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An Overview of Small Business Grants

Business Grant ApplicantsSmall business grants were created to provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs and business owners, much like scholarships provide financial aid to students attending college. The grants were originally designed to assist the disadvantaged, including minority groups, women, and those in low income brackets. Unlike loans, grants are free money donations granted to recipients for various reasons, and do not need to be paid back. This is money meant to assist worthy individuals who have met the granter’s donation standards,  and the funds are to be applied to a specific initiative.

There are several factors you need to be aware of when it comes to requesting grant money.  Typically there is a detailed application process.  Since the money comes from either private or public sources, it is important that the request for grant money be convincingly well written to increase the chance that it will be approved by the grantors.  In addition, there are several different types of grants, including grants based on specific, personal circumstances of the applicant. For example, there are grants for minority or women-owned businesses, and businesses located in small towns.  You may also qualify for a grant if you have been in business for a certain amount of years, or have studied business in college. 

The fact is, there are so many business grants and opportunities with so many different ways to apply, it can be confusing.  The good news is that there is a vast amount of grant options available - especially now due to the status of the American economy that discourages banks from giving out small business loans. Banks and financial institutions that were traditionally in business to assist needy individuals are actually helping less and less. However, grant funding is alive and well, and entrepreneurs should not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunities. More importantly, they should understand what businesses are more likely to receive grant approval.

According to the SBA, government agencies prefer to extend grants to existing businesses that are engaged in specialized activities that will help the community and local economy. Some of the favored businesses are those that offer child care services, recycling services, and environment-friendly solutions. Other companies that government agencies consider valuable are those that create energy efficient technology, develop marketing campaigns for tourism, and train youth and senior citizens about technology. 

Funding is not limited to just these types of companies, however.  The truth is that just about any company can get a business grant, providing they take the time to research and apply for it. There is no reason to be intimidated by the application process.  There are tons of resources available to help.  In addition to various web sites, there are tons of books and publications that have been authored by experts who are well respected in the industry. There are even CD-ROMs, DVDs, podcasts and online radio shows that all focus on business grants and other forms of financing.


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