What Types of Grants are Available to Small Businesses?

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Whether you have an idea in mind for a new business, already launched your company or have a struggling business on your hands, you should look at the types of grants available to small businesses. New owners often look for investors, but working with investors often means signing away a portion of your company. You can take out loans, but you’re responsible for paying off those loans later. Grants provide you with free money that you can use to cover all your expenses, including renting an office space, buying new supplies or hiring workers.

Private Grants

Private grants are just one example of the type of grant you can get as a business owner. These grants often come from organizations that want to see more minority owners enter the market. Oprah Winfrey has a foundation that awards grant money to African Americans and other minorities who want to start their own businesses. You’ll find foundations dedicated to helping women open and run their own companies too. Bill Gates donated millions of dollars to establish a foundation that also offers grants to business owners.

Industry-Specific Grants

Depending on the industry that you work in, you might look for different types of grants available to small businesses called industry-specific grants. These grants come from private and public organizations but are only open to those working in specific fields. The health care industry offers a number of grants for companies willing to implement wellness programs that help employees. You might get money for implementing a stop smoking program or a program that helps employees lose weight. Technology grants are available for companies and businesses working on new innovations that will make life easier for others.

Corporate Grants

You might think that major corporations don’t give out grants because those companies do not want competition from new businesses. Some of the largest companies in the world and even Fortune 100 companies offer grants. Some of those companies include General Electric, Microsoft, Boeing and Ford. Most require that you apply with a full business plan. That plan must include a number of detailed sections. You’ll need to discuss the ins and outs of your company, including what it does, how much money you make each year, the amount you spend on advertising and even your overhead costs.

Government Grants

When looking at the types of grants available to small businesses, you’ll find that government grants are the most popular. According to the Small Business Administration, the federal government does not award grants to start up companies or businesses that need funds for expansion. The SBA points out that these grants are available from state and local governments though. Your county or city government may award grants to business to stimulate the local economy and provide funds to companies that will bring more jobs to the community. The government may require that you match that grant with an equal amount of your own money.

Related Resource: What is an Angel Investor?

Many people think of government grants as money that the government hands out to any new business owner, but you often need to meet some strict requirements to qualify for one of those grants. Depending on your situation and where you live, you may need to look at other types of grants available to small businesses, including industry-specific, corporate and private grants.

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