Small business grants can be elusive, and the lure of free money has been exploited by scammers who pocket fees from would-be entrepreneurs. But legitimate grant sources do exist, and Gabrielson’s persistence and creativity in seeking funding sources helped him land one.
Entrepreneurs seeking grant funding must be careful, though, not to fall victim to a scam. The truth about small business grants is that they can be challenging to find and secure. “Most small businesses do not qualify for government grants,” warns the SBA on its website.
Hal Shelton, a SCORE certified mentor and author of The Secrets to Writing A Successful Business Plan agrees. He offers several tips to help small business owners avoid getting ripped off:
- You need to apply for a grant. Grants never appear at your doorstep as a surprise. If someone says they have something for you but you never applied for it, it’s likely a scam.
- To apply for a federal grant is free. If someone says you need to pay an application fee, 99.99% chance it is a scam.
- Grants are made for some public purpose. It’s public money, so if there is any indication the money is for your personal use, it’s probably not legit.
- Often the caller will say they are from the Federal Grants Administration. While it sounds impressive, there is no such thing.
“If you get an overture, and you think it might have some chance (of being legitimate), ask for that information in writing. Chances are, you will never hear from them,” Shelton says.
Resources for Finding Grants
Looking for grants for your small business? Consider these resources:
- Grants.gov allows you to search for federal grants.
- Check with state and local economic development agencies for information about grants offered to businesses in your county, state or region. If you’re willing to relocate, broaden your search.
- Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE office, Women’s Business Center, Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC), and/or SBA regional office, which may provide information about opportunities available in your area. (This interactive map from the SBA can help you locate these offices.)
- If your business is involved in scientific or technology research and development, check out the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant programs. The SBIR Road Tour is bringing informational events to communities across the US in 2016.
Curated from How to Nab a Small Business Grant
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