Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Spotlight on the Useful Obama Grants

“As president I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure that you have the opportunity to contribute to your community, to our economy and to the future of the United States of America” – President Barack Obama

The recession has had a very bad impact on the economy of not only the United States, but also of the rest of the world, with America being the prime victim. However, there are plans set in motion by the federal government to fight the negative impacts of recession and get the money flowing through the economy again. When the Obama administration started taking matters into their hands, they rolled out a $787 billion economic package, specially intended to better the financial condition of the US economy as a whole. Almost all sectors in the economy were hit by the financial crunch; and small businesses being one of the prominent ones. Before moving on to Obama grants for small business, let us understand the role of small businesses in the economy of the US.

Recession and Small Businesses

Small businesses play a very important role in the economy of the United States of America. President Barack Obama stated that approximately 70 percent of the new jobs that were created in the last decade came from small businesses. In general, small businesses are believed to provide employment to around 40 percent of US citizens. The government is also encouraging banks and major financial institutions to offer small business loans. Banks are also required to send a report to the Obama administration regarding the handling of short and long-term loans. Obama grants for small business are also set up for aiding small businesses, contributing to economic growth.

Government Grants for Small Business

If you are thinking about starting a business on a small scale, you can apply for government grants. Note that grants are completely different from loans. Grants are kind of free money which is not required to be repaid; on the other hand, loans need to be repaid with some amount of interest rates applied to it. You can refer to the US government’s grant website for details on how to apply for free grants for small business.

Obama Small Business Stimulus Package

As a part of the billion-dollar stimulus package, President Obama initiated a small business stimulus package. This financial package is intended to give a tax relief to troubled small businesses in this economy. It includes financial assistance of about $730 million to the Small Business Administration (SBA). This economy stimulus package is not only useful for small businesses but also medium-sized businesses.

Small Business Grants

Nearly 275 billion dollars have been earmarked by the administration as federal grants and a large share of that money is for financing minority-owned businesses. The government has recognized the need to support entrepreneurs to help develop these communities. Most federal schemes are reserved for nonprofit organizations and state government projects that work towards community development.

In these times of an economic recession, it is difficult to find gainful employment, hence, the government has come up with a 787 billion dollar stimulus plan to cushion the economy. A large portion of this money will go towards entrepreneurial projects that will create jobs and benefit the people. A good example of such a venture is a day care center, which will provide employment in the community, and will also allow mothers to look for employment without worrying about child care.

Classification

Before beginning your search, you must determine whether or not your concern can be classified as a minority business. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), they are categorized in six demographic groups, namely Asian, African American, Native American (Indian or Alaskan), Native Hawaiian, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander. To qualify, the owner must possess at least 51 percent of the company’s assets or equity.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) website provides details about minority grants and their application procedures. You can also track the status of your application on the government grants website with your funding opportunity number (FON) or CFDA number.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a good resource for obtaining information about grant opportunities and obtaining forms. They also run a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, through which professionally-managed funds invest in qualifying businesses for the long term.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

The U.S. Department of Commerce has created the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) which is committed to assist entrepreneurs from the disadvantaged communities. They provide assistance and tips on how to start a small-scale business. They support small minority business enterprises (MBE) in drawing up marketing plans, provide technical assistance, and financial planning guidance. The MBDA has over 40 business development centers mostly located in areas which have a concentration of minority population and businesses.

Other Agencies

There are many other government and private agencies which provide startup capital to small minority businesses. Some of these organizations include the Prosperity Partnership and the National Minority Supply and Diversity Council. They also help in locating other funding opportunities. Besides, you can visit your local chamber of commerce, check the government grants website, or contact organizations like Rotary.

Credit Card Guide for All College Students

Credit cards are a good option for high school and college students, which helps them carry out numerous basic transactions like hotel and airline reservations, shopping on the Internet, etc. Nowadays, most parents want their children to have a credit card, which would help them in case of an emergency. Despite all the criticism, it provides an opportunity for students to learn more about credit scores and their importance. However, before applying, one should be sure of his abilities to repay the debt every month. Parents are required to assist their child while co-signing for a credit card and they should make sure that it is used properly.
It has various benefits which includes non-requirement of income, lost wallet services, credit education tools, etc. The most important benefit of these deals is that banks are generally lenient with young people with limited loan histories. In addition to these facilities, there are rewards and perks given for student lifestyles, and also benefits like 0% introductory interest rates, rewards, and cashback are also offered.
If one wants to earn rewards, he should read the terms and conditions carefully, as these cards generally carry higher rates of interest. Sometimes, it is also possible that the student with a credit card is eligible for rewards, if he falls into the category of consumers who pay off their debt on time. One can also look for a scheme with cashback rewards or inquire with the bank about the kind of reward schemes they offer. Here are some points one must remember.
Understand the Credit Scores
Credit score is a record of one’s credibility and depends on how punctually he pays back the borrowed money. It is stored at a credit bureau and improves if one makes timely payments. Events such as late payments, incomplete or partial payments, and defaults, affect the scores negatively. This score depends around 35% on one’s payment history, 30% on his outstanding debt, 15% on the length of his loan history, 10% on the recent inquiries on credit report, and 10% on the types of credit in use.

Look out for a Card with Low APR and Interest Rate
APR or the annual percentage rate describes the annualized rate of interest, rather than just a monthly fee or rate, as applied on a loan, credit card, etc. Before deciding on a credit card, students should always check out the APR imposed on its usage. It is advisable to get one with low APR, in order to avoid deferrals.

Government Grants

The federal government as well as the state and local governments extend a lot of help through special financing programs to start or expand small businesses. These programs offer capital at low interest rates. To acquire the best grants, you need to consider the following factors.
Objective of Your Business
The first step is to decide whether you intend to start a non-profit venture for a community service or a technology-related business. This will help you apply for the type of grant you require for the business start-up. Read through the government websites that provide information on innumerable government grants or loans available to start small businesses. Ensure that you have gathered updated data on an everyday or weekly basis.
Kind of Grants Released
Initially, one has to gather information on the kind of grants available pertaining to a business. You may not be able to procure the grant or loan provided by the government, if you are not well-informed about it. You can also approach the special programs directly that provide financial assistance, specific to a particular venture. Some of the grants that are offered by the government are rural economic development loans and grants. The intended goal for such a program is the creation of employment and business opportunity. Other grants include loans for women business entrepreneurs. For instance, if a woman plans to start a daycare center or a home-based business, the chances of getting a grant or a loan to start such small businesses are the highest. You should not write a grant proposal for a non-profit venture to the government agency which aims at technology-related business. If you do so, your proposal will be rejected. This draws the importance of being well-informed about the kind of grants released by different government agencies.

A Course on Grant Writing
A course on grant writing will help you write a very noticeable proposal. You would want a response on every proposal that you write. To ensure that your proposal is accepted, it has to be effective and stand out from other proposals. Your writing has to be personalized, since different government agencies have different criteria for acceptance. For instance, if a government agency offers grants for technology-related businesses, you will have to write your proposal with facts and demographics to establish the need of such a business in the economy. This can be aided by a course on grant writing. The grant proposal is the first impression of the individual applying. As it is rightly said, “First impression is the last impression”. Hence, a course on grant writing will help you cater to this need.