According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations are in the health care industry and, in the next eight years, there will be an 18 percent growth in nursing positions across all health care specialties.

An example of a growing health care sector is the need for home health care services for the elderly. With the development of small and portable diagnostic tools, a lowered cost of care, and the preference of many for in-home care, this segment of health care is consider by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be one of the fastest growing areas of health care. Nursing professionals seeking to start a small businesses will do well in a variety of health care sectors.

Business Plan

A major factor in the success of any small business venture is the need to create a business plan. Small business owners will find that during the creation of a fiscally responsible business plan, barriers to entry and other obstacles to success can be uncovered and addressed prior to spending money.

In addition, a business plan is usually part of the application process for the 42 government agencies that offer government grants. For help creating a business plan, visit the Small Business Administration (SBA). It offers free services such as classes and mentorship programs to help create business plans.

Federal Programs

The federal government offers a number of grant programs for health care start-ups, health care non-profit organizations, and health care professional partnerships. These programs include grants in the following areas such as nursing education, nursing practices, and nurse retention grants. The federal government also provides grants for nursing initiatives that promote, prevent, or provide care for specific diseases.

Medicare & Medicaid

Many people do not consider Medicare and Medicaid federal grants, but their application processes are similar in nature. Any nursing or health care practice must fulfill Medicare or Medicaid government certifications and compliance guidelines in order to receive service payments from either Medicare or Medicaid. In addition, federal agencies will not acknowledge the legitimacy of a health care practice without these certifications.

State Grants

Forty-eight of the 50 states now offer small business loans to health care providers and businesses. To qualify most states require that the businesses be approved for Medicare and Medicaid payments. According to the American Nurses Association's (ANA) report on "State Legislative Trends," over 38 states now have grant and student loan programs specifically for nursing.

The Hidden Grant

Under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 501(c) (3) a hospital, clinic or similar health care provider may qualify for tax-exempt status. Business owners will benefit from an official non-profit status that will open them up to other grant opportunities that are not available to for-profit organizations.

To qualify the health care entity must provide health care or promote health for a charitable purpose. For more details on the standard criteria for tax exemption, refer to Revenue Ruling 69-545, 1969-2 C.B. 117 and IRC 501(c)(3).