Thursday, November 10, 2005

How To Get A Grant To Start/Open Your Own Business

Well the first thing that you are going to have to do is to find out what grant programs are available to start/open your own business.  Although it would seem that the best way to start would be to first decide on what kind of business you want to start the reality is that you are going to have to tailor your business to the grant program(s) that you are eligible to apply for.

The exception to the above of course are the funding programs that are geared specifically to starting/opening a business - especially when you are a woman or a minortiy.  Usually these kind of funding programs require that you submit a business plan as part of the application process.  There are a number of entrepreneurial funding programs whose objective is to help fund new businesses.  Some of these are competitions where your application will not be the only one submitted and you stand the best chance of winning the competition if your business plan is well thought out - remember you have to look at it from the viewpoint of the committee/group that will be judging and deciding on whose business plan best meets the objective of the program or competition that is doing the sponsoring/funding.

There are funding programs that will provide money to live on while you get training to run your own business.  You can be as young as 12 years old and receive grant money to start a business in a rural area.  If you just need a few thousand dollars to start your business there are nonprofit groups that provide funding for this.  For women there is a grant program that will provide $500 - $3,000 in startup grant money BUT you have to become a member BUT membership is free.  There is also a grant program in New York that was started by a couple to help those that are struggling to start their own busines.  This grant program provides up to $1,000 in start-up grant funding.  There is also a government program that provides funding to low-incomed people to start their own businesses (to help make them self-sufficient).

There are other routes you can take to be eligible to apply for grant funding such as adding a non-profit aspect to your business.

For example, a relative of a neighbor of mine wants to start her own flower business.  Would she be able to apply for a grant to start her business?  Of course the answer is yes BUT it will depend on HOW she applies.  She just can't blindly apply to the government and say that she wants x amount of dollars to start her business.  But what she can do is first apply to the entrepreneurial grant programs like the ones I mentioned above that require at least a business plan to apply.  So let's say that she doesn't have a business plan - then what?  She can go online and find examples and templates for almost any kind of business that there is and apply it to her own business.  Next she should apply to the women related funding programs that are out there and since she is also a minority she should apply for those funding programs as well.  (There is no limit on the number of grant programs that you can apply for as long as you are eligible for them and the programs themselves state explicidly that you can't).  Next she should apply for the funding programs that are available for her area.  Not every area will have the same kind of funding program or they may but it will be under a different name.  Next she can apply for the funding programs that are specifically related to her business.  How deep is her knowledge of flowers?  Do you know that there is a grant program that provides funding to research weeds?  How about funding to research the local plants and vegetation in the area - there are some grant funding programs for that as well.  And lastly she can add a non-profit aspect to her business as well such as teaching, providing lectures, classes and the like.

It may seem like a lot of work to do and it IS!  But if she is serious enough about wanting grant funding to start her business this is what she is going to have to do.

Receiving grant funding will also add prestige to your business and may open the door for you to receive more funding as well.


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pignoot said...

just wanted to say a quick thanks. i'm planning on opening up a coffee shop or a website related to photography and need a grant. let me know if you have more info. my email is i check it daily

thanks & gb

Rose said...

There are so many grants that are related to photography that it isn't even funny! You stand a greater chance of grant funding if your photography is related to some kind of historical aspect but its not just limited to that. Other opportunities lie with marine life, biology/plant life. There are grant funding opportunites for this. You just have to know where to start looking at.

As far as the "coffee" house aspect goes there are grant funding programs that fall under the category of "entrepreneurial" grants - those are the ones that you should be looking into. If you can provide an educational aspect to your business you will be more eligible for funding programs. And the same thing applies when you combine both a profit and non-profit aspect to your business - which is starting to become very popular with businesses.

You have a lot of funding resources that you can be eligible for - if you plan them correctly.

Don't let anyone tell you there aren't any grant funding opportunities out there. There is even an article that I mention in my blog about people relying too much on grant funding!