How to Find Grants for Small Business Owners

18 Jul, 2016 / Comments: Comments Off on How to Find Grants for Small Business Owners / By

Finding money to start your small business can seem like an impossible feat. How do you get started when you do not have any resources to get you up and running? If you do not want to get a loan and add to your debt load, you may feel you are stuck in your quest to get started. While there are not a ton of grants available for small business owners, there are some that can help you get started, but you have to know where to look.

 

Try Checking Grants.gov

Start by checking grants.gov. This is a website where you can find a database of any available grants. Like stated above, there are not a ton, but if you are involved in a very specific niche, such as research and development and rural business, you might have good luck in finding a grant in the system. You will have to go through a lengthy approval process, but the ability to get free money will make your efforts well worth it.

 

Check Your Economic Development Agency

Your local economic development agency should be able to help you find a grant in your local area. Oftentimes, this agency offers grants to certain businesses in order to boost the local economy. If your local agency does not have any grants, they might have the resources to help you find one.

 

Check Nonprofit Groups

Sometimes grants do not come from a federal source, but rather a nonprofit group that desires to help small businesses. You can do a quick internet search to find the nonprofit groups offering grants in your area. A few examples include WomensNet and Love our Local Business by Intuit.

 

Check Specific Areas for Grants

Don’t discount the specifics that might gain you access to a grant for your small business. Think of unique aspects of your business, such as having women owners, minority owners, and being involved in research and development. The more specific you are about your business, the more grants you might be able to dial into, giving you access to more money than those relying strictly on federal grants.

 

Support a Good Cause to Get Money

The easiest way to get a grant is to support a good cause. Businesses that are out to do the greater good for the community have the greatest chance at getting free money from a grant. Medical research, scientific research, educational programs, and any programs created to better the environment often have good luck in receiving grants for small business.

 

When you are ready to start your new business, it is best to not rely solely on grants to get you funded, but they can be a good source of money if you are willing to work hard. If you do not want a business loan or do not qualify for one, you can put in the hard work necessary to obtain a grant. Due to the fierce competition for the little amount of money available, you will have to be very specific on your application in order to ensure that you are a qualified competitor.

 

The key is to stay committed to the process as it can be rather lengthy and time-consuming, making it easy to want to give up. If you cannot obtain a grant, do not assume you are out of luck if you do not qualify for a bank loan. The Small Business Administration offers a variety of affordable and easy-to-qualify-for small business loans that most small businesses are able to obtain in order to get started.

 

William Mahnic
William Mahnic is a Finance Professor at Case Western University and has spent more than 20 years in the finance industry before becoming a professor. Mahnic has appeared as a commentator on both TV and radio talk shows including NPR, Crain's Cleveland Business, WKYC 3 and The Washington Post. He has been interviewed in BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times.

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