Grants and Loans: 5 Financial Resources for Small Businesses

The nation’s economic woes have made it tougher for small businesses to get loans and grants. The SBA’s (PDF) loan volume is edging up for fiscal 2013 over 2012, but it’s still down from 2011′s numbers. No statistical data is available for grants, but government budgets have been tight the past few years and many grant dollars are given by local and state governments.

Yet loans and grants can help save struggling businesses, providing much-needed cash flow to jump-start operations. One way to increase your odds of securing financial aid is to look for programs that target small businesses in your demographic or market segment.

Here are a few of the resources available to small businesses:

  1. Accion specializes in helping all types of business owners who have trouble securing traditional loans. Accion lends amounts ranging from $500 to $500,000 and offers financial education, whether you’re just starting up, in transition, or looking to grow your company. It also provides assistance to those implementing green practices, running food and beverage operations, and more.
  2. Center for Community Self-Help brings four lenders together to help small businesses by providing financing and other resources. As of December 2011, the center has provided more than $6 billion in financing to nearly 75,000 individuals and organizations through this collaborative effort. The center provides general and specialty small business loans, along with financing for non-profits, childcare centers, real estate projects, and other organizations that help strengthen communities. Unlike traditional lending institutions, the center is not-for-profit, believing that investing in small businesses and local organizations helps build better communities and provide opportunities to those who traditionally wouldn’t have had access to them.
  3. The Small Business Innovation Research program seeks entrepreneurs who are interested in getting involved in research and development. Various federal agencies set aside 2.5 percent of their R&D budgets to work with small businesses on encouraging innovation. The SBIR program awards up to $150,000 for phase one, where the agency determines that the project has what it takes to succeed. If the project progresses to phase two, the federal government could grant as much as $1 million for up to two years. If the project is successful, your small business receives all of the profits.
  4. The Minority Business Development Agency provides loans to minority-owned small businesses. The federal agency has centers set up throughout the U.S. to advise business owners on what loans are available when banks prove to be a dead end. Each center is staffed with a specialist who works with minority business owners to help them succeed. The agency also works hard on advocacy and outreach to ensure that minority-owned businesses have the information and support they need to succeed.
  5. The SBA Microloan Program lends up to $50,000 specifically targeted to purchases of furniture, inventory, or equipment. Prior to approval, you may be asked to participate in a training session hosted by the lender, designed to help you be successful as a small-business owner. This training can be anything from a one-on-one counseling session to a seminar or class, with length and content determined by the lender. The lender may help you learn how to set up a website, understand how the SBA can help you, or provide other forms of small business consulting.

You can find other types of financial assistance available to small businesses on the SBA’s grants and loans page.

About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who also works in information systems. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.
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14 comments
roy armstrong
roy armstrong

I have been in this business for 25 years. The last 3 or 4 have just about taken everything that I have worked for just to stay in business. I have an SBA loan of about 250k and a short term high interest loan of 100k. Some credit cards maxed out and some tax issues. We are beginning to get opportunities to land some jobs that could help us climb out of our mess. What I would want or need is to consolidate all debt and maybe get a fresh start. I have 12 to 15 employees at any given time that depend on me for work. If there is any help please respond or any other suggestions. Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Roy

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doreen3015
doreen3015

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nj272
nj272

This is a great list of resources, when businesses have access to the credit they need everyone benefits with a stronger economy.

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JRREEDY
JRREEDY

Federal, state and local governments offer a wide range of financing programs to help small businesses start and grow their operations. These programs include low-interest loans, venture capital, and scientific and economic development grants.Use SBA.gov's Loans and Grants Search Tool to get a list of financing programs for which you may qualify. Please note that many small businesses do not qualify for government grants. For more information, visit Facts About Government Grants. Additionally, check out the resources below to learn more about small business financing programs.

Small_business_loan
Small_business_loan

Investing for small business is  a big deal,there are so many risk factor involve.There should be proper money resource for crisis situation.I really appreciate your approach that you have putted here.These five tips are really helpful.Thanks for sharing these tips.

raghab
raghab

The Little Business Innovation Studies school seeks entrepreneurs which are interested in getting involved in studies and additionally development. Numerous federal agencies reserve 2.5 per cent of the R&D budgets to work for small businesses on top of stimulating development. The SBIR system accolades to as much as $150,000 for phase one, just where the department determines which the project has got what must be done to succeed. If in case the project advances to procedure two, the government could grant just as much as $1 billion for up to not one but two working years. If or when the project is successful, your business receives all of the the income.

Medical-ELearning
Medical-ELearning

This info might help since I am thinking to put up a small business of my own. Small one as a start.

Small Business Blog
Small Business Blog

These companies are great help to entrepreneurs who are in need. As a new business owner, I have experienced downfalls and I know how hard it is. So if in time, I need to apply for a loan, I'd go to the said financial institutions.