There are several different organizations that offer grants for starting a restaurant business. From live 24-hour assistance with grants.gov, to small business planner software with the United States Small Business Administration and individual state grants, there are ways to find government money even in the midst of economic hardship.
Grants.gov, a partner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a great service to use when searching for grants to start a restaurant. Grants.gov has a simple application process with registration taking between three to five business days. Simply download the application, complete it, submit it and track the status. Grants.gov offers 24-hour assistance, and its website is very easy to navigate. However, there are size standards and the government may require your restaurant to have at least 100 employees or make an annual profit of $6 million. All of these details can be found in the type of grant you qualify for on grants.gov.
U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration is an excellent source for finding funding and planning a small business such as a restaurant. This program not only helps start a restaurant, but can help with managing a restaurant too. Within its finance start-up section there is general finance and accounting information, as well as loan and funding, such as grants. According to its website, "please note that while the SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments."
Individual State Grants
State development agencies may offer direct small business grants and other types of financial assistance designed to encourage and assist entrepreneurs, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Locate your local economic development agency, such as the local state department of revenue in which you live or would like to start your restaurant. Most of these agencies have websites detailing the types of grants they offer. The catalog of federal domestic assistance is another source that provides information on individual state grants and can assist in finding an agency or program that may help in starting a restaurant.
Some research grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture can go toward the research of restaurant food. This is an excellent and creative way to fund your new restaurant. Remember, government grants are funded by your tax dollars and therefore require very stringent compliance and reporting measures to ensure the money is well spent. As you can imagine, grants are not given away indiscriminately, according to business.gov, the official business link to the United States government.