Single mothers usually encounter more financial difficulties than couples, as they need to juggle with paying all the bills, raising their kids, and taking care of themselves in the same time. Starting a business sounds like a good idea, especially since it can help you get out of your financial conundrum and build a better life for you and your children, as well. You are not alone in this endeavor; in a study published in 2010, Forbes estimated that by 2018, about one third of all businesses will be owned by women, and the qualities women have as leaders and business owners are more and more recognized. If you have a great idea for a business and you do not know where to start, here are some tips on how to get a grant for a start-up business.
Where to find grants as a single mother
First things first, you need to know that there are several sources that can help you find a grant to start a new business.
- Federal grants
- Local governmental grants
- Company grants
- NGO sponsored grants
- Grants offered by research institutions
Consider the specific organizations in charge of helping people like you find the grant they need for a business. The Small Business Administration is a great place to start looking for a grant, as there are plenty resources available. Women Business Centers are readily available in every state, so here is another resource to get you started.
Community Development Financial Institutions work together with SBA and they offer special help to single mothers with low income wanting to become entrepreneurs. Also, do not overlook searching for private organizations in your area that offer support for single mothers looking to start a new business.
You do not have to leave your home to get in touch with all these organizations. Online websites, like grants.gov and sba.gov are readily available for beginners, and you can find a lot of useful information from them.
Define your niche
Do not forget that it is very important to define your niche. Since there are many people applying for grants all the time, it is a good idea to be well prepared, to maximize your chances to land that grant. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back, which makes them the ideal choice for single mothers with low income. However, you need to pitch your idea properly if you want to take advantage of this opportunity.
Find contests in your niche
Another way to get a grant for your startup business is by finding a contest in your niche. There are now online opportunities for finding such contests, such as Amazon Web Services Start-Up Challenge and MIT programs. It all depends on your niche, of course, but the money you can get in this manner can be quite substantial, making it possible for you to start your business.
Go for crowdfunding
The most important characteristic of a grant is that you do not have to pay back the money, so, besides the possibilities offered above, you also have the option to crowdfund your project. Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to name just the two most popular platforms, allow you to create a project and draw attention, in order to gather funds for your start-up.
How to apply for a grant
There are several rules to keep in mind if you want a fair chance to have your grant accepted.
Make sure that you meet the eligibility requirements. Since there are institutions offering grants to single mothers, you have to know the requirements for income limit, and others that may apply.
Ask all the important questions. Besides requirements, you need to ask what grants are available, when they will be released and any other important details.
Time is of the essence. Most grants are offered to those who show up first, so try having all the paperwork in place, so you can apply as fast as possible.
Write a professional essay when applying. You can find advice on the matter at the Women Business Center in your state, or you can look online for samples to see how they are written.