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Grants

Most businesses need some capital to start up and expand.  Typically this comes from savings, home equity, or friends and family. The next most frequent source of funding is some kind of business loan. If you are considering a business loan it is a good practice to call the lender early and get their input. Most lenders want you to be successful and will be very clear what their requirements and timelines are. I would start with your own bank or credit union. If they do not do commercial business loans they will know who the lenders are that do in your community. Generally you will need some sort of business plan to get a business loan. Here are some tools to create a business plan: SBA's How to Write a Business Plan.

It is extremely rare that a “for profit” business gets any sort of government or grant funding.

Grants are generally intended to benefit humanity in some way or another. Non-profit companies and organizations use grant funding to deliver these benefits. Grants come from many sources. Charitable foundations, business groups, and the government are a few. In most cases grants are not to enrich an individual or individual business. In fact the feds are pretty direct in how they describe this... The U.S. government does not currently provide grants for starting or expanding a small business.

Having said all that... sometimes grants do happen. People sometimes get grant funding for activities which benefit groups of businesses or industries, or mankind in general. Industry specific grants can be researched through trade organization websites. You can check your city and county websites for things like business façade grants, or low interest redevelopment loans. The following are some additional links to conduct general grant research:

  • GovBenefits - This is a free, confidential tool that helps you find government benefits you may be eligible to receive.
  • CDFA.gov - Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.