The best resource to find grants, loans and financing for entrepreneurs is the federal government’s website http://www.business.gov.
There, you will discover a wealth of resources for all kinds of small business owners, including:
- those just starting a business
- current entrepreneurs trying to grow their operations
- people with disabilities
- those in rural communities
- home-based business owners
- members of the military
- individuals seeking government contracts, and more
For Minority-Owned Businesses
For example, here is a link to the section of the website that offers help for minorities who are launching a business, or trying to expand one
For Women-Owned Businesses
Here is a link to the area within the site that lists dozens of programs specifically for women.
The U.S. Small Business Administration also has a list of Women’s Business Centers that can be a great resource.
It’s a network of entrepreneurship centers found all around the country, where people can get in-person help and educational support to grow a business.
For Non-Profit Entrepreneurs
Additionally, here’s a link to information for non-profit entrepreneurs: http://www.business.gov/start/non-profits/.
In addition to traditional grants and loans, those starting a non-profit organization are eligible for benefits such as tax exemptions, government surplus, and discounted products and services from the government.
Be aware that the majority of financing programs for entrepreneurs from the U.S. government involve loans. But there are many grants too. You have to do your homework and hunt around for what’s available.
Do Your Homework
Start by using the Loans and Grants Search Tool on the business.gov website. Find the search tool by clicking this link.
It will track down specific programs you may qualify for, based on your industry, your personal background, where you live, etc.
Don’t forget to inquire about specific government programs that may be available in your own state, county and city as well. You can usually find these programs through your state’s Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance.
Does The SBA Offer Grants? Mostly No, But Sometimes Yes
According to the SBA’s website:
the “U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, though it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. While the SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments.”
So does the SBA offer grants to small businesses or not? The short answer is: Not really, since grants only go to a limited group of entrepreneurs. To see if you qualify, visit the SBA for more information on specific federal grant programs from a multitude of government agencies: http://www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/grants/index.html.
If you really want to be an entrepreneur, and you truly need financing, you must be willing to take the time to explore any and all legal options available for raising capital.
In addition to the business.gov and sba.gov websites, try exploring grant programs at: http://www.grants.gov and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (http://www.mbda.gov), which offers resources on everything from financing opportunities to landing government contracts.
Good luck with your business!