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Based on the state of your business, a grant is a more attractive alternative compared to traditional funding option like loans because it is essentially free money. Grants are awarded to businesses in need and unlike loans, grants don't have to be paid back. Grant money comes with no strings attached, it is not borrowed and has no interest attached to it.
THE BEST PLACES TO LOOK FOR GRANTS
So how does an entrepreneur get their hands on grant money and where can they look? The good news is you can find grants almost anywhere. From your local and state government to big corporations, and many, many other places - the opportunities these days seem to be endless. The key is to know where to look.
Here 7 places you can start looking for grants:
1. Federal Government - You should not let your organization or program miss out on this federal money. Sites like Grants.gov are a great free resource to find government funding opportunities.
2. Small Business Administration - This is normally the first place majority of small business owners look for grant opportunities and while it commonly known for its, loan programs, a number of grants are always listed.
3. State governments - There are other places than the federal government where you can look for grants. Programs for small business owners are available in every state.
4. Local governments - Check your local city, county, or municipality for potential grant opportunities.
5. It'$ My Money Newsletter - Yes, I gather and send them to all on our newsletter list. Some big companies run competitions and other programs to donate money to small business owners. Offerings from Visa, Hello Alice and many more. Do yourself and your business a favor and begin receiving our free newsletters.
Ensure that you are read and follow eligibility and guidelines for these grants. Some competitions have very specific eligibility conditions.
6. Demographic-based grants - Additionally, there are other possible funding options available to small business entrepreneurs, who are frequently underrepresented. Consider small business grants for veterans and women-owned businesses, as well as minority business grants. If you qualify for one of these grants, there are a few places to look, including:
You can also search within some of the bigger sites like Grants.gov for specialty grants for women, people of color, and veterans.
7. Networking with other nonprofit and civic leaders - Does your neighborhood host networking events or gatherings for charitable organizations? If so, talk to other NGOs to learn more about the potential in your area. You might learn about funding opportunities by word of mouth alone.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR GRANTS
Now that you know where to find the grants, the next step is to ensure that your business is beefed up to qualify for the grants.
Keep in mind that your business is not the only one vying for a particular grant so you must come prepared in order to make the cut.
Here a few steps you can follow as you prepare:
There is a great check list created by someone who has received tons of great dollars for her business. This list has helped so many.
To ensure you are top of your game, you can make additional steps and get expert opinion from individuals in the grant field as well as hiring a grant writer to showcase your grant proposal in a well put manner.
HOW GRANTS CAN HELP YOU OVERCOME A FINANCIAL DITCH
Due to the non-reapayable nature of grants, they can be of great value to your business by offering it a boost to operate. This was the case Charmane. H. Sellers who has been awarded a number of grants and shared how they have been such an important resource to her business. During the pandemic when majority of business were shut down, so was her construction company ALEON properties and this took a toll on how she managed the affairs of her business. Left with a handful of jobs, ALEON properties started working on small-sized jobs to ensure they stay afloat however as they kept going it became harder to stay open. With the help of a grant, ALEON properties was awarded, it was able to get right back on it’s feet and pull through.
Grants are also know to boost your business’s credibility as it is so competitive to secure a grant, is often seen as a great achievement for your business and increases your credibility. This is not only in the eyes of your target market but in potential funders and stakeholders enabling you to be well positioned in case you apply for grants in the future. It is clear how advantageous grants are to business due to the opportunities they provide therefore if you are willing to invest time into applying for one, go for it and be inspired by Charmane. H. Seller’s story by listening to her share it on The Money Exchange Podcast here
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