Grants for a for-profit catering business aren’t readily available. Most grants are “granted” to non-profit organizations or, if a for-profit company, it’s usually for research and development. National statistics show that only about 2% of grants, whether federal or private, go to for-profit industries and are very hard to obtain. Difficult but not impossible! There are resources available to business start-ups, including catering businesses, especially in economically depressed areas. If you’re in a depressed urban or non-urban/rural environment, grants are certainly worth looking into. While the list isn’t long, here are a few sources where grants may be researched.
- Your State. The first place to look will be in your home state. Search the Internet for potential grant suppliers and also grant databases where you can research literally hundreds, if not thousands, of grant opportunities. Remember though, roughly 2% go to “for-profit” businesses so it may be like searching for a needle in a haystack. But grants are free money and it’s always worth searching for free money for your catering business.
- Use Your Available Resources. Occasionally your local SBA or Chamber of Commerce will know of a local organization willing to accept grant proposals from “for-profit” businesses, which is just what you’re looking for. So don’t forget to look locally.
- Nationally. Search the Internet for organizations that list grant suppliers. There are literally dozens of websites available that provide lists of hundreds and even thousands of websites for potential grants. Some are non-profit, some are governmental, but all have expansive databases that list available grants. Again, it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack, but free money is free money! Finding a grant for your start-up catering business can be a huge benefit.
- Finally…The Grant Writing Process. Grant writing is difficult and time-consuming. You can do it yourself if you have the determination, but it’s often better to hire an expert. The downside to this is that you’ll have to pay the grant writer whether you are awarded the grant for your catering business or not. Grant writing fees generally run 5% of the total grant.
Grants aren’t a reliable source for funding a catering business but, depending upon the economic climate in your area; it could be a real boon for your financial plan. And even though it may be considerably time consuming, it’s always worth the effort to secure free funding.