Small Business Grant
Tim and Merlie Mayer asks:
Where can a business owner get a grant or loan for their business? What are the best resources available?
For grants, your best bet is to check your local city or county. Sometimes there are programs — either in the form of outright grants, or low cost or subsidized loans, or tax incentives — at the local level. The criteria will vary for qualifying. Programs may be available for businesses located in certain geographical sectors targeted for renewal or redevelopment, or based on other circumstances such as for minority business owners, or for startups in certain industries. Locate your local economic development office — they can help you find what’s available. Either call your local government office and ask to be transferred to Economic Development, or do a search in a search engine for “economic development office” and your location.
If you are having trouble locating an economic development office for your local town, I recommend you contact your local SCORE office or Small Business Development Office (SBDC) office. Find your local office at: http://www.score.org/ or http://www.asbdc-us.org/, respectively. Either one will be staffed with volunteers who can give you free information about what’s available and help you sort through the options. In fact, some people prefer to start there first.
Don’t bother looking at the Federal level. Unless you run a highly specialized technology businesses, there are few options available at the Federal level. Another bit of advice: don’t pay for private services you find online that promise to find you grants. They are not helpful for most small businesses. Some are outright scams.
As far as loans, the best option is to start with your bank. You will have the best chance at a loan through a bank you already do business with. If that doesn’t work out, here again the local SBDC or SCORE office may be able to point you to other local banks that may be receptive. If you are looking for broader options, try a lending matchmaking service like Biz2credit.com. Sometimes they can help if your local banker can’t.
Category: Ask an Expert