Woman Small Business Grants
by Amy Finley
If you’re a woman and are considering starting your own business, you may have seen ads for free grant money. The good news is that some of them do exist. The bad news is that they may take a little bit of effort on your part.
First off, while federal grant money for small businesses are relatively rare, state agencies may have more to offer in this area, especially for a minority or a woman. Small business grants may be found if you check with state offices under headings of ‘Commercial Development,’ ‘Trade and Commerce,’ ‘Economic Development,’ or ‘Department of Commerce’ to see what kind of grants are available in your state. Many do offer financial programs to qualifying individuals. Check to see if there are particular programs available if you are a woman. Small business grants may be available as well as loans.
Other options are foundations, corporate, affiliate, and member programs for woman small business grants. If you are going to be marketing a certain company’s product, it can’t hurt to do a little digging and find out if they offer any grants to help small businesses succeed. You might find a grant available in an unlikely place. (Our life insurance company, for example, offers grants for returning adult students).
Nothing Stops Today’s Busy woman. Small Business Grants and Paperwork…
You’re a busy woman. Small business grants can be time consuming, both to find and apply for. Those available through state and other programs often require detailed applications and other paperwork to deal with when applying. Today, there are many resources available that can help you not only find the places where grants might be hiding, but also help you with the application process. Checking into these resources may be key to helping you establish your own business.
Backpack vs. Briefcase
Another aspect to consider if you are starting your own business is the availability of grants for education and job training. (My first two years of college were primarily funded through grants). Education grants may be more numerous than woman small business grants, and may help you establish a stronger business in the long run.
Take an inventory of your current skills and make sure you are confident in your endeavor. If taking a few classes will boost your confidence and make you more business savvy, it may be beneficial to trade the briefcase for a backpack for a while. Chances are, if you’re a woman, small business grants may take second place to the grants available for education, so you may gain valuable skills and education without it costing you a penny.
Woman Small Business Loans vs. Woman Small Business Grants
Another option you may want to consider when starting your own business is getting a loan. These are available through both the government and through financial institutions. You may be able to apply for a small business loan even if your credit isn’t top-notch. With a loan, you are receiving money that you will have to pay back with interest, but you can make your own decisions on how to use your money.
While you’re not required to pay grant money back, you often have to account for even minor expenditures to someone else, so there are pros and cons associated with both woman small business loans and woman small business grants.
If You’re Willing to Work…
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you are already illustrating that you’re willing to work hard. If you do a little digging (made easier by the wide availability of grant resource materials today), you may find money to educate you for or finance your small business. Good Luck!
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