Grants specifically for ex-felons are re-entry grants for states and nonprofits to help ex-felons re-enter communities. Small business grants, unless they specify that ex-felons cannot apply, are available for anyone with a good idea and a professional business plan.
For business start-ups, develop a business and marketing plan prior to searching for capital to finance the business. Let a business consultant review the business and marketing plan to find out if it is feasible. SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) reviews business plans free.
Research foundations, churches, small business websites and businesses and nonprofits owned or run by ex-felons as a source of possible grant funding. Carefully review grant application guidelines to determine if ex-felons are excluded.
Ex-felons with innovative business ideas and a well written business plan can contact community leaders, angel investors and other business people to market and gain support for the idea. They can also collaborate with non-ex-felons to achieve their business goals and obtain grants.
Warnings and Recommendations
Applications for grants rarely have questions about criminal history. References, work history, business experience will be more important. It is not required to disclose information unless asked. Present business start-up ideas in a professional and business-like manner to potential investors.