Are They Real?
There are more people hoping to start small businesses now, and many of them are seeking business government grants. After all, you see the ads on TV and on your computer all the time, so there must be lots of money available, right?
The real answer is – maybe. You have to have some understanding of the requirements of the business government grant system to sort out the claims.
First, you are much more likely to get such a grant if you are starting a business to refurbish donated clothing for sale to benefit a certain demographic or charity, than you are to start a boutique dress shop.
Business government grants are just like any other grant; the money never needs to be repaid.
However, like other types of grants, one of the first things that will advance you along the road to funding is the lack of a profit motive. That’s right; the money often goes to nonprofit corporations.
Business government grants may be more readily available through state and local governments than through the Federal government. The more local the government entity, the more impact your business will have on the immediate surrounding area. In addition to that, most state and local entities receive funds in large amounts, or blocks, from the Federal government. This money is then parceled out using strict program guidelines to the more local state, county and city governments.
There are public relations advantages for these more local entities participating in helping you to get business government grants. It may provide jobs, it will provide income in the form of taxes and fees, and it will show that they are responsive on a local level to their citizens’ needs. It becomes a win-win situation for both the grantor and the grantee.
You can check with your local state representative, business incubation centers or the state Office of Economic Development or its equivalent, to check on availability of, and requirements for business government grants. Before applying for any funding that may be available, be sure to have a sound business plan in place.
If you are unsure whether you want to be a for-profit or a non-profit business, ask to see the types of programs available. You may find that the nonprofit model will actually provide you with a more satisfying business model than starting out as a for-profit firm. There is a wealth of free help out there for nonprofits. Use it to teach you the processes you will need to know to run any sort of successful business.