Women entrepreneurs in today’s business world

In recent searches, I’ve only found government grants available to colleges and large corporations. Where might I find government grants available to women in small businesses?
Thank you

One Response to “Looking for a grant for women in small business…?”

  • Henry says:

    Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: there is no such thing as free money from the federal government to start or expand your small business.

    Does that mean all those ads for books, seminars and courses claiming to help you tap into little-known programs are wrong? It depends. While there are some patently false and misleading advertisers out there, most “free money” pitches simply do not tell the entire story. There is a reason why the proverbial “fine print” is so small.

    True, many government agencies provide grants to small businesses, as do private organizations and institutions. But as home-business-savvy.com notes, “they generally direct their assistance toward specific projects, charities, lending institutions, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, etc. Very little money goes to individuals.”

    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an agency dedicated to the growth and success of the nation’s entrepreneurs, is no different. What few grant programs the SBA has are directed mainly to non-profits, intermediary lending institutions and programs administered by states and localities for purposes such as economic revitalization and technology research.

    Pay a Little, Get a Lot
    Now, for the good news. Though free government money may be a myth, the next best thing—a business loan with a favorable interest rate—is very real and very available to new and established small businesses. The SBA’s guaranteed loan program, for example, has helped millions of small businesses get off the ground, expand and acquire new facilities and equipment.

    To be sure, qualifying for a business loan or line of credit is far more complicated than, say, car financing or a home mortgage. Applicants must do their homework and make a strong case for the viability of their business plan. Properly prepared, a business loan application almost always succeeds, even when the applicant has few other financial resources to contribute.

    Specific types of small businesses may be able to take advantage of non-grant assistance programs administered by other federal agencies. The online Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is an ideal starting point. The searchable database lists all federal programs, eligibility requirements and contact information.

    No-Cost Alternatives
    Just because the government is not in the free money business doesn’t mean you can’t turn to other sources. Friends, relatives, employees, customers and colleagues may be willing to provide you with funds either as outright gifts or as no-interest loans payable “whenever.” However, such arrangements carry just as many risks—if not more—as business loans, and should always be approached with caution. For more information on borrowing money from friends and family, download a free copy of SCORE and CircleLending’s free Small Business Financing Guide.

    The ultimate source of free money, of course, is you. Personal savings, sales of possessions and other resources can generate the necessary start-up or expansion cash. There is a trade-off in that you may be risking your “cushion” against future needs (i.e., illness, family obligations, etc.). As such, careful consideration of your long-term financial position is a must.

    Don’t overlook other sources of financing that may be suitable to your small business goals—venture capital, equity, institutional investors and others. Each has unique risks and rewards that may or may not be suitable to your needs.

    And always remember that more often than not, a deal that promises access to free money is like any other claim that sounds too good to be true—it probably is

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