Finding the financial capital to begin your own small business can be one of the biggest challenges and is most often the first thing that needs to be taken care of. Fortunately, there is an abundance of funds available for those who qualify for public or private grants. A grant is generally more appealing than a loan for the simple reason that it does not have to be repaid. Learn the basics of how to qualify for small business grants to get your dream of owning your own business under way.
Research within your region to find out what agencies offer grants to small businesses. All states have some form of resources for small businesses, which may include grants. Even if there are no state-provided grants, government employees should be able to put you in touch with organizations providing private grants. Find out their specifications, and if your business qualifies, start the application process.
Check online resources for databases of grant providers. Start with the "Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance " (see Resources below).
Demonstrate the uniqueness of your proposed business. What can you provide that is different from others in the same line of business? Is there a unique need you will serve? Why will your business stand out in the sea of competition?
Show with research, including any applicable statistics, why your business is needed in the particular area. Let the grantors know why and how your business will fill a void in the community.
Give information regarding how your business will serve a minority or disadvantaged segment of the community. For example, if your business will help the elderly with low-cost meals or provide resources for women in domestic abuse situations, point this out to the grant officers.
Include a well-crafted, detailed business plan with your grant application. It is critical to demonstrate you have considered and planned for all aspects of your business. Be sure to address each cost item and explain its function. For information on how to write a business plan, look to the Small Business Administration (see Resources below).