Whatever stage your business is in, having funds on hand is extremely important. To start your business, to expand your business and to navigate tougher times - having funds available to your business is the difference between a successful business, and one that flounders and fails. And there might be a way for you to earn some free money to keep your business up and running.
Grants are free money; you will never need to repay it, and many of them don’t restrict what you’re able to do with it. Receiving a grant is similar to having a rich benefactor - free money available to you just because you are who you are, with no strings attached.
Trouble is, there are no free money advertisements and (likely) no one will be walking through your door with the forms you need to fill out in order to be approved for a grant. To get one, you’re going to have to do a little bit of research.
There are plenty of grants available for women in business, businesses owned by veterans, and minority-owned businesses. If you’re an innovator, or in a specific field, like agriculture, there will be grants available. Green businesses right now qualify for very many grants.
So where do you get a grant from?
One of the largest and most well-known distributors of grants, of course, is the US federal government. Pay a visit to Grant.gov or USA.gov and poke around to see if there is information for grants that might apply to your business.
Given they are likely the biggest distributor of grants, the application process and the qualifications for them will seem daunting. The good news is that all the materials and research you need to apply for and successfully receive a government grant will be right there on those websites.
Smaller, more local government agencies typically offer grant money to businesses as well; though the smaller the agency, the smaller the amount of money you’re likely to receive. Your best bet might be to check in with a local chamber of commerce to learn more about these.
Finally, there are also grants provided by private parties. FedEx, Visa, and Walmart, for example, all offer small business grants through a competitions. Think of this more like applying for a scholarship.
The trick here is that the qualifications are a little more specific, and you’ll be actively competing against other businesses for a grant in that particular period.
That being said, trying to get any sort of grant money will be competitive. You’ll have to be sure to create a strong application and research exactly whatever agency you’re seeking funds from is looking for. But when free money is available, it can only help your business if you take advantage of every opportunity