How can I qualify for business grants for women?
Government grants have been an area that has seen a lot of fraud. Because of this the qualifications have risen and become very stringent in some cases. The red tape has been lengthened and the qualification process can be very lengthy and timely. If you want to qualify for a loan be prepared to fill out a lot of forms and be persistent in the process. It is often very difficult to qualify even if it appears that you easily meet all of the requirements.
First, you will need to be a woman to qualify or at least have majority ownership of the company. However, if you are running a small family business you may be able to qualify as long as ownership is 51% held by the wife in the family. This may give the business some advantages when applying for loans and grants or setasides. However, if a divorce happens in the family and the wife was owner in name only, legally she will have the ability to sell or command more than half the business. This will cause some problems when splitting up the assets so be careful that you don't structure a business just to qualify for certain grants.
Not all grants or setaside programs are funded by government money. The government has made certain regulations to encourage the growth of minority or woman business ownership. This means that contracts will be awarded with preferential treatment to disadvantaged businesses like minority owned.
Sometimes these contracts will be awarded to large companies that hire or subcontract to these same disadvantaged companies. Hence, it is in the best interest of these companies to encourage and support the growth of women owned small businesses. Thus, don't limit your search for grants just to the government. The private sector has a lot of grant money available too.
Another qualification that will normally be checked in the application process will be the viability of a company. This means that as a business you must show that you are making it and will continue to make a profit in the future. Therefore, your books and contracts will be inspected to make sure that you are not a front and just waiting for a contract to start business. There have been many frauds in this industry so the inspection process can be quite vigorous.
Additionally, your company must show that they will be viable in the future too. If you are in a business that is being outmoded you may be disqualified. For instance, if your company installs telephone wires, they may not consider this a viable business because landline telephones a quickly becoming a thing of the past. The intent of these programs are to support companies that are viable and will remain viable not make a quick buck and then go out of business.
Lastly, recognize that the application process can be very long. Sometimes there are waiting periods regarding how long you must have been in business before you can obtain certification. Also, the program is designed to help your business not completely justify your businesses existence. As your business grows you may no longer qualify for support.
In summary, business grants for women are designed to help businesses with women as the majority owners. These grants can be difficult to qualify for and the process can be lengthy. Each grant may have specific qualifications but most will require female ownership and a viable business now and in the future.
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