If you are looking for funding for an existing or new for-profit business, you may encounter difficulties in finding and getting a grant. Government grants are generally (though not always) given to non-profit organizations for programs and services that benefit the community or the public at large. This is the case even if your business is or will be woman-owned. minority-owned, or a start-up.
Unless your business involves scientific or other research, development of new technology or is a non-profit organization, you may spend many fruitless hours tryng to find funding. Despite what you may read on numerous websites, there are not millions of dollars that go unclaimed for new or small businesses, and what money there is, is not easy to get. This is especially true for first-time business grants or start-up grants.
You can’t get a small business grant by sending in a letter or a one-page form. If you do find a Government business grant that you are eligible for, you will need to prepare and submit a lot of documentation such as: (1) a needs assessment or background research; (2) a proposal that provides information on your objectives and how you will achieve them; (3) information on your staff or other personnel; (4) your experience in doing similar work; (5) a comprehensive budget; and (6) detailed financial statements. Basically, you will need to submit whatever documentation that an agency asks for as part of your application package. Business grants — like all other Government grants — are very competitive and application packages are reviewed very carefully by each agency. And, if you are fortunate enough to be awarded such a grant, you can’t spend the money however you want. You will need to follow specific accounting and other regulations, and you will have to submit regular reports to the funding agency.
Many people believe that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) gives Government grants to existing or new small businesses. But this is not true. The SBA does give grants to various educational organizations and non-profits, which then use that money to help small businesses by providing them with training and counseling services. But you cannot apply directly to the SBA for a business grant because the agency isn’t authorized to give them. However, you can apply for other types of financial assistance from the SBA, including various types of small business loans.