Friday, December 2, 2011

The Truth About "Minority and Women Business Grants"

Urban legend (and misleading websites) would have you believe that there are loads of government grants out there for minority and women-owned businesses.  But that's not the truth.  The U.S. SBA (Small Business Administration) website states quite clearly that they do NOT provide grants to expand or start businesses.  (See here for some privately-generated grants for women business owners). But don't governments do something to help minority and women-owned businesses?  Yes, they do.

The SBA does have a site devoted to minority business development on the federal level, including opportunities to do business with the government, and help available to develop your business so that it will be able to compete for and complete federal contracting work.  It also has a link enabling you to find government loans and loan guarantees.  Loan guarantees are the federal backing for loans, which assures banks making the loans that they will be paid back. 

Several states also have help for minority and women-owned businesses in the form of set-aside programs.  These are programs that try to reserve a certain percentage of government contracting work for women, minority-owned, or "disadvantaged" or small businesses.  Often, these businesses need certification for their status to get these contracts.  Sometimes, IF A STATE HAS THESE PROGRAMS (and not all of them do), you  can find out about them at your state office in charge of minority contracting.  This list includes not only state offices, but several large cities in the U.S.  Contact these offices to get your firm certified as a minority or woman-owned business, if applicable, and then look for opportunities to provide goods and services for the government.  Also, take advantage of any training or mentoring programs available. 

Besides contracting opportunities, many states have loan programs aimed at disadvantaged/minority/female-owned businesses.  To find out about these programs, see your state's economic development department.

3 comments:

minority business grants said...
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sigsoogca said...

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Women owned businesses

Start up Business Grants said...

Business start up grants are hard to come by; here's an overview of the new business grants available for small businesses and entrepreneurs.