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Small Business Grants - How to Find Them and How to Qualify

Small Business Grant Winners Small business grants are financial assistance programs available to entrepreneurs and business owners in the United States who have fewer than 500 employees. The funding can come from a government agency, a non-profit organization, or another for-profit company. Awards typically range from $500 to up to $100,000.

Eligibility varies, and can depend on your location, your income, your ethnicity, your gender, your experience in business, as well as your longetivity in business. Some small business grants can even require that you participate in a competition or write an essay to demonstrate your talents or need.

Here are 5 great ways to find what opportunities are available to you:

1) Check With Your Local Government Agencies. Many cities, counties, and states give away money to local businesses. Why? Because they want you to create jobs and more tax revenue. Many times they won't highly publicize these opportunities, but it's in your best interest to give them a call and/or search their web sites.

2) Check With Federal Government Agencies. The federal government doesn't give grants directly to businesses, but they do give money to foundations who in turn can give money to small businesses. The federal agency in charge of this is the Grants Program Management Office, and all of their opportunities are listed publicly online.

3) Check With Major Corporations. Nearly every major corporation in this country has a foundation that gives away grants to enhance communities, and many of these are grants to start or expand a business. Start by checking first with big companies that are headquarted in our city or state.

4) Search The Internet. Use Google, Yahoo and Bing to conduct a search using the term "business grants". You can even throw in the name of your city, county, state, etc. Carefully review the results, and look for web sites that other web sites are linked to. Doing so, will help you to find opportunities that may be casually listed on a blog or some type of directory. You may even come across a recent news article about a new opportunity.

5) Ask Around. When attending professional networking functions and social mixers, never hesitate to ask people that you meet about new opportunities. Many times, small business grants are given away to people who happen to be in the right place at the right time. Never underestimate the importance of creating a relationship with a power player and his/her associates.

6) Visit Your Local Library. Contrary to popular belief, libraries are still an excellent resource and store a lot of information that is not accessible in other places. Go to your library as soon possible; look for grant books and directories and ask specific questions to your librarian. You'll be surprised what you can find.



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Below are the Top 12 Small Business Grant Programs:

#1 - Caleb Brown Community Business Grant Program
Provides access to "seed money" and grants to assist urban professionals with starting businesses and rebuilding the community.

#2 - DOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program
Offers grant funding to provide training and other services to minority-owned and women-owned businesses to help them compete for highway contracts.

#3 - FedEx Small Business Grant Contest
Allows business owners and entrepreneurs to register and submit their business story and photos, get voted for, and be considered among the top 100 finalists and the winners.

#4 -Intuit "Love Our Local Business" Competition
Allows fans, including customers, vendors, employees, and the community, determine who deserves some love - in the form of financial assistance for their business.

#5 - Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Grants
Every year, the MBDA organizes various angel investors with the primary objective of supporting minority businesses with mezzanine and second round financing.

#6 - Miller Lite Tap the FutureĀ® Business Plan Competition
Annual competition for minority entrepreneurs that gives away business grants to applicants who submit the best business plans. (Formally called MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneur Series).

#7 - National Association For The Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants
Business owners can apply for a $5,000 grant useful for financing a particular small business need.

#8 - Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program
Provides grants to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas, to be used for land acquisition, etc.

#9 - Small Business Administration (SBA) Grants
The SBA and it's various initiatives award $2 billion in grant funding and loans to small high-tech businesses annually.

#10 - Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grants
The SBA and it's various initiatives award $2 billion in grant funding and loans to small high-tech businesses annually.

#11 - VetFran Business Grant Fund
Provides veterans who own franchises with financial grants for business development, education, training, and/or technical assistance.

#12 - Women's Business Center (WBC) Grant Program
Provides technical assistance to women entrepreneurs, both new and established, in the areas of finance, management, and marketing, and other areas.


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