An Overview of Local Start Up Business Grants and Where How to Get Funding
Find local grants that help you achieve your goals from a myriad of sources. Our government offers grants to the start up business and new business ideas. This article details where and how to attain these grants at the local government level.
Grants come in a wide array of sizes, for a broad array of purposes, from a myriad of sources. While most grant information rests at the Federal level, there are plenty of other sources of funding for a business startup out there. This article will focus on getting grants from your local community.
First, there are sound reasons for your local chamber of commerce and better business bureau to offer grants for businesses to start up - businesses employ people, and boosting the local job market is one of the important things your city government does. Even if your business just employs two part time shipping clerks, it still makes sense for your local business development center to host a grant program to help new businesses start out.
Likely candidates names for your local municipality's business development center will be Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, or Small Business Development Corporation. In addition to grant proposals, most of them have extensive libraries on things like local tax regulations, federal and interstate and state regulations you need to concern yourself with, local labor laws, and how to get your jobs listed in the want ads and local unemployment center. There are also organizations run by retired businesspeople that offer classes in starting a business, including step by step instruction on how to set up a business plan, how to handle your first two years taxes (where the capital put into the business can offset the revenue generated) and more. You can find out more about what resources your local area has for instructing small businesses and incubating them by going to the public library, or checking out your city's web site.
To get a local grant, you're going to have to demonstrate a mixture of enthusiasm and hardheaded business sense. Passion counts, but so does a demonstrated ability to plan, as does focusing attention on how your business needs will tie to local suppliers and supply chains, and will provide jobs for local people. Many municipalities have something analogous to the Community Development Block Grant Loan Program. How this works is that the municipality or county applies for a grant (called a block grant) from the Federal Government to do local spurring of business development, and then uses that funding as seed capital to make low interest or short term loans to local businesses to help them start out, provided they hire low income people from the area.
Many larger cities have programs like the one in Seattle, where for businesses that will employ more than 100 people, and will need new construction, can get grants for new construction if the buildings are Green, or LEED certified, minimizing construction waste and power usage.
Many grants are tied to non-profit organizations. You don't have to be a non-profit organization to benefit from such a grant; you can work with a local NPO to get the grant, under an agreement where they'll use your firm for goods and services - this represents a triple win for the underwriting grant agency. It helps a non profit organization work on a project that ameliorates a problem they've been assigned money to fix, it helps you, by giving your company contracts for work to be done, and it helps the community by allowing you to hire more people to get the job done. The local restrictions on this sort of partnership are varied and numerous, and it's worth it to talk to someone at the local city hall to see what can and cannot be done without conflict of interest or collusion complications.
The last place to dig for grants (or the first one in some situations) is a local trade organization. If you're in a field with a vital services niche, and it's going unmet, it's not unreasonable to get grants from a business organization to open the type of business they support; it helps bring their profession into a higher profile, or represents moving into an untapped market to them.
All of these should help you find local grants that help you achieve your goals.
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