Category: Business Grants

How to Obtain Business Grants for Single Mothers

If you are single mother and a business owner, good for you! It’s obviously difficult at times for you to be both seeing as how each can be very demanding on any given day. Unfortunately, when your business has funding issues it can be stressful not only on you and your workers, but also your family as well. We want to help by pointing you in the direction of business grants and other sources of funding.

Proper business funding is absolutely necessary in today’s current tight economy. Some businesses are just barely holding on and could use a financial shot in the arm to keep going until we’re out of this current recession. At the same time, there are other businesses doing well yet in need of financing to expand. That expansion is what will carry them through the recession and out into a better economy in the future. Regardless of your situation, business grants for single mothers may be one source of funding that can help you.

Finding the Grants

As a single mother and businesswoman you’ve got plenty on your plate. Unfortunately, the bad news in all of this is that there’s no easy way to get grant money. It is hard to come by and there’s lots of competition. But when you stop and think about it, if grant money were easy to get everyone would have it. No, grant makers don’t want to give away money to just anyone so they don’t make it easy to get.

In order to find the grants for single mothers you are going to have to do some research and digging. A good place to start is with a regional or national women’s business organization. Female business owners from all over the country band together in small and large groups to provide support for one another. As a single mother, this could be one of the most valuable resources you find — even if you never apply for grants. The support offered by these groups is invaluable.

Next, you should also check with your local chamber of commerce. Consider becoming a member at the same time. The chamber of commerce is a group of business owners who, like the previously mentioned women’s business group, have banded together for mutual support on a local level. If there are small business grants for single mothers available in your local area your chamber of commerce will most likely know about them.

Lastly, if you’re expecting to find small business grants for single mothers coming from Washington or your state capital, put that idea out of your head right now. Governments only give business grants if the business can prove a vested government interest in doing so. For example, a government agency may give a research grant to accompany developing technology to protect us against biological warfare. Because defense is a vested government interest they can legally provide money. But there’s no vested government interest in your restaurant, beauty salon, or IT consulting business.

Writing your Grant Proposal

If you do find grants for single mothers you’ll need to write a grant proposal in order to apply. Keep in mind that each grant making organization has its own requirements in terms of application. You may want to contact individual organizations if you have questions specifically about their requirements or the type of grant proposal they’re looking for.

Before you sit down and begin writing you should check your local library, small business administration office, or various Internet resources for sample grant proposals. We say “sample” because there are no hard and fast rules for grant writing. But with half a dozen samples for you to glean from you should be able to figure out how to write an effective grant proposal. There are professional grant writing services if all else fails; keep in mind they earn their money by taking a portion of your grant money.

Being Persistent

Though grant money is not the easiest in the world to find, you can access it if you’re persistent; especially in the area of business grants for single mothers. Grant makers want to see that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make your business succeed, including being persistent about grants. So apply for as many as you can find, make sure to follow up on applications, and make sure you take every opportunity to convince grant makers you are worthy of their funding.

Lastly, don’t assume a “no” from one grant makers is the same answer from all of them. Remember that you’re competing with tons of other single mother business owners for a limited amount of money. Your product or service might be a great idea for your target audience, yet the grant maker is interested in funding something else. That doesn’t mean your ideas are wrong. Keep applying until you get the “yes” answer you’re looking for.

On a side note, if you’ve sent off 20 grant proposals and been rejected by all of the grant makers, it might be time for you to sit down with a business expert to review your proposal. Perhaps there’s something you’re missing or something you put together incorrectly. One or two corrections and your edited proposal may quickly turn the tide in your favor.

6 Facts You Need To Know About Minority Business Grants

If you’ve been searching the Internet for a place to find minority business grants you’re probably frustrated by now because you haven’t found any useful information. We would ask you to read through this entire article because it contains the truth about business grants in general. Far too many minority business owners spend hour after hour searching for grant money only to come up empty at the end. In this article we won’t lie to you. We’ll tell you the absolute truth about minority small business grants and then point you in the right direction.

Below is a list of facts regarding minority small business grants you need to know. All of them are verifiable by checking with the appropriate agencies.

Fact #1 – Federal and State Governments DO NOT Provide Minority Small Business Grants

Unfortunately there is an entire industry centered on scamming people into believing that federal and state governments are a source of free grant money. It is simply not true. You can look at the Grants.gov website or the Small Business Administration website. Both sites unequivocally state, without question, that federal and state governments do not give away grant money for small businesses. So do not believe it when people try to tell you otherwise. It doesn’t matter whether they’re selling a book, pitching a DVD, or just building a website designed to drive advertising revenue, they are lying if they tell you there are government grants available for small business.

