The Truth About Small Business Grants
Tips for Winning a Small Business Grant
Small business grants are often a hot topic among entrepreneurs with limited funds and
access to capital. We have all seen the headlines: "Free Government Grant for Small
Business." It seems all too easy. Locate a government small business grant, apply and
before you know it you have the money to grow your cash-strapped business.
Most U.S. government departments, such as the Department of Commerce, do not
provide any grants for starting a small business. Grant programs are available through
state programs and other groups. The grant programs are often awarded to fields such as
medicine or education, with very specific eligibility criteria.
The process of finding a small business grant program and reviewing the requirements is
time consuming. After conducting a two-week search for a medical publisher, I found the
requirements to be very specific and difficult to meet. Eligibility can be based on location,
sales revenue to date, years in business, sex, race, and purpose of funding. Should your
business embark on a small business grant seeking mission? Answer the following
1. Do you have the time and resources to search for a small business grant program and
2. Can you hire a consultant or learn the grant application process by yourself?
3. Does your business need the money now for expansion or can you wait up to a year?
4. If you do undertake the grant process, will it hurt your business taking away time from
selling and marketing?
If you want to take a look at the small business grants available, the best place to start is
the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). The CFDA lists thousands of grants
from all government agencies for free. Many business grants will be geared towards
minority business development or rural business opportunity grants. Do not overlook the
other assistance programs available such as surplus equipment and training.
If you do find a small business grant program available for your business, be ready to go
through a lengthy, approval process. With funding cutbacks and high competition be
prepared with the following grant tips:
Small Business Grant Tips
Provide complete and accurate information in the application. An incomplete application
may not make the review process or can add delay to approving your grant.
Get to know your grant officer and their constraints, budget and concerns with approving
Stand out among the crowd with a well-prepared business plan if required. Demonstrate
your understanding of the business. Show how the money will bring the benefit the
government agency wants.
Bring in outside experts if necessary. An accountant or consultant can add credibility to
your application process.
Keep in touch. Make regular contact with the grant office in a professional, non-intrusive
The task of locating and applying for a small business grant is not for the faint at heart.
Take an honest look at alternative sources first, such as loans, personal credit lines,
friends and family. Many successful companies today were grown the old fashioned