We’ve all seen the headlines: “Millions in free government money for your business.” Late-night infomercials and Internet advertisements promise grants to start or expand a business. Sound too good to be true? It is. Whatever you’ve heard, federal, state and local governments do not provide grants for
- Starting a business
- Paying off debt
- Covering operational expenses
In a nutshell, if you are seeking “free money” to launch or expand your business, you are far better off focusing your efforts on developing a sound business plan that capitalizes on a viable market, a compelling product or service, and a passion for business.
How to Find Grants
If you want to satisfy your curiosity about available grant opportunities your small business may qualify for, you have several options:
1. Search for Federal Grants via Grants.gov
Grants.gov is the federal government’s searchable public database of over 1,000 grant programs that award roughly $500 billion annually. Use the Advanced Search tool to search for a grant by eligibility (e.g., for-profits or small business), by issuing agency, or category (e.g., environment or science and technology).
2. Search for Small Business Grants using the SBA Loans and Grants Tool
This SBA tool includes state and federal financing programs specifically available to small businesses
3. Learn about programs offered by the City of Charlotte
The City of Charlotte has specialized grant programs available in targeted areas to help property and business owners with the costs of undertaking capital improvements to their commercial sites that help improve the overall appearance and economic health of business corridors, such as facade renovations and environmental cleanup.
4. Don’t overlook educational grants & scholarships
Everyone is a lifelong learner, and small business owners are no exception. Check with your local community college to learn about education grants & scholarships that can help you improve your business skills. Businesses with City of Charlotte SBE certification are eligible for up to $300 in tuition reimbursement at CPCC’s Institute for Entrepreneurship.
5. Explore Other Financing Options
Be sure to check out other financing and incentive programs that your business may be eligible for.
6. If your business is a Nonprofit, learn about local nonprofit resources
If your business is a nonprofit you should explore local resources that can help with things like grant writing, budgeting, fundraising and more.
Do your homework before paying someone to help you find a government grant. Be sure to thoroughly research all offers you are considering before making an investment of time and money. There are lots of websites that can help you become better informed, such as the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and fraudguides.com.
return to top