Starting or growing a business can be a costly undertaking and usually requires a great deal of cash. While there are a variety of ways to raise capital for your business venture, these can be both time consuming and difficult depending on the funds required. The US government and private organizations set aside millions of dollars every year through business loans and grants that help companies get started, increase their trade and stay afloat in hard times.
In times of financial hardship the last thing the federal government wants is for businesses to fail. This starts a domino effect that means job loss, decreased consumer spending and a flagging economy as well as a significant decrease in taxable dollars. These grants are targeted at future business owners, new businesses and established businesses. During tough times businesses are encouraged to seek out and obtain a temporary business loan or business grant in order to receive grant money that they do not have to repay.
The Opportunity Fund
The Opportunity Fund is specifically for business owners in the Northern and Southern California areas. The Opportunity fund is the largest non-profit source of microloans and microfinancing in California as well as financing for commercial real estate ventures. Since 1995 they have invested over $200 million in small businesses and handed out almost $20 million in small business loans to businesses in need.
The Opportunity Fund Loan Details
- Small and micro loans from $2,500 – $100,000
- Fixed Interest Rates 8% – 12%
- Loan Terms 1 – 5 years
Visit the official website for The Opportunity Fund to see if you qualify.
Those who are not located in the qualifying areas may qualify for similar types of grants in their areas, and they can be found by doing an online search. They can also ask people they know if they are aware of any non-profit organizations that are offering funds to owners of small businesses in a program such as the Opportunity Fund.
The “Love a Local Business” Competition
The Love a Local Business Grant Competition gives customers and employees alike a chance to reward their favorite businesses by nominating them for this grant. This competition has awarded over $1.1 million to small businesses with just one business winning $25,000 in a hiring grant. This grant is NOT available all year round and you should check Love Our Local Business Competition homepage to see if the grant is currently available
Small Business Association
The Small Business Administration, or SBA, is a United States government agency, funded by tax dollars, that offers guidance and loan programs to entrepreneurs and small businesses. In the United States, for SBA purposes, “small” businesses are defined as those having less than 250 categories. Caps on revenue to meet the definition vary by industry, for example, non-manufacturing companies with revenues of under $7 million dollars qualify as “small.”
Under the loan guarantee program, the maximum amount that can be borrowed is $5 million dollars. Another financing scheme from the SBA is the traditional fixed asset loan, which also have a cap of five million. This is a more traditional type of loan where companies borrow money to hard assets for their businesses, like equipment, vehicles or property.
The SBA is not a direct lender, but these loans are administered through authorized non-profits in a business community. Access to the non-profits can be obtained by contacting your local, or nearest SBA office.
State Agencies and Local Agencies
People will not necessarily find a federal program that offers them general funds for their small businesses, but they may find them at the state agencies and local agencies in their areas. One example is a low-interest loan. People can find out how they can apply for these low-interest loans by contacting the economic development agency in their states.
The United States Government
If people can meet requirements for specific programs, they can apply for federal grant money. For example, if they are developing a “green” product, they may be able to find a federal grant that is funding this type of research. Search our grants database for programs that are appropriate for your business.
Entrepreneurs have many other ways that they can obtain the money they need than just applying for grants. For more small business resources check out our Grant Resources page.