Grant financing assistance for a struggling small business may be provided by many sources, including the government. Searching for small-business grants requires an understanding of where to find them. A struggling small-business owner should also prepare for grants by establishing written documents that detail his background, business and the issues that have created problems.
Grant Preparation Procedures
Anyone offering small business grants wants to know about you and your business, and whether you can handle money. If you can, you should have a credit score of over 650. You must write a business plan that has three sections. The first is a description of the business, including the issues that have created the business problems, its products, and its management’s training and skills.
The second section deals with an analysis of your market. The third part details past and projected financial statements, including income and expenses, and balance sheets that reveal assets, debts and owner investment. The statement of grant amount needed and its purpose should be included with the financial documents.
Locating Grants for a Struggling Small Business
There are a number of online grant sites that require a fee to join their systems for finding and accessing grants. Do not use them. There are two free sites, Grants.gov and the U.S. Small Business Administration loans and grants search tool, that identify many grants.
Grants.gov provides access to over 900 grant programs offered by 26 federal agencies that give over $300 billion in grant funds annually. However, most of these grants go to state and local governments, universities, nonprofit groups and other organizations. A small business, especially a nonprofit, may find grants that it can apply for, but it will take time and effort to find them.
SBA Search Tool
The SBA search tool for grants and loans is much broader in its coverage than Grants.gov. It can be focused by specific criteria, such as gender, state, industry, minority and veteran status, and nonprofit. A majority of the government grants go to nonprofit organizations and government agencies, not to a for-profit small business. This search tool does provide state-specific grant sources, private grant programs and angel fund investors, as well as special loan programs for small business.
Local Grant Sources
The most productive grant search strategy will involve a local effort. There are local groups, such as chambers of commerce, economic and business development agencies that are knowledgeable about state initiatives to support small business. If grants are available, they will know about them. A local business attorney or accountant will also be a good source. of information.
The U. S. Small Business Administration maintains a network of local Small Business Development Centers. A local counselor will assist you in preparing a business plan, identify local sources of financing, including grants, if available. He will want you to identify the reasons the business is struggling, and how the grant will resolve the problems. By Quentin Webb
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