Starting a business or getting a business to grow beyond its initial year can be challenging, especially when funds are an issue. This is why a lot of small business owners often use up their own savings to fund their business. Others use their credit cards, or take out a loan. The downside to this is that they will incur interest while they repay their debt. This can make it more difficult to funnel all your resources into improving your business.
Luckily, business owners can turn to grants. Grants are funds that are awarded to individuals or groups that do not require repayment of the awarded amount. Because it is essentially free money, competition for business grants is fierce, and business owners will need to put in a lot of hard work into proving that they are deserving of the grant. The results can be worth the hard work though.
Here are a few places where you can apply for a grant:
If you have plans to create an initiative or a program that will benefit the general public or stimulate the economy, you may want to consider applying for a federally sponsored grant through Grants.gov.
The website lists the many federal grants that are available to the public, so it might take awhile before you find a grant that you qualify for. The upside to this is that the website is essentially a database of grant-making agencies, so you can also use the agency list to find grants that are specifically geared towards the purpose of your program or initiative.
2. FedEx Small Business Grant
The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest provides funding to 10 small businesses with cash grants of up to $50,000 plus FedEx print and business services up to a specific amount.
In order to apply, you need to write a short profile about your business, highlighting the uniqueness of your business. Explain how you would use the money you might win. Including photos and a short video about your business will help increase your chances of clinching one of the prizes. The contest also has a social factor, so getting more people to vote for your pitch will help you be more noticeable to the judges.
3. Idea Cafe Grant
The Idea Cafe Small Business Grant Program is a way for small businesses or individuals with dreams of starting a business to get the funding they need to get their vision moving forward. Winners of the Idea Cafe Small Business Grant Program will receive $1,000 worth of cash grants to one individual on an annual basis.
To apply for the grant, you don’t need to pay an entry fee or purchase anything to be eligible. Interested individuals can fill out the application form that’s available at the Idea Cafe website.
4. National Association for the Self-Employed
The National Association for the Self-Employed awards cash grants of up to $4,000 on a monthly basis to help support the growth of businesses.
To be eligible for a NASE business development grant, you must be a member of NASE. You can access the members’ page to apply for a grant. NASE will then award a candidate every month with a cash grant to be used for marketing, advertising, hiring, or other business needs.