Najah, I`m in a similar situation as you. I am starting a business and looking for funding. I`ve just started working with a local Small Business Development Center (funded partially by the SBA) and was told that there are some funding options open to me as a woman business owner. It was not grant money, but probably loans (I did not get details, it was a short consultation leading to further help later.)
Do you have access to an incubation center such as this? Also, search the SBA web site for minority/women business funding to see what they offer and what the requirements are.
I spent a short time researching online grant money and found it to be scams and ways to part me from my hard-earned money. I don`t plan to waste any more time with that. If I can`t speak directly to someone who can give me real information and not just "leads", then I won`t spend time on it.
A tidbit - it may be useful to pursue certification as a woman-owned business if you want to pursue government and corporate clients. They need to do a certain amount of business with minority companies so if your business is certified, it helps to get those contracts.
Best of luck to you. When you get some good answers, it would be great to have you post back here so we can be encouraged :-)
ps - I took a grant writing class last spring for a non-profit I volunteered with. Some things I learned: 1) Most grants through the government seem to be for non-profit organizations. 2) No matter how narrow your niche may be, there will probably be a foundation somewhere that has money and is willing to help you. 3) Keep looking. Your dream is worth pursuing.
If you have access to an adult-ed grant writing course, I suggest it because you learn how much goes into actually preparing one (about the same as writing your business plan) and you get lots of info on where to look for the less-common grantors.
deeziner5/25/2008 7:01 PM