There are a number of infomercials and advertisements about how you can acquire free funds because of the hundreds of government grants available to start a business.
But it is important to note that while there are indeed business grants out there, only a few are directed towards individuals, and fewer still are created for personal financing needs or for creating a new business.
With that said, there are some government grant programs that can actually help you with your business. Listed below are some of the common categories where you would be eligible to apply for government grants:
- Government institutions and agencies
- Educational organizations, including private and public controlled academic institutions and independent school districts
- Public housing organizations
- Community developmental groups and minority betterment organizations
- Non profit organizations duly recognized by the IRS and institutions of higher education.
For small business owners, government grants are given to those whose enterprises fit the definition of a small business as structured by the Small Business Administration (SBA). While sizes and standards may vary, the basic guidelines set by the SBA are as follows:
- For companies involved in manufacturing and small-scale mining, number of employees must not exceed 500
- For companies belonging to the wholesale industry, number of employees must not exceed 100
Again, company sizes may vary as well as net worth and profits gained in the last few years. It is best that you consult with an SBA official first and determine the size of your company before you apply for a government grant for your small business.
Among the most popular government grants aimed towards small business owners is the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG). However, it is not money directly given to small business owners, but rather to rural public bodies, rural nonprofit corporations, rural Indian tribes, and cooperatives with members who are involved in commerce that benefits the whole community. The RBOG is a grant aimed to fund training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials.
The Women’s Business Center Initial Grant is another popular grant that is geared for small businesses, particularly women-owned business ventures. Like the RBOG, the Women’s Business Center Initial Grant is given to non-profit organizations rather to business owners but with purpose of giving technical assistance to female entrepreneurs, both emergent and established in the fields of finance, management, and marketing.
Truth be told, it’s very rare that a starting business owner can find government grants to start a business. The US Government does not easily hand out free money for personal financing purposes. It instead tends to give financial assistance that can benefit the whole community. This is precisely why it’s critical to find the right business loan from the right bank.