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Business Federal Grant Overview and Top Website Sources

Sep 1, 2008
The Federal Government spends billions of dollars on grant programs to small businesses and home based entrepreneurs every year. There are also hundreds of millions of dollars of state grant aid available, and grants and contests hosted by the Small Business Development Corporation. While there are several sources for grant money for your small business, this article will focus on Federal Grants, as they are the mostly widely available.

Finding Federal Grants is not daunting because they are hard to find - its daunting because you can get buried in books and data. The first place to go is your local public library, and check out any of the -phone books- by Matthew Lesko. Another excellent place to start searching is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, or CFDA, which lists agencies to contact for formula grants and project grants.

The CFDA has a web site (URL below), that will help you search for grants based on your needs and goals, and will then provide you with links for the information needed to apply.

Once you have found a potentially interesting grant proposal (or a dozen), contact the agency and find out if your proposal or project proposal meets their funding requirements, and if they still have funds available for disbursement, or any other questions you might have.

Assuming everything matches up, its time to fill out a Form 424, called the Application for Federal Assistance. This is the generalized grant application form for most Federal development grants; it is considered a baseline form. Some agencies may have other forms you will need to fill out as well. The CFDA has extensive help files on writing grant proposals and the proper forms and what needs to go into them to make them work.

In addition to the CDFA site, you should also check out Grants.gov. This is another search engine of federal grant opportunities; while theres some overlap in grants in both databases, theres an awful lot thats in one that isnt in the other.

There are also private directories that list federal grant opportunities; Matthew Lesko (mentioned above) is the largest public marketer of these directories; you have probably seen him on late night television, dressed in a purple suit with yellow question marks all over it. His books are regularly stocked in local public libraries, and while some of the information is dated, there are plenty of gems to be found there, and some excellent advice.

Other places to look for grant monies include foundations and non-profit organizations. Probably the best central clearing house of information on foundation and nonprofit organizations is The Foundation Center, particularly for its Foundation Grants to Individuals. This lists, all in one place, grants for individuals rather than non-profit organizations. There is a small subscription rate for the online service, and the book is available for purchase, and can be found in the reference section of the local library.


One of The Foundation Centers more useful services is online courses on grant writing and researching grant opportunities. Some grant opportunities are open only to non-profit organizations; this is not as difficult a requirement as you might think; it is worth investigating if your business can work as a non-profit organization.
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Get detailed information free online from the author, Leon Edward, on government funding, Federal, State, Local Grants , where to find start up grants, sources, how best to fill out grant applications, grant management step by step tips, setting up a business steps at his website
Grants For Business Start Up
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