Can you help me obtain small business grants?
Unfortunately, for most companies in Massachusetts, there are no small business grants. That is, there are no grants available for start up costs, operating or other typical small business expenses for companies which are not “non-profit” or charitable organizations. Most grants are given by foundations or government agencies to provide money for charitable or social purposes and they are typically only given to organizations which have specific “non-profit” status [typically 501(c)(3). This automatically excludes the majority of businesses which are operated for a profit, regardless of race or gender.
However, there are two exceptions for specific grants for which a small business could be eligible. The first is called an SBIR or Small Business Innovative Research grant. To qualify for this type of grant a small business needs to have a unique technology which an agency of the government has an interest in developing through advanced research. This program requires a company to have qualified academic researchers and industry experts on its staff. Additional information on SBIR can be found at www.sbir.gov.
The second type of grant is a Workforce Training Grant. This grant is available to existing small businesses that need to train their workforce to better perform their jobs. It is a fifty-fifty match between funds that the company puts up and funds that are available from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Additional information on Workforce Training grants can be found at www.mass.gov/wtf.
There are other agencies that also offer grants. For federal grant information, visit www.grants.gov. For Massachusetts grants, go to www.mass.gov and type 'grants' in the search field. For non-profit organizations, grant information is available in the library section of the Associated Grant Makers' website at www.agmconnect.org. The U.S. Small Business Administration's website at www.sba.gov has information on 'loans & grants'.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) does not offer grants or free money to start or expand small businesses. Although there are some grants available, they generally are targeted towards specific groups, types of organizations or activities. SBA does offer a wide variety of loan programs (visit www.sba.gov/financing for more information).
Non-profits can contact Associated Grant Makers at www.agmconnect.org for information on grants.
Financing for a small business can often be a confusing and difficult process. The SBDC can provide valuable information that will dispel many of the myths about free money and grants, and help individuals position themselves to start or grow a successful small business in Massachusetts.