Small Business Grants

Unlike business loans, small business grants don't have to be repaid. However, grant funding is generally restricted to very specific audiences, and the use of grant funding is often subject to specific conditions, with strict reporting responsibilities.

Of course, you will need to know where to look. And despite all the late night infomercials, websites, and reference guides that promise all kinds of free money, there really aren't any direct small business grants available from the federal government. There are grants available for businesses, but the eligibility restrictions and conditions of use make them almost impossible for the average small business startup to get.

Don't despair however. Many state development agencies do offer direct small business grants as well as other types of financial assistance. These grants are designed to assist new entrepreneurs with starting a small business. You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce. Some Chambers have grants available to help bring new business and employment opportunities to the community.

If you simply cannot find a grant that you qualify for, don't give up yet. There are several private organizations such as Idea Cafe and Startup America that are looking for business ventures to invest in. My particular favorite is Startup America. Started in January, 2011, they are committed to helping entrepreneurs start companies.

You may encounter scams while searching for grants - telephone calls to entice you, infomercials that look like TV programs with celebrities, "You're Invited" seminars that offer a big-time sales pitch. Don't be fooled by promises to get you tons of free money from Uncle Sam. It simply isn't true. And don't ever give out information like your credit card number or bank account number. There is no charge for applying for a grant.

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