The Small Business Administration claims that “the Federal government does not provide grants for starting a business,” but you shouldn’t let that stop you from looking for grant opportunities that can help you expand your current business or develop a new business idea. There are several resources that can help you find grants. You just have to know where to look.
Local and State Government Grants
Many city and state governments offer small business grants. This allows them to attract businesses that will contribute to the local economy. Contacting the office of your city’s mayor or manager could give you leads on grants. Some of the grants, however, are more difficult to find. Consider exploring departments within the government that are related to your industry. Individual departments (such as those for agriculture, energy, and education) are often in charge of distributing grants.
Federal Government Agencies
The Federal government might not provide grants directly to small businesses, but it does give money to agencies that are in charge of choosing grant recipients. You should start your search for Federal grants at the Grants Program Management Office. The agency’s website lists all current opportunities.
Most major corporations have foundations that distribute grants for small businesses. Although most of these grants are intended to enhance communities, some of them are specifically created to foster business development. Apparently they’re not afraid of competition from small businesses. Get a grant from a corporation and show them just how much you can do with it.
Applying for Small Business Grants
The application process varies from grant to grant. Make sure you follow each application’s directions perfectly. If you don’t, the grant distributor might disqualify you even if you have a great idea. You will likely need a business plan showing how you make your idea successful. You might also need to provide financial projections. Getting this material together before you start applying makes the process less stressful.
Make a schedule of deadlines for the grants you wish to receive. That way, you won’t miss any opportunities just because you forgot to drop a letter in the mail. Use this list to keep track of the responses you get. It could take months before you hear any news. Just remain patient and keep your fingers crossed.