Where to Get Business Grants

If you need funds to start or develop a small business, do not look far.  This Bangor Daily News (Maine) article present some tips on where to look for business grants.  You have to be patient and persistent.  Look for these in industry publications and the local paper.  There are development agencies that offer grants to businesses that have a positive impact on community development.  Creativity and innovation has its rewards in the fields of arts, technology, manufacturing, forestry, aquaculture or agriculture.  You can partner with charitable and educational non-profit organizations.  Stay informed and keep your ears open on the developments in the local business community.  Remember, though, that most of these grants should be matched by your personal funds.  After all, there is no such thing as a free ride.

Do you receive vocational rehabilitation services or Social Security disability or supplemental income? Each of these programs provides support for people who are pursuing self-employment to increase their income and move toward self-sufficiency.

Typically, when you read about big grants received in your community, you are seeing funding streams that flow to your town through the Community Development Block Grant program. But if you can demonstrate the impact your business has on community economic development — for instance, improving a local building and increasing the tax base; adding to downtown revitalization or commercial district development; creating jobs and generating employment — you often can tap into your community’s economic development plan to include matching funds for your business.

Check out Maine Arts Commission for funding for your creative projects. Check out Maine Technology Institute for matching grants to help you at each stage of developing, producing and promoting your product. Visit your local USDA Rural Development office to learn about grants for market development, value-added production and other aspects of agriculture.

Charitable and educational nonprofit organizations receive the bulk of grant funding thanks to their 501(c)3 status. Does your business have a role to play with local nonprofits?

Efficiency Maine and USDA Rural Development have funding to help your business become more energy efficient, and tax incentives may apply to your investment.

In Aroostook County, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award through Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Development comes with a $500 prize. Statewide, young entrepreneurs ages 18 to 29 can apply for grants of up to $5,000 from the Libra Futures Fund. Women, Work, and Community offers minigrants of up to $400 for marketing, with deadlines varying by region.

Any business owner seeking a loan — whether you’re a veteran, a woman, a minority, all or none of the above — will need to show that you are able to make an investment in your own business and willing to take on some of the risk yourself. Aim for at least 25 percent of the total funding you need in hand before counting on any loans or grants to help you out. …

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