Business Expansion Grants

Are grants available for expanding businesses?  And if so, where can they be found?  Good questions for business people needing capital – to meet current needs and future demands.

Several different avenues exist to secure such grants.  They are:  federal, state, county, city, non-profit, and variations in-between.  Interestingly enough, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sets the criteria for what constitutes a “small business,” across several industry types, and this criteria is generally adhered to by all agencies that provide such grants.  Thus, it is vitally important that a business understands the basic definition as it applies to that industry’s type.

While this definition provides assistance for all concerned, a business may seek funds for any number of expansion reasons.  It is a community development business needing to provide additional transitional, veterans, disabled housing in an area that has a desperate need.  Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers such grants.  A business decides to expand its job training program to include the latest computer technology.  The Departments of Education and Labor provide such funding initiatives.  An environmental business on the cutting edge is expanding its green initiatives; funds are available through HUD and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  And these are only at the federal level!

States offer business expansion grant opportunities as well, so, once again, research is an important component in determining what is or is not available.  Some states offer funds for child care expansion, women business initiatives growth, and minority enterprises development. While the list is not endless it is very inclusive.  Don’t stop just because it appears difficult to find: a business needs to persevere in order to find the “right funding fit.”

Here, too, check in the unexpected places.  Some colleges and universities seek and obtain federal or state funding that is then channeled into an Economic Development Program sponsored by that particular educational institution.  The University of West Florida began accepting grant proposals for business development and research within an eight county area of northwestern Florida earlier this year.  While the funds are earmarked for specific business expansions, investigate!  Determine eligibility, and if eligible follow the proposal requirements, and submit.

County and city governments are good resources as well.  Some county governments offer funding to non-profit organizations that provide basic human services – food, clothing, housing, etc.  Such funding is generated through tax dollars, allocated by the state, and then administered through the county.  Many human-service oriented non-profits are expanding as demands increase.  Furthermore, some county and city governments actively assist businesses other than non-profits, grow and expand because they need such development:  to reduce unemployment rates and provide additional tax revenue.

Just remember:  Research, determine eligibility, apply, and then follow the requirements of that particular grantor.  Restrictions apply at all business expansion grant levels – adhere to and follow through.  The business may obtain the capital to expand and facilitate its initiatives.

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