The idea that there are millions of dollars in grant funds — free money — waiting for the small business owner to tap into them is true and at the same time, not true.
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In most cases, grant funds are not meant to start a new organization. There are a number of specialized companies that may qualify for start-up money, but 99.9% of the companies in the Yellow Pages are ineligible to get start-up funding.
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Yet there are millions of dollars available to help fund existing small businesses and employment programs, especially in the non-profit stadium. The trick is to have the ability to study grants and find those that are most aligned with your company’s mission and/or job.
Grants fall into two categories: corporate and government. All of them come with strings attached and very specific requirements for those who will be given the funds. Funders look for companies and organizations that already exist, that will use the money for a worthwhile job, i.e. jobs in inner cities, supplying training to technical classes, etc., and that will develop a self-sustaining program.
For small companies that are looking for funding for growth or for equipment purchases, it takes a creative mind to discover a grant that could apply to your specific needs while filling the requirements of the grant funders. That’s where the assistance of a professional grant writer are invaluable.
By way of example, a firm might want grant money to fund an expansion of their sales force and they will need to add more space in addition to hire more people. Well, a for-profit business may not be eligible for any grant money. However, the business could form a non-profit agency that trains veterans or welfare mothers in sales skills, leases or buys space to accommodate the workers and gives the new trainees somewhere to work by leasing them to the for-profit company.
For those who don’t need to do it themselves or who do not have enough time to do it themselves, they can hire a professional grant writer to research and write the grant proposal. An organization will generally pay between $1,000 – $3,000 for a comprehensive grant proposal as well as higher for large proposal amounts. The trick is to understand how to present your needs in a way that best aligns with the grant funder’s mission. It is not easy, but it is absolutely attainable and very much worth the effort.