How to Apply for Small Business Grants?

Grants help entrepreneurs with limited assets and no access to money to fund their small businesses. The path that leads to finding a small business grant program, along with filling out the paperwork, can be very time consuming. In addition, it can take many months for subsidy establishments to process grant applications, because it is an extremely competitive course of action with no promises of any benefits for the time invested. While the search for a grant to start a small business is not a simple process, there are some basic steps and information that may help to make it a bit easier to apply for a small business grant.

Outline a business plan in order to determine the kind of grant you will need to sustain the growth of the business. This proves to the grantor agency that there has been some thought put into a long-term plan for the business. Look for organizations that are affiliated with funding your type of business. Start a list of general organizations that provide federal, state, community, private or national funding.

Prior to submitting an application, decide how to contact the prospective funders and then tell them about your business objective so that you can establish a relationship with the organizations. You can accomplish this by way of personal visits, phone calls or letters of inquest. Next, present an interesting, worthwhile, well written plan of your intentions to each of the financial funding corporations. Be sure to include an outlined, proposed budget plan of exactly how the funds will be used.

Grants are not as readily available for starting or expanding small businesses, unless your business involves some type of new technology progress or is a non-profit corporation. Nevertheless, there are numerous state development groups that do propose small business grants and additional kinds of financial aid for assisting entrepreneurs who desire to open or enlarge a small business. Then again, they almost always choose to approve grants for small businesses that are will benefit the community and public or non-profit organizations.

Always define your request as a necessary matter and provide notarized statements from experts and accountants that show sincerity in your intentions. Last but not least, remember that advertisements and promotions that say they provide “free money” by simply submitting a request are misleading and a waste of time, because obtaining a small business grant is never easily achieved.

Applying for a Business Grant:

Starting a small business will require funding. This funding can come in the form of bank loans or from a grant. To apply for a grant to start a small business you must meet various eligibility requirements and submit a completed application. If you are a legal American resident, a grant to start a small business is available even when your have less than stellar credit. A grant is available for many organizations and to individual business owners.

Research is needed to determine the type of grant that is available to you and your business. You can do this by researching information at the Small Business Administration website. Information for all grant types can also be found at the Small Business Development Center. However, to prevent being declined for a grant you will need to know the funding needs for your business.

Examine the requirements that need to be met for each type of grant that is available. You will need to apply for a specific grant by staying within the requirements. Some grants that may be available to a business owner who is an individual are not available to organizations. The same applies for grants that are used for organizations.

Applying for a business grant can be done in one of two ways. One way is to complete a paper application or by using the internet. Many applications for small business grants are available for you to complete online and it much faster than a paper application. Online applications will also provide instructions that offer information for completing each page in the process.

A Funding Opportunity Number is then given to the applicant after successful application of a grant for use with the Central Contractor Registry. This number is used for identification purposes. You will then be contacted by a adviser for your grant application.

A grant a proposal letter and your business plan need to be completed when applying for a grant. If you require assistance with these two items, information can be found at the Small Business Administration website. You can also use a professional service but a small fee may be required.

Types of Small Business Grants:

Small business grants are very limited, but there are some available, if you know where to look.  Federal grants are highly competitive, and it is a mistake to assume that they are available for any business of any type.  The requirements are stringent, but if you have the right ideas at the right time, your business may be eligible.

Federal Business Grant Limitations:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is authorized to help with low cost loans but it is not authorized to  administer grants.  This is often a source of disappointment to those just starting out.  On the other hand, it provides support and resources to help entrepreneurs develop and implement their business plan.  SBA is an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Federal Business Grant Possibilities:

Small Business Innovation Research grants and Small Business Technology Transfer grants are available from a variety of federal programs.  To receive these grants, the request must meet stringent federal research and development objectives.  Furthermore, the proposals must demonstrate definite commercial possibilities.

If you have a business that meets these criteria, the next step is to match your ideas to the appropriate U.S. Government division.  When requesting information, be sure to reference Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants.

For health-related businesses, check with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  For energy or environmental cleanup, check with both  the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.  For advancements in technology, other possibilities for grants include the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division of the U.S. Commerce Department, and the National Science Foundation.   For those in agribusiness, the obvious choice would be the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Other grant possibilities can be found at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The U.S. Defense Department also offers some SBIR grants and SBTT grants.

State Business Grants:

Each state government has its own agencies.  To find possible grants in your location, check your state’s official directory and find the department that covers business.  If you are looking for research-related grants, check with any agency that might be interested, just as suggested on the federal level.  Your state’s Chamber of Commerce, a private business organization, may have suggestions as well.  Don’t forget to check with the nearest U.S. Small Business Administration office and your local Chamber of Commerce to find out if any non-profit agencies offer help for small businesses.

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