Finding small business grant funding to start a business can be challenging, as most grant programs prioritize established businesses. These businesses are less risky and more likely to achieve the desired outcomes and goals of the the granting organization. Securing a government small business grant can be even more challenging due to the amount of documentation and paperwork required., but don't despair! There are avenues and pathways for tapping into small business grant funding that often go unexplored.
Tap Into Direct and Non-Direct Government Funding and Resources
Take advantage of free advice, mentorship and sometimes funding offered by organizations that get government grant funding to support small businesses. When you are just getting started, sound advice and direction can be as valuable as cash. Some of the resources of indirect and direct grants available include:
- Small Business Innovation Research Grants
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Women's Business Centers
- SBA InnovateHer Challenge
- Minority Business Development Agencies
- SBA Small Business Development Centers
- State and local economic development offices
- Community Development Financial Institutions
- Public state and local college entrepreneurship programs
Insider Tips To Improve Your Odds Of Success
Keena Smith, CEO of The Women's Center For Economic Opportunity and former government executive shared her knowledge with us during a Get The Bag IG Live Grant Chat. Some of our takeaways from that chat:
- Get to know your public officials and make sure they know you
- Attend public meetings and make your presence known -win friends by complimenting what is working well locally
- Read the annual budget to familiarize yourself with hidden funding and contract opportunities
- Set up Google Alerts for "government business grant funding", "American Rescue Plan", "local government small business grants"
- Make sure your local and state taxes are paid before submitting an application to local and state governments
Invite your public officials to attend your community gatherings and meet with fellow start-up business owners to share your needs and learn more about their plans. They welcome the opportunity to meet and learn from as many community stakeholders as possible. Be sure to follow-up and stay in touch.
Join your local Chamber and Black, Latino, Asian or Women's Chamber to benefit from insider information they often have exclusive access to. Many of these chambers of commerce employ government relations officials whose job is to ensure that government officials keep the needs and priorities of the chamber members and businesses top of mind and understand what policy changes, funding opportunities and business opportunities may be in the works.
As is the case with almost anything related to starting and running a business, securing free grant money is a competitive and challenging process, but if you create a system, tap into all of the resources and persist, you will win! Get The Bag offers resources to help you with your small business grant and business funding search. Subscribe to never miss a post!