With every small business that exists today, there is a small business owner who wonders how to get a small business grant. A grant is money that is given to big and small businesses for a specific purpose, and it is more times than not issued by the government. The great thing about grant money is that you do not have to pay it back. So where do you look to find this ever elusive, free government money?
The answer is not so cut and dry. As with any grant given out by the government, certain conditions must be met. It should be mentioned that it is very tough for a small business, especially one that is for profit, to gain a government grant, and at no time will a grant be issued to start up your small business, pay the debt of your small business, or to pay your small business’s operating expenses. A grant is given out for a specific purpose. For example, there is a federal grant given out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help ensure the preservation of the most endangered species of fish. If you run a clothing store, you simply aren’t going to be eligible for that grant. Grants are generally given to those businesses that can fulfill the grant requirements. That being said, there are possible opportunities for gaining government grants, you just have to know where to look.
There are several different ways to go about checking for government grants that your small business may be eligible for. Start with a basic Google or Yahoo search about the subject and go from there. One of the most popular resources available is Grants.gov where you can search and apply for government grants as follows:
Register at Grants.gov: The registration process can take a few days to a few weeks to complete, so you may have to be patient.
Search for Grants: Once you are registered you can search for possible grants that your small business may be eligible to receive.
Apply for the Grant: Once you find the grant you wish to apply for you can download the application package. Be sure to fill out the application completely and leave nothing blank. Once completed, return the grant package and play the waiting game.
Track your Application: Once your application has been submitted you can track it through the ‘track my application’ link that can be found on Grants.gov’s website. The process of review will vary from grant to grant, but with the tracking option at least you will know where you stand.
Remember, when it comes to free money being given out, the government is very particular. If you apply for a government grant that does not pertain to your small business, you are simply going to be wasting your time. If you do receive a grant, you can bet that government will watch you like a hawk to make sure that you do not misappropriate the money in any way shape or form. Again, grant money is given for a specific goal to be accomplished, not so that a small business owner can give himself or herself a raise or buy a new car. If the government finds that you have misappropriated the grant money, you may have to pay it back in full plus a penalty, so it is not even worth the risk to try to fool Uncle Sam. However, if your small business legitimately has something to offer society, then by all means go out and apply for your government grant and do your part to make the world a better place. Just remember though that there are no free lunches, especially when it comes to the government.
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