By Elizabeth Thomas
Everyone knows that it takes money to make money. But what happens if you just don't have the cash you need to start a business?
If you're an enterprising entrepreneur who needs money to start a business, or to expand your existing business, you need to know about the free small business grants program. Many states offer small business grants, allowing novice business owners the chance to start or improve their ventures. Others provide financial assistance in the form of loans or incentives for small businesses. It requires relatively little effort to apply for small business grants, and the payoff can mean the difference between failure and success.
In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers small business grants to individuals who have good ideas pertaining to security-related innovations. Through the DHS Small business Innovation Research, small business grants are offered to qualifying businesses in the United States with 500 or fewer employees. An initial small business grant of up to $100,000 is available, allowing applicants six months to conduct the research required to prove the scientific, technical and commercial values of their concepts. If the DHS approves the proposal, the successful company may then apply for two-year free small business grant to develop prototypes of the product. Proposals must fall into one of the following categories: information technology, marine security or chemical and biological defense.
The federal government does not provide free small business grants; however a number of state-run development agencies do offer grants and other forms of financial assistance to help budding entrepreneurs start or expand their small businesses. Economic development agencies that extend small business grants exist in Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, New Hampshire and New Mexico. Other states offer financing and technical training services to individuals who want to go into small business.
Even though the federal government does not provide individuals with small business grants, it has spearheaded efforts to support individuals starting small businesses, through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Through the SBA, the U.S. government extends very attractive loan packages, along with the necessary technical support and training, to help small business owners succeed. The SBA was established in 1953, and has helped thousands of budding American entrepreneurs develop their small businesses. SBA offices can be found in every state, and work in cooperation with various lending, non-profit and educational and training organizations nationwide.
Small businesses account for more than half of the nation's gross domestic product, and continuously generate new jobs for the U.S. economy. With these facts in mind, the SBA intends to reach the 25 million small businesses that employ more than fifty percent of the total private industries work force.
With the huge contribution small businesses give to the U.S. economy, it is imperative that proper assistance and guidance be provided for individuals engaged in small business. Small business grants are small but important benefits given to these deserving individuals.
If you are a U.S. citizen with dreams of making it big in business, and a budget that requires you to start out small, look to your state government for information on how you can benefit from small business grants.
About the author:
Elizabeth Thomas contributes articles to several well-known Internet magazines, on home business tips and small business and technology issues.