Grants and Programs to Get Your Small Business up and Running

by Amos Z

Starting out as a small business is no easy task, and if your capital isn’t something to write home about, you’re definitely going to have a harder time than most getting your company off the ground.

Funding is one of the main issues small businesses face in the early stages, and it’s why so many first-time entrepreneurs give up at the first hurdle, not knowing that help is actually right around the corner.

With the help of the US Chamber of Commerce, business owners can take out loans or grants of varying sizes, based on their needs and the supposed requirements for their up-and-coming business.

The Chamber updates this list of loans and grants they offer on a weekly basis, and you’ll want to keep a close eye on the opportunities you may have to connect with programs and organizations that can offer you a helping hand.

Government-subsidized grants

The best way to begin your journey to entrepreneurship would be to look for government grants, and what better resource to use than Grants.

gov, where you’ll find the most comprehensive database of funds the federal government gives away to aspiring business owners.

You’ll soon notice that there are thousands of different grants to choose from, each with its own set of requirements and perks that are available to Americans and companies from all sorts of backgrounds.

It’s important to note that some of this funding doesn’t flow directly from the government to small businesses, but rather, it is distributed by a number of local and state agencies as well as nonprofits that are dedicated to this cause.

This way, they can ensure that the funds are given to those who actually need them or are used to cover the expenses of technical and educational assistance when it comes to running a business.

Contract assistance

Billions of dollars are spent on goods and services every year, with the majority of said money being spent through a highly competitive bidding process.

Due to their small equity, small businesses need a little push when it comes to this bidding, and it’s why programs have been created to aid them in competing for the federal dollars that the government offers.

A good example is the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, which focuses on providing at least 3% of these contracting dollars to qualifying businesses every year.

In order to be eligible for assistance through this program, at least 50% of the business must be owned by a qualifying person, which should also be involved in the day-to-day operations and the long-term goals of the business itself.

On the other hand, the Business Development Program seeks to provide assistance to small businesses owned by economically or socially disadvantaged Americans.

They do this by limiting the amount of competition such businesses are exposed to when bidding, and the only requirement is that the business is registered as an 8(a) entity.

National Resource Sales

Aside from the millions that go towards goods and services, almost an equal amount is spent on large quantities of natural resources and extra property that the government has on standby.

Because of this, the Natural Resource Sales Assistance Program was created, as it would allow a small percentage of these assets and properties to be set aside for small businesses to bid on, and sometimes, federal agencies would chip in on the action, dividing their surplus materials into smaller lots which makes it particularly easy for small businesses to purchase.

Normally, there are 5 categories of resources and materials to bid on, those being: timber and related wood products, royalty oil, leases on minerals and other natural resources, surplus property, and finally, strategic resources.

On top of making purchasing these much easier for up-and-coming businesses, the NRSAP also offers training and educational programs for business owners in order to prepare them for these government sales.

Additional funding

While there are hundreds of different assistance options for small businesses, going over all of them would be pointless, as it’s up to you to find the one that suits your company’s needs.

There are many different funding options out there, ranging from funding for minority and/or women-owned businesses to private foundations that offer help to these first-time entrepreneurs.

The market is your oyster, and you’ll want to get as much help as you can when you’re just getting started, and thankfully, help is plentiful when it comes to small businesses.

Some of these programs may offer assistance in the form of funding whereas others may give you the opportunity to be mentored by an industry expert who’s been involved in a number of larger businesses in the past, giving you some invaluable info on how funding and operations should look like.

As long as you reach out, help is probably going to be there, so don’t be afraid to make that leap of faith.

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