Grant Application Form for Small BusinessThe truth of the matter is SBDC grants aren’t a thing. They simply don’t exist. Why bother with them then? Well, they don’t give grants, but they can help you get grants.

My interest in the small business startup arena began when I took on a job with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a business advisor. I kind of fell in love with small businesses. I got the opportunity to help so many entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. One of my favorite parts of the job was finding them money. Usually, I’d tell them if they can come up with 10% of the total project, I could find the rest. It might be through grants or loans.

What the Purpose of SBDC?

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are dedicated to helping small businesses succeed. One of the ways they do this is through grants. Grants can be a great way for business owners to get access to money that can help their operations. The thing about the SBDC is they want you to help you get money for your business. SBDC advisor actually have yearly goals. One goals is capital infusion for small businesses. It’s one of the ways they show the impact they’re making in the community. It provides a reason for agencies like the SBA to continue to fund the series.

Childcare ND LogoSBDC advisors work hard to understand what types of grants are available and who qualifies. When I was an advisor, part of my job was making connections with entities who had funding for small businesses. One initiative I headed to increase child care in North Dakota resulted in over a million grant dollars being allocated for entrepreneurs who wanted to open childcare centers and facilities. Are there SBDC Grants? No, but they’re a great place to find out what grants are available.

Grant qualifications

Generally speaking, grants for small businesses are provided based on need and merit. The grants may be used for specific activities such as purchasing equipment, launching a new product or service line, training employees in specialized skills, or even expanding into foreign markets. The competition for some types of grants is quite fierce. However, some grants may be easier to obtain than you think.

Woman reading inscription on the wine bottle in storeFor example, those childcare grants didn’t have a lot of competition. Talks between a childcare provider and the economic developer were in the works about receiving a $100k grant to open a childcare center. I put together financial projections for a couple who were farmers, who qualified for an agriculture grant for a winery.  The key is to have a good understanding of your business plan before applying. When you do, grant organizations work with you to obtain the grant. After all, the grants are there to be distributed.

The eligibility requirements vary by grant program. However, they typically require the applicant business to meet certain criteria such as being located within an economic development zone or employing a certain number of people. Additionally, businesses must demonstrate financial stability. They must have plans in place for how the funds will be used effectively towards achieving success for the company and its employees. Most importantly, the business owner typically needs to be make a monetary investment in their project. In North Dakota, it was generally 10%. However, other places may vary.

Types of Grants

It’s worth researching any state-specific grant opportunities that you may qualify. They could provide critical funding assistance when needed most. Some states offer additional resources specifically designed for small businesses including tax incentives or other financing options. As a small business advisor, I did my best to locate any opportunities that saved my clients money. Any money that isn’t payable is almost as good as a grant.

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SBDC Grants Conclusion

Whether you’re just getting started with your small business or trying expand existing operations further down the road, having access to SBCD grants services can makes all the difference. When it comes time to invest in key areas like technology upgrades or marketing campaigns, these grants can help you stay competitive in today’s market environment. Investing time into researching potential options available through local Small Business Development Centers can pay off big returns over time if done right.