Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Real Deal

I often get asked about how entrepreneurs can get government grants. Short answer: They probably can't.

That's because grants to start for-profit enterprises are more pernicious myth than reality. Yes, there is government seed money available for technologies that further scientific research and homeland security - but very few startups would qualify.

There are, however, some foundations and private companies that give grants to small businesses; here's one: The Eileen Fisher Business Grant Program for Woman Entrepreneurs awards up to five grants of $12,500.

The grant program was launched in 2004 with a single grant of $20,000 to commemorate the apparel company’s 20th anniversary. Since then, up to five grants have been awarded each year to 100-percent women-owned businesses that combine the principles of social consciousness, sustainability and innovation to create new businesses or invigorate existing ones.

Deadline to apply is coming up next Tuesday, May 15. Only for-profit businesses or for-profit/ nonprofit hybrids are eligible for the grant. If your company fits the criteria, give it a try!

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