Sometimes even the best business concepts don’t come to fruition due to lack of funding. Lending sources may refuse funding for multiple reasons. For example, you could have a strong business plan but can’t qualify for traditional bank financing because you lack sufficient collateral. Or maybe you can’t come up with a sizable down payment, or your business doesn’t have a long enough track record. See How Can You Increase Your Chances of Getting a Business Loan? for more information.
Fortunately, there are grant programs available through government agencies and private organizations. Here are five of the top sources of small business grants:
1. The Small Business Administration. While the SBA does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, it can help connect you with government resources for business grants. Visit its Federal Grant Resources page for more information.
2. Grants.gov. You can find and apply for more than 900 different grants from 26 government agencies.
3. State economic development agencies. Each state has an agency that administers business grants. Agency names vary by state, but usually the Department of Commerce or Economic Development Agency is responsible for disbursing business grants. About.com has assembled a list of links to these agencies’ Web sites here. Find out about Minority Business Loan Programs.
4. Economic Development Directory. This site hosts an extensive directory of more than 2,000 economic development agencies, consultants, and associations worldwide. Links are constantly being updated, providing access to economic development information for business people, real estate departments, consultants, and brokers.
5. The Foundation Center. This subscription service also offers an extensive amount of free information. It also offers a helpful online orientation to grant seeking, which will take you through the funding research process step by step. The subscription fee entitles you to access its directory of more than 80,000 grant makers.