The Basics of Small Business Grants and How You Can Get One

Small business grants are a popular topic because they’re alluring. After all, a grant will give you money to start your own small business, and you will not have to pay it back. It’s sort of like getting a gift of money, or an inheritance.

There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation about small business grants though, and there are a lot of scams too. So let’s look at some of the basics…

  1. Small business grants are not usually given out by the federal government. State government groups and offices however, often do give out small business grants for specific purposes. Generally state government grants are given to help create jobs and boost the economy in the state.
  2. Small business grants are usually given for specific reasons. Not everyone can qualify for every grant available. Many grants are only available to specific minorities such as African Americans for instance, or women, or even African American Women. There are grants for Native American owned small businesses, grants for technology based businesses, and grants for innovative businesses too. And this is possibly the least understood aspect of small business grants. Many people mistakenly believe that anyone can get a grant, or multiple grants, just by applying. But you need to follow the application rules and guidelines. A small business owned solely by a man is not going to get a grant which is just available to women owned businesses.
  3. Grants are offered by a variety of organizations. Many grants are offered by private foundations for instance, while others may be offered by corporations.
  4. Small business grants take time. Most grants have a detailed, step-by-step application process that must be completed. And that application can take time to complete. A lot of time. Depending on the source of the small business grant, there may be other requirements that have to be met before they’ll even look at your application too. And once the application is accepted, it could be a year or more before the organization decides who will get the limited number of small business grants they have available.
  5. Small business grants are plentiful yet scarce. There are literally thousands of places to apply for small business grants, but each place usually has a very limited number of grants to give. It’s not uncommon for there to be only one grant available from a given organization each year, and in some cases there’s just one grant every five years or so.
  6. Small business grants may not help a start up. This is another common misconception about small business grants. Many people who are ready to start a business, think that getting a business grant is the best way to get started. The problem though, is that many small business grants will only be awarded to existing or established businesses.

Part of the grant application process will involve submitting a copy of your detailed business and marketing plans, submitting financial data to show your profits and profit margins.

And even when you do locate sources of small business grants that will accept applications from start up companies, you often need to have money available for hiring grant consultants and professional grant writers too.

So yes, getting a small business grant is quite possible, but be aware you will need to work very hard to get one, and it could take quite a bit of time too.