Rae Steinbach writes for Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that allows the public to lend money directly to small and medium-sized businesses. She contributed today’s guest post on four business grants startups can use to fund an emerging company.
You can’t run a business (even a small one) without money. That’s where business grants come in.
Grants for small business owners can help transform a business idea into reality. A little research will reveal you have many options from which to choose when seeking capital.
Here are four business grants to get you started in your search for non-dilutive funding.
IdeaCafe $1k Business Grant
Some of you may be reading this because you’re interested in taking an existing business to the next level. However, some of you might not have even started your businesses yet. Don’t worry if that’s the case. You can apply for grants explicitly designed for budding entrepreneurs who are just beginning.
For instance, starting in November, you can apply for the IdeaCafe $1k Business Grant. As the name implies, this grant offers $1,000 to the applicant who submits the strongest original business idea. There’s no entry fee or purchase you have to pay to apply. You don’t even have to prepare a complete business plan. Just sign up as an Idea Cafe Regular.
It may not sound like much, but winning $1,000 could help pay to set up your legal company structure.
NASE Growth Grants
Look into organizations you can join to help you grow your business. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is one such organization.
The NASE was founded in 1981 to provide day-to-day support, including direct access to experts, benefits, and consolidated buying power that traditionally had been available only to large corporations. Today the NASE represents hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and micro-businesses and is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan association of its kind in the United States.
Through NASE Growth Grants, you can use up to $4,000 to fund your business. Just keep in mind that you need to be a NASE member to apply, and your business typically needs to exist already for it to qualify.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Global Challenges
Private individuals and organizations offer small business grants for a variety of reasons. In many cases, they wish to support business owners whose work may positively contribute to the world in some capacity.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Global Challenges grants support innovation that helps solve critical global health and development problems. While the foundation focuses on providing grants to 501(c)(3) organizations, it also provides grants to business owners who are leveraging new technology and similar innovations to address development issues across the globe. If you believe your business qualifies, consider applying.
Visit grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners to get a sense of whether your idea qualifies.
Caleb Brown Urban Entrepreneur’s Community Grant
While some organizations offer grants to help business owners do good in the world, others provide grants to help traditionally underserved people access the resources they need to grow their businesses. Entrepreneurs can help their communities flourish as a result.
The Caleb Brown Venture Capital and Consulting Project offers $1,000 grants to young entrepreneurs in urban areas who want to provide greater employment opportunities to people in their communities by creating relevant businesses. Caleb Brown is a venture capital firm that provides access to seed funding up to $150,000 to assist urban professionals with starting businesses and rebuilding the community. They do take minority stakes in the companies they invest in work to mentor the entrepreneurs they back.
Best of all, the competition occurs every month (applications are due by the 15th), so you have regular opportunities to take advantage of this option.
A lack of capital shouldn’t prevent you from starting or growing a business. These four grants are a great way to begin your search for potential sources of funding. Just remember that selection committees look at a company’s competitive advantage and the caliber of its management team. So brush off your pitch deck and start searching for business grants.
Featured image shows a founder counting money. Make every dollar count, apply for business grants. Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.