Government Grants – Free Money?

Government grants for small businesses are frequently brought as a solution for entrepreneurs looking for funding.  It is often perceived to be an easy, low-risk way to get “free money.”  Although I already knew the basics about small business grants, I decided to research this option and compare it to the sort of  small business cash advance option offered by us.

Government grants are not offered by the Federal Government, rather by State agencies.  Federal assistance for small businesses is offered through attractive (but hard to get) loans for small businesses through the SBA.

Grants have very specific eligibility criteria, and are often limited to businesses in the fields of medicine or education.  Eligibility can be based on a combination of factors including location, years in business, gender, race, sales revenue to date, and purpose of funding.  The time needed to spend just to find appropriate grants and review their eligibility requirements can be prohibitive, even for those involved in more common grant fields.

Before deciding to invest the time and effort in getting a government grant, I suggest looking over the following checklist:

· You have enough time and/or the resources to perform a search for a small business grant program that you qualify for and to apply for the grant.

· You can learn the process for grant application by yourself, or you are able and willing to hire a grant consultant.

· You can wait up to a year to receive the money you need.

· Your business will not be unduly damaged by the time you spend during the grant process.   This is time that could otherwise be spent selling and/or marketing your product /services.

· You can take the risk that after all the time you invest in the grant application process, your application could still be denied.

When I reviewed the process for grants, I immediately was reminded that there is no such thing as free money!  With that in mind, the business cash advance program becomes very attractive:

· The only eligibility requirement is that your business has been accepting credit card payments for at least four months. 

· The longest our clients wait to get cash is a week. 

· No one ever has to hire a consultant to assist in getting a business cash advance.

For more information on Government Grants for Small Business by state, check out this list of State grant agencies.

Or, you could follow this link for more information on Small Business Cash Advance.

Resources for Women with Small Businesses

For all those female entrepreneurs out there, here are some great resources that I found compiled on the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership site.  Some, like the library and courses, are good for all you entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.  Many of these organizations are great ways to network, in addition to the specific benefits and resources that they offer.

Here is the list from the SBA site:

Women Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century National Women’s Business Council Gateway for women-owned businesses selling to the government Association of Women’s Business Centers Business Gateway National Association of Women’s Business Owners National Association for Female Executives National Foundation of Women Business Owners SBA Library Free Online Courses SCORE Small Business Development Centers

FastUpFront is also great cash flow resource for small business owners of any gender, providing Cash Advances for Small Business Owners.