The Real Scoop On Grants For Small Bizs

The Houston Chronicle:

You’ve heard the adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is?

That definitely applies in the world of government grants. The government just does not give out money to open a “regular” business like a restaurant, bookstore or car wash, with no obligation to pay the money back.

Instead, the government gives grants to nonprofit organizations such as colleges, universities and research institutions so that they can use the money for projects and activities that will benefit the community as a whole, or perhaps help a special interest group.

Some examples are grants to provide job training to displaced workers, finance a downtown redevelopment project, or create a substance abuse treatment program.

About the only grants given to businesses are awarded under the Small Business Innovation Research. or SBIR program.

But SBIR grants aren’t for businesses that are just starting or hoping to expand; they’re for very specialized businesses that are involved in unique and innovative research projects.

The companies that win the grant money use the dollars to develop and commercialize ground-breaking new technologies that have a broad benefit.

Of course, you’ve probably also heard it said that there’s an exception to every rule. That applies to funding for grants, too.

Depending on who you are, where you are located, and what type of business you want to start, there may be some grant money for you.

For example, if you are a veteran, or disabled, you may be eligible for assistance to learn new skills, or perhaps buy needed equipment for your business.

If you are in a distressed area, your economic development organization may have aid to give you if your business will bring jobs to the area.

But this type of money is extremely scarce, and there are very particular guidelines as to who gets it and how it must be used.

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