I think grants are mostly myth, where we see somebody pitching about "free government money" and what he really means is "buy my product."
There are grants offered by government agencies here and there. But most are for such government-backed objectives as high-level research, development zones, pure science, defense technology, and others. And if that's what you mean by "grants to the rich," well, that's a political statement. Maybe it's true because it can take a lot of sophisticated grant writing to secure grants, and maybe not true. Think about it: Does it make sense that a government that is running a big deficit and being attacked everywhere is going to be giving anyone free money to start a carwash or a laundromat? I've been in business nearly 40 years, and I've never actually seen that happen. Not to the rich, not to the poor, not to anybody.
Most of what seems like grants are really just lower-interest loans. And those must be backed by collateral, because it's a loan, and the institutions are supposed to receive their money back.
That may not be what you want to hear, but that's my answer.
A Definitive Guide to Government Grants
Question added to topic Grow Your Business • January 29, 2011
How Can an Ordinary Person Get a Grant to Buy or Start a Business?
I want to build or buy a carwash and or a laundromat. There are thousands for sale nationwide, but I don't have the means to buy one. Seems as if only the rich can get government grants.