Small Business Federal Grants – Is It Really True?
Contrary to what most people think, there are no small business grants offered by the federal government. What the United States government has is a Small Business Association whose responsibility is to provide assistance to small businesses.
In the midst of a great economic crisis hampering the country, small business owners are looking for ways on how to keep their business thriving. But the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loan programs which small businesses can take advantage and get help from.
It is true that the U.S. government do offer federal grants, but grants are geared towards public services. Which is why most grant recipients have projects geared towards the improvement and development of the public’s interest and services received. Federal grant recipients are non-profit, non-government institutions and organization, local and state governments, not personal businesses.
It is clearly stated in federal grants regulations, that the grants received cannot be used for personal expenditures or cover expenses to acquire property or pay for any service like salary. But the U.S. government do reward grants in the field of research and other specific services. This could be a big benefit for small companies or industries who are trying to improve their services. Federal grants can also help those business owned by the minorities, like women and the disabled.
An example of this research funding is called Small Business Innovation Research program. This program provides financial assistance to cover the research and development, sales, marketing and other start-up costs. This program was established by Congress in 1982 and is re-authorized through 2008. It started with the goal of inviting more participation from small scale businesses.
SBIR intends provides capital to small scale business owners to develop product concepts, promoting competition and into more sales in the market. But the good thing about this program is that they do not require the grants to be paid or any position or partaking in the company.
Private grants or loans done by private institutions to small scale businesses often require the intellectual property rights (IPR) to be transferred to their names. But the SBIR does not require the IPR to be transferred to their ownership.
Currently, there are still no direct business grants provided by the federal government. But there are state agencies that offer small business grants in the their respective states. Aside from grants, they also offer other kinds of financial aids which encourage business owners to start or expand their businesses.
Another grant is the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This only encourages small businesses to conduct more product research to improve their market shares. The different with SBIR is that under the STTR, the small business should work or collaborate with another institution, preferably with anon-profit institution like a university.
Federal grants can also provide grants for expanding or creating a child care center, creating energy efficient technology and developing campaigns that would promote tourism. There would be times that the money received from the grant to match the fund or sometimes get the matching fund from a loan.
When applying for a grant for your business:
• Write a good business plan, this would make sure that you business looks deserving for the group that would provide funding. Show how your business can benefit from the funding, so make sure to show how relevant the grant is to your business objectives.
• Always provide the correct information when filling out the grant application. Review the application to make sure that you have not missed anything and that you have provided the accurate information.
• Don’t hesitate to ask somebody to check the plan for you. You can ask for assistance from a financial consultant or a certified accountant.
• Grant approval will take time, do not lose hope and also be visible. Maintain communication with the people behind the federal grant in a very professional way.