Fact #2 – Federal and State Governments DO Provide Small Business Loans

When you visit some of these websites claiming the government gives away grant money they will often make themselves appear legitimate by providing links to government websites. Go ahead and follow those links by all means. What you’ll find is that the federal government and various state governments do offer financing through small business loans. Though some may believe this to be a simple disagreement over semantics, it’s not. By definition grant money does not need to be repaid; a small business loan does. You can apply for small business loans through dozens of institutions backed by the SBA.

Fact #3 – Private Grants Can Be Found but They Are Rare

Every now and again it is possible to find minority small business grants from private foundations and business organizations looking to help minority business owners. Yet they are rare, to say the least. In order to find out about these grants you must constantly keep your eyes open by staying in communication with organizations like the Small Business Administration and various industry and trade groups. When grants do become available be prepared that you’ll be competing with a lot of other companies for limited funding.

Fact #4 – You Do Not Need a Business Grant to Be Successful in Business

If you’re someone who believes that your dreams of business are lost if there are no minority small business grants available, don’t believe it. Small business grants have never been available from the federal government and yet look how many successful businesses there out there. It’s just a matter of being creative with your funding sources and pounding the pavement to get the money.

For example, you might check with an organization like the Business Consortium Fund, Inc. This organization specializes in helping minority business owners by providing them direction, information, and resources. They are an organization that can point you to funding resources available in your area.

Fact #5 – Private Equity Is Not the Bogeyman

Unfortunately, we have been trained in America to think negatively of private equity and corporations. It’s rather foolish when you think about, seeing as how they pump so much money into our economy and provide so many jobs. As far as private equity is concerned, their profit motive is what enables them to help businesses like yours get off the ground.

In other words, when private equity invests in your small business they do so with the intention of earning money. If your business fails so does theirs. And they will do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen. When you get funding from private equity you are getting not only money but also help from their business experts to make sure you succeed.

Fact #6 – The Average Small Business Fails within Three Years

Statistics have consistently shown that the average small business in the United States fails within the first three years of existence. The primary reason for that failure is inadequate funding. The truth is that it takes at least three years for most businesses to begin earning a profit. That means you need enough funding to keep yourself afloat until that time.

As a general rule you should do your best to secure one year’s worth of business funding before you ever open your doors. With that much funding in place you can take everything you earn in the first year and set it aside for the second year’s funding. Do the same in the second year and, if things go as planned, you should be making money by the third year.

If you are a minority small business owner and you’re looking for funding to start a new business or expand an existing one, resources are out there. Don’t be afraid to call business organizations, trade groups, local banks, your chamber of commerce, and anyone else you think might be able to help. The deeper you dig, the more funding you’ll find.

How to Get a Grant to Start a Business or Expand

You may be a small business owner in need of funding to expand your business. Or perhaps you’re an entrepreneur trying to get your first business off the ground. In either case, you may be a business owner looking for grant money to help you along the way.

Getting a business grant is not all that difficult in principle; it is somewhat difficult in this tight economy due to the fact that there’s not a whole lot of extra money floating around. But if you know what to do when the opportunity arises you can increase your chances of being successful in winning a business grant.

First Things First

The first thing to understand is that business grants come in all shapes and sizes. Some are as little as a couple thousand dollars while others can be 10 times that. Business grants also usually come with stipulations designed to promote a specific agenda by the grant maker.

For example, you may find a small-business incubator offering technology grants designed to encourage new technology-based businesses. The local baker or butcher would be wasting his time applying for such grants because their businesses are not technology-based.

For step-by-step process and how to get a grant to start a business, read on.

Step 1 – Find the Sources of Grants

Before you can begin applying for grants you need to find sources of grant money. Right off the bat you can cross the federal government off your list of sources. Likewise for state governments. Neither of these entities are allowed by law to get involved in promoting one business over the next; henceforth, they don’t make small business grants. They do provide small business loans however, but that’s a different topic for a different article.

There are plenty of places you can check for information about available business grants. For example, your local chamber of commerce usually has information about available grant money. You might also check with trade groups pertinent to the business you’ve chosen. For example, if you want to open a restaurant there are several restaurant trade groups you can belong to that provide tons of helpful information.

Step 2 – Prepare a Business Plan and Grant Proposal

When you find grants you want to apply for, you will absolutely have to have a business plan in place. This is true for both a startup and an expansion. The business plan is your concept of how sound business principles apply to your plans and how you intend to implement those principles. In addition to your business plan you will also need a grant proposal. The grant proposal is similar to the business plan except for the fact that it’s more specific to your business, your service or products, and your personal vision for your business.

