Seeking Seed Money

Grants for starting a small business are available through a variety of local sources. Here's how to get them.

similar scenario,” Joye says.

Forget about generic proposals. Boilerplates waste your time and the time of the prospective financier. Joye explains, “Know who funds what and what they believe in. The more you can write to appeal to that, the greater your chances of getting money.”

Be optimistic, but realistic,
about your goals for grant money. “You have to be able to achieve what you say you can and ask for an appropriate amount of money,” says Joye.

Where To Find Grants

  • Idea Cafe’s Biz Grant Center (www.businessownerside acafe.com/business_grants/index.html) lists private grants currently open to small business owners and startups.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer general business grants, but they do provide a page of links to federal grant/contract resources: (www.sba.gov/expanding/ grants.html)
  • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (www.cfda.gov) offers a database of all federal programs. Most of them provide funds to state and local governments or other organizations to manage the distribution of the funds granted. Also, Developing and Writing Grant Proposals offers tips from the CFDA. It’s aimed at organizations that can show they have community support. From the home page, click on the link to Writing Grant Proposals.
  • The Foundation Center (www.fdncenter.org) offers extensive links to foundation grant maker Websites. Many of the links are to private foundations, corporate grant makers, and community foundations.
  • Grants.gov (www.grants.gov) offers tips on applying for the federal grants and contracts offered by the 26 grant making agencies.
  • FederalBizOpps.gov (www.fedbizopps.gov) is a site where government buyers can publicize their business opportunities and commercial vendors can search, monitor, and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (www.atp.nist.gov) offers funding for advanced technology projects.
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