Small Business Grants
Although there are no small business grants available directly from the federal government, there are a number of state programs that can provide you with the money you need to start or expand your business. Most are administered through the state’s economic development agency. For the purpose of your grant application, a small business is defined as an independently owned and operated business that is not dominant in its field of operation, has annual receipts of less than $500,000, and has fewer than 500 employees. Sole Proprietorships, businesses owned and operated by one person, are also considered to be a small business for the purpose of most grant applications.
The criteria for grant eligibility are often very specific. Some small business grants are based on location, with preference given to businesses that plan to operate in a rural community. There are also small business grants available for women, minorities, and persons with disabilities who wish to pursue entrepreneurial goals. Many of the grants to expand your existing small business are based upon your current sales revenue or the number of years you have been in business.
When applying for small business grants, it’s extremely important that you fill out the application correctly. Some programs have a policy of rejecting incomplete applications. Even if your application is accepted, incomplete information may delay your grant processing. Since small business grant applications can be quite complicated, some entrepreneurs hire a consultant who has experience in helping businesses find the funding they need.
Including as many details as possible in your grant application can help increase your chances of being accepted. Agencies that distribute small business grants often have limited funding, so they want to choose proposals that demonstrate a clear potential for success. Having a carefully prepared business plan that demonstrates your industry knowledge, future goals, and expected results can drastically increase your changes of receiving many small business grants. Hiring an accountant or attorney to evaluate your proposal is also a good idea.
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