However, the answer to this question is not as simple as a yes or no. Have there been documented cases of businesswomen receiving grants? The answer is yes, but far and few between. The process is not as easy as completing a one-page application, but you must be able to research grants that are available for “for-profit” companies (far and few between), prepare a grant proposal whether you get the grant or not, understand the strict guidelines of how the money can and cannot be used and realize that you are potentially competing with hundreds, thousands or even millions of applicants depending on the amount of the grant.
There are some organizations that have created matching fund programs, such as Goodwill’s Business Now Program. This is a 12 week entrepreneur training program that encourages its participants to save money for their business and the program matches dollar for dollar in the form of a grant. There have been other organizations that have provided and created small grant opportunities in the amount of $500-$2500 within a given timeframe, but no on a consistent and on-going basis.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), “they provide some grants, but they are generally awarded to organizations to provide specific technical assistance to small business owners. These grants may be targeted to nonprofits or educational institutions. SBA has also funded grants and contracts to help small businesses develop and maintain a drug-free workplace. These grants have been awarded to Small Business Development Centers and other non-profit organizations” (Source: http://www.sba.gov)
The grant system in and of itself was created for the purpose of providing funding to non-profit organizations that served a group, community or public need. Each year, millions of non-profit entities compete for the same bucket of funding and only a few are chosen. They too realize that they cannot depend on grant funding alone, but they must develop their own plan for raising capital.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take advantage of a grant opportunity. However, a businesswoman cannot have a “free-ride” mindset or depend on free money to start or grow her business. Her mindset should be to develop a strategy for funding her idea through her own savings, micro loan programs, loan opportunities, investors and even developing her own private fundraising campaigns.
About the Author:
Trina Newby is a business consultant and success coach and founder of Women About Biz. She has helped hundreds achieve their goal of starting and growing their small business through her one-on-one coaching, workshops and conferences.