Business Start up Grants

An individual shows an interest in beginning his or her own business.   The person shows an entrepreneurial spirit, something truly needed in today’s economy.  Please before anything else:  Start with the Vision of the business, put it to paper, and then develop both a Business Plan and Five Year Strategic Plan.  While an Angel Investor shows interest in the Business and the Five Year Strategic Plans, another individual may want to know where the business plans to be in, say, ten or twenty years, wants to understand the vision of the business in order to appreciate it more fully!

Once these essential paperwork matters are dealt with by the potential business owner, the next logical question is:  How does the business secure start up funds?  If there is no ready capital, and the prospect of securing a loan is unwanted or doubtful, business start up grants are available.  These start-up grants are available through the federal, state and local levels.

If one goes to the Small Business Administration (SBA), an individual will discover that this agency does not fund start-up grants for small businesses.  It provides low-interest loans for such purposes.  However, and this is just as important, the SBA does have access to numerous resources that the daunting entrepreneur should use in order to obtain information on business start up grants.

A good place for a woman to start is with the Women’s Financial Fund.  This fund awards grants to both new and existing women’s business enterprises.  Women needing start up funds can apply, and if the grant is awarded, receive from $100 to $5,000.00 to jump start the business.   There are no restrictions on what kind of woman-owned business can receive such a grant:  all business types are encouraged including “network marketing companies and service-oriented businesses.”

While a few federal agencies provide business start-up grants, e.g., the United States Department of Health and Human Services, failure to strictly comply with how awarded funds are expended can lead to trouble.  Funds must be used for what they are designated: not for personal use.  If a small business owner uses such funds for personal reasons not associated with the small business, this is fraud and will be dealt with accordingly.  Always understand eligibility and stipulations.  Start right, end right!

While the term “free” is readily associated with grants, and particularly business
start up ones, it is important to read the “fine print.”  Not all grants have a no-strings attached clause – some require a payback.   These paybacks can include:  a repayment of the entire grant, a return on the initial investment by the grantor, or a request by the grantor to have some kind of representation in the business.  Therefore, be careful.  Verify, and re-verify the terms of the business start up grant.

Grants to start businesses are extremely helpful.  These funds can purchase equipment upgrades to the renting of office space.  And such grants, most assuredly,
reduce the cost of out-of-pocket expenses!

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