The SCORE organization often receives requests for information about grants and other sources of "free money" for an individual to start a new business.
Often, the interest in grants is stimulated by promoters of books, tapes and seminars that claim to help individuals find the sources of no cost grants. These promoters often charge substantial sums of money for their "secret formulas".
SCORE, a partner of the US Government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) has intensively researched the topic of grants and our position is that while there indeed are grants extended by the government and other organizations, these grants are relatively rare, generally very specialized and almost never available to individuals seeking to start a conventional business. Typically grants are extended to non-profits and to organizations involved in some type of economic development that stimulates the economy in a specific area.
It is the position of SCORE and most responsible institutions that the path to securing funding to start a business is through the following steps:
Develop a sound business plan that clearly demonstrates you know what you are doing and how you will succeed.
Have a strong personal credit rating that validates you have a track record of paying your financial obligations.
Demonstrate your ability to invest some of your own funds in the business.
Have assets that can serve as collateral for a business loan.
If you are still interested in pursuing grants, the following web sites may help:
The national web site of SCORE and some advice about grants
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
The Federal Government grants web site
Search the word "grants"
A web site that provides direction on business loan