There is nothing set in stone about how to write either one of these documents. However, there are certain things each one should contain. Check your local library or go online for some examples of business plans and grant proposals. There is enough free information available to help you get started.

If you’re struggling with your business plan there’s probably some sort of not-for-profit organization in your community designed to help business people. If so they can likely sit down with you and help you put together a competent business plan. If you’re having trouble with the grant proposal you can ask other business owners for help or, if you don’t mind spending the money, hire a professional grant writer.

Step 3 – Make As Many Applications as Possible

The last step in this process is to make as many grant applications as possible. No matter how small a grant or how foolish the idea may seem, write grant proposals and send them out as quickly as you find the opportunities. The worst that can happen is that you get rejected. The best that could happen is that you get awards for every grant application you send out. Either way, you’ll never get anything if you don’t apply. The law of averages is your friend in that the more you apply for the greater your chances of success.

With all that said, please bear in mind that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fund your entire business solely on grant money. So plan to get other funding sources. You can apply for small business loans through banks and some government agencies; you can contact private equity firms and ask them to invest; you can approach your family members and friends to provide you loans as well. The point is that you’re going to need more than just grant money. You might as well get started as soon as you can trying to access as many of those sources as possible.

Are There Government Grants for Small Business Owners?

When it comes to government small business grants there are two camps. The first camp says that federal and state governments give away lots of “free” money to help you start or expand an existing business. The other camp says there are no such grants available. So which one’s right?

If you want to see for yourself you can logon to the Small Business Administration or Grants.gov websites. But we’ve already checked into it and we’ll tell you upfront the second camp is correct. Federal and state governments do not give small business grants except under extremely rare conditions. About the only time government business grants become available is when there’s a vested government interest in promoting a specific technology. Other than that, business owners are out of luck.

Why do people sell books offering information on government grants?

Some 30 years ago a rather industrious author figured out that people watching late-night television would believe just about anything they were told. This enterprising individual decided to publish a book highlighting all the “free” money available from the government including so-called government small business grants. The author put together some very convincing commercials, ran them on late-night television, and sold millions of books. Unfortunately, not a single purchaser of his books has ever found grant money available for small businesses through a federal government institution.

By the same token, there are lots of websites that come up in a Google search if you run the phrase “small business grants.” Unfortunately if you start to look at those results you’ll quickly find that you’ve wasted several hours coming up with information that is completely useless to you. Why would these website owners do this? Because, like the author of the previously mentioned book, they generate income when you visit their site and click their links. If they’re promising government small business grants, don’t believe them.

Are there any small business grants of any kind?

The good news is that from time to time it is possible to find small business grants from places other than federal or state government. For example, sometimes local governments offer business grants in combination with tax abatements as a means of stimulating economic growth. They are hard to come by during these tight economic times, but you can find them every now and again.

Secondly, private business trade groups and foundations sometimes offer small business grants as a means of helping people in genuine financial need. These types of grants typically don’t equate to tens of thousands of dollars mind you, but even a couple thousand dollars can be beneficial when you’re starting or expanding a business. The only way to quickly and effectively find these opportunities is to do an Internet search on private grant makers.

If I can’t find grant money how do I fund my small business?

If you’re willing to accept funding other than grants, that’s where you’ll find you have plenty of choices. From the government standpoint you have small business loans backed by the Small Business Administration and other government agencies. And in fact, the SBA website is one of the best resources for finding those loans. The SBA does a good job of keeping users abreast of all sorts of loan programs available throughout the United States.

Next, you can check with your local banks and chamber of commerce as well. If local banks are unable to help with financing they probably can point you to other institutions that can. The same thing goes for the chamber of commerce.

Finally, you can consider accessing private equity investors. Just do an Internet search on private equity companies and start looking at some of the results. Just about every private equity firm offers a link on their website whereby you can contact them for more information about attaining funding.

How do I obtain small business loans or private equity funding?

Applying for business funding is somewhat different than getting a personal loan. While you may have to fill out a formal application, more important will be your business plan. When you submit a business plan you are essentially explaining to the lender or private equity investor why your business is worthy of funding. There are no black and white rules for preparing a business plan, but there are plenty of free samples online that will help you put one together.

In closing, if you do find small business grants available from private organizations you’ll also need to submit a grant proposal along with your business plan. If you don’t know how to write a grant proposal there are as many resources available for that as there are for writing business plans. If you’re still not comfortable and don’t mind spending the money, there are organizations that specialize in writing grant proposals.