private (Funding from Individuals, foundations, and organizations) and public (local, state, national governmental agencies) sectors usually funds small businesses.
So, how and where can you find these grants? What are the chances for you to actually get the grant? Most entrepreneurs who successfully receive funding usually enlist the assistance of a reputable Grant Writer/Consultant to conduct grant research using specialized methods and databases. Some entrepreneurs conduct their own research, which is cost effective. Conducting prospect research is essential to achieving your goals in obtaining grant funding. Why? Because it is a systematic approach to finding grants that is in alignment with your business goals and mission, thus increasing the likely hood of getting the grant. For instance, if I wanted to open a clothing boutique I wouldn’t approach an organization that awards grants to restaurant business owners. It’s all about alignment…Strategic Alignment.
To that end, yes getting grants for small business can be done; however let me reiterate even though there are millions of grants available, you won’t qualify for all of them. Seeking grants is a process so spend your time wisely. Spend your time on strategic prospect research and obtaining funding. Listed below are key strategies that can assist you with your endeavors:
- Take advantage of your public library. Most libraries allow patrons to use premium grant databases for free.
- Research and contact local, regional, and national nonprofits that are dedicated to assisting first time business owners, such as Seedco, a nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out what types of grant programming or start up business support they offer.
- Seek reputable grant writers and consultants who offer free initial consultations.
- Diversify your grants seeking methods and also include conducting research for grants based on your nationality, gender, or trade.
- Seek grants from local, state, national governmental agencies such as your state’s Economic Development Department or the U.S. Department of Economic Development.
- Open your mind and seek low interest loans because these loans will assist you with obtaining starting capital and believe in yourself and do the work necessary to make your business a success, then you will be able to pay the loan back.
In short, you can get these grants, however it takes focus, detailed research, diligence, unrelenting drive, and hard work in order to achieve success, thus allowing you to live your dreams and start a viable, competitive, and sustainable business. Good Luck!!!
RESOURCES: GRANT RESEARCH SEARCH ENGINES
Small Business Administration
U.S. Department of Economic Development Administration