Starting a Business

Granting Your Wishes

Award money can help finance your start-up, but be careful in taking its availability for granted.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the September 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: Where can I find reliable grant sources for starting my own homebased IT consulting business, and what are my chances of receiving funding from them?
Name withheld

A: Grants for starting a business are few and far between. A search through The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance ( www.cfda.gov ) will lead you to two types of grants: one for rural businesses and one for minority business enterprises. However, even for these, there are qualifiers.

Eligible applicants for the rural money are public entities and nonprofit corporations that may in turn award money to the residents they serve. They have a strong emphasis on helping existing businesses grow. Similarly, the grants for minority enterprises are awarded only to established businesses and community organizations.

Some individuals may find grant money for starting a business from vocational rehabilitation funds administered by state agencies serving the disabled. One way to find out if your state will do this is to contact your state representative or senator.

From time to time, private grant money is given to very small businesses. For example, The Amber Foundation ( www.womensnet.net ) favors businesses already underway, although this foundation has not awarded grants in two years.

As you can see, grants are neither readily available nor easy to get. Thus, most people start a business by bootstrapping, tightening their living expenses, turning to savings, lining up business in advance or cajoling loans from family and friends. If you qualify, you can apply for a federal microloan administered through private organizations in various communities. Visit www.sbaonline.sba.gov/financing/microparticipants.html for more information.


Paul and Sarah Edwards' most recent book is The Entrepreneurial Parent. Send them your start-up business questions at www.workingfromhome.com or in care of Entrepreneur.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.