Misnomers abound in the sometimes confusing world of grant-making, and many times people get the impression that easy private foundation and federal government money is available in the form of grants to start a business. Now, that’s not to say that they don’t exist, but simply put, it’s just that business startup grants are honestly few and far between.
Starting a business is labor intensive and requires that influx of initial capital to get things going. Here, we take a quick look at real-world alternatives available to almost anyone looking for grants to start a business which are offered by private foundations and good old Uncle Sam.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word grant as: A sum of money given by an organization, especially a government, to be used for a particular purpose. In that light, we need to expand our vocabulary when looking for business startup grants from the federal government to include cooperative agreements, procurement contracts and other little known, but available private instruments when looking for grants to start a business.
Some business startup grants are available through state and local programs. For example, some states provide grants for expanding child care centers; creating energy efficient technology and developing marketing campaigns for tourism. These start up grants for business are not necessarily free money and they usually require the recipient to match funds, or even combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a SBA loan. The amount of the grant money available varies with each business startup.
Federal cooperative agreements can be had by business startups if you are willing to allow Uncle Sam business to share in all profits equally. This is a vehicle where you as a business owner can indeed locate that alternative elusive business startup grants capital.
Even the smallest business startups are allowed to bid to supply goods and services to government workers, military personnel and all ancillary personnel using procurement contracts. Imagine the United States government as a very large city, and as a large city, everything a city needs to operate is needed. Providing the federal government with needed goods and services via procurement contracts are a viable and profitable alternative to business startup grants.
Federal start up grants for business are available to a very select subset of the American population, such as Native Americans currently living on existing reservations and to a very small number of businesses.
Private foundations can be an excellent resource for grants to start a business, if you look carefully. Some of the most active private foundations such as the Campbell Soup Foundation provide partial grants to start a business in the form of cash to hire teenaged workers. The Clorox Company Foundation has been known to provide partial business startup grants to small businesses that also cater to local youth. The Tesoro Foundation provides small cash awards to specific minority-based businesses.
The bottom line is easy private foundation and federal government money is selectively available in the form of grants to start a business for those who take the time to learn the process and know where to look for business startup grants.