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Getting government grants

Because money is such a critical part of successfully running a small business, it might interest you to know that some small businesses can qualify for government grants. While it is competitive to get grant money, these are like loans that do not have to be paid back, and thus can really help your business grow. The following are some of the common areas where businesses might be eligible to apply for a government grant.

- Government institutions and agencies
- Educational organizations, including private and public controlled academic institutions and independent school districts
- Public housing organizations
- Community developmental groups and minority betterment organizations
- Non profit organizations duly recognized by the IRS and institutions of higher education.

In order for your small business to qualify for a government grant in any of the above categories, it first has to meet the definition of a small business as structured by the SBA. There is no set definition, but sizes and standards vary by industry. Here are some examples of the guidelines:

Manufacturing- If your company is involved in manufacturing, to be considered a small business, employees must not exceed 500. The same is true for small-scale mining companies.

Wholesale- If your company is involved in wholesale, to be considered a small business by the SBA, your employee numbers can not exceed 100.

In addition to the size restrictions imposed by the SBA, there are also net worth and profit restrictions. These are based on the last few years of business. If you have any questions about your eligibility for government grants based on whether or not you can technically be called a small business, contact a local SBA office, and talk to them, they can give you the specific information and requirements for your industry.

Some grants are more popular, and easier to obtain that others. For example, the Women's Business Center Initial, which is to help small women-owned businesses. This grant is given to non-profit organization so that they will give technical assistance and help to women entrepreneurs.

Another great option is the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG), is a good one. It is important to note that with this grant, the company itself does not get money directly, rather the funds are distributed to rural public bodies, rural nonprofit corporations, rural Indian tribes, and cooperatives with members who are involved in commerce that benefits the whole community. This is a grant that is not specially for improving a small business, but to train and assist business development for a community, as well as economic development.

While it is difficult to find grants for starting a business, but there are lots of grants available to aid entrepreneurs in gaining the information, technical advancements, and training needed to be successful in starting a new business. Most grants are given in order to benefit a community, rather than an individual business, but there are grants available, so look and see how one could help your small business succeed.

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