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Grants Available to Women Who Want to Start a Business

April 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 106

According to the Center for Women's Business Research the number of women-owned or co-owned businesses in the United States is over 10 million -- and that number grew by 20% during the seven-year period ending in 2007. One would expect such growth to reflect increasing confidence and opportunity for women wanting to start their own business. Yet some claim women still have a harder time securing financing than their male counterparts and -- perhaps more disturbing -- that women are more likely to discount their own preparedness and capabilities than men with similar or even inferior qualifications.

None of that is necessary or inevitable. But if you are a woman with a great idea and the interest, desire and motivation to launch your own business, where do you begin? Not surprisingly the answer depends on where you are. If you have a great education, some business experience and knowledge, connections with a network of technical, financial and promotion experts and a likely source of funding, you may be ready to go. If not, you're like most people (male or female) and could use a little help. There are plenty of reputable and easy-to-find sources of help for small business ventures. If you want trustworthy support or grants specific to women it takes a bit more research. Reliable assistance is out there in three main categories:

Government Support: While grants do exist for women who own or are starting their own business, none of them are offered by the federal government. Surprised? You may be if you read the ads and headlines of web sites which claim otherwise. Beware of their promises and go to trusted sources to explore the government support that is available. One such source is the Small Business Administration. They don't make grants themselves but they do provide backing for small business loans and you could be a beneficiary. As part of the Recovery Act the SBA has provided backing for $3.2 billion in loans to women-owned businesses. Their Women's Business Centers are a great source of management as well as technical support for business women.

Private Grants: Some private foundations, not-for-profit agencies and corporations do provide grants for women who wish to start or grow a business. You simply have to do some digging in order to find them. Basic online searches are a great place to start - just be wary of sites that are long on promises and short on specifics about available grants. Also check your local library's Reference Desk to see if they subscribe to the Foundation Center Directory. This is an excellent source for searching for any kind of private grant, but it is available only by a relatively hefty subscription. If your library doesn't have it they can still provide solid advice to aid your search, including potential local opportunities.

Motivation and Inspiration: a "soft" subject but not one to be ignored. No matter how passionate you feel about your business idea it's easy to get cold feet when it comes to taking the steps necessary to make it a reality. There are high quality, current and informative books and blogs - by women! - that can keep you up to date, give you amazing insights and ideas, and instill the kind of confidence you need not only to take the next step, but to love doing it. Ignore the come-ons and get ready to be inspired by women who have made it happen and want to help you do the same!

Learn more now at N. S. Jenks, Partner. We provide fast, free, clear and factual information about public and private grants, scholarships, and alternate funding sources.

Source: EzineArticles
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