You stand a greater chance of getting a government-guaranteed loan through the Small Business Administration Http://www.sba.gov/financing than a government grant. Read the SBA Financing page to learn about criteria needed for borrowingIt is hard to find grants to start a business. Unlike the myths that some perpetuate, federal government and even private foundations hardly give grant money for starting a for-profit business.
One possible exception is for companies developing or exporting agricultural goods, including food and forest product. Another exception could be the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs Http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/… , which fund the research and development of technological innovation that meets specific government needs.
Your best bet actually will be from the states if they offer grant programs for women (or any other special interest groups — minorities, women, disabled, veterans, etc). Or check with non profit organizations, particularly women organizations if they offer grants. Examples include
"The U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs. (See Http://www.sba.gov/financing for more information) While SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments."
Nonetheless, you can go to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Http://www.cfda.gov and Grants.gov Http://www.grants.gov – these are two sites created by the federal government to provide transparency and information on grants. Browse through the listings and see if you can find any grant that would support a for-profit venture.
Here is a listing of federal grants for small
businesses. See if there is any available for individuals for starting a business — THERE’S NONE.
Most of the federal grants are given to specific target groups with specific requirements (e.g. Minority business owners involved in transportation related contracts emanating from DOT – Grant#20.905 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Short Term Lending Program
Grants are also often given to non profit groups or organizations involved in training or other similar activities (grant 59.043 Women’s Business Ownership Assistance that are given to those who will create women’s business center that will train women entrepreneurs
For private grants, you may want to check the Foundation Center’s Foundation Grants for Individuals Online Http://gtionline.fdncenter.org . It’s a subscription based website ($9.95 per month) but their opening blurb only says that the database is ideal for "students, artists, academic researchers, libraries and financial aid offices." Entrepreneurs are apparently not one of them, so I take it they also don’t have listings of private foundations who give grants to would-be entrepreneurs.