Starting a small business is a labor of love. It takes time, thought, a lot of footwork, most likely also a lot of sleepless nights . . . and let’s not forget about money. One of the most difficult factors associated with starting a small business is finding ways to fund it. Even more, small business owners are generally expected to find a variety of funding sources, from bank loans, to business partners, to their own private savings accounts. One ideal business funding method is grants. Why are grants ideal? Because they do not ever have to be repaid Of course, this major bonus comes with drawbacks: grants can be hard to find, and even harder to apply for and win. If you are interested in using grants to fund your small business, here are some tips for where to find small business grants:
Small Business Administration. Although the small business administration (SBA) does not provide grants directly, they do offer information on a variety of grant programs to help small business owners either get their businesses off the ground or expand their already established businesses. Check out the SBA website (sba.gov) for a handy grant search tool, as well as a comprehensive database of articles and other resources aimed specifically at helping small business owners achieve success.
The Library. Your local library should have a grant database, full of thousands upon thousands of grant makers and grants, as well as detailed information about grants made in the past. Using this database, you can search for local, national, and international grants based on parameters specific to your small business, as well as research successful grant applications of the past.
Your State Government. The business and economic development department of your state government awards small business grants on a regular basis, and is a great place to begin your grant search.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). This catalog, published by the federal government, lists every grant offered by every government agency out there. In addition to small business startup and expansion, the CFDA also lists a variety of other assistance programs that can be very useful to your small business needs, from training grants to equipment grants. Find the full catalog at cfda.gov.
As you can see, there are a number of ways you may go about searching for grants for your small business. Just remember that the grant search process is a lengthy one, and that it will take some patience and perseverance. But, just like anything else in life, you will get out of it what you put into it, so happy hunting
About the Author: Lonnie Ciskowski is a small business owner who volunteers at events geared towards helping entrepreneurs open their own storefronts and online store presences. For many, the only missing link is funding.