I’m sure I’m not saying anything surprising when I say that private money is hard to come by right now. Angels have likely seen their net worth plummet from a declining stock market and decreasing real estate market. VC money remains tough and not the approach for many startups anyways. And, of course, you’d be bootstrapping if you could, but you can’t, so that is why you are looking, right? So where should you look at a time like this? Well, spend a few minutes digging around to see if you could qualify for any of the various government programs.
There are countless programs out there and going through them all would take forever, but I’ve listed a few valuable links to check out at the end of this post. But think about SBIR, SBA, NSF, or countless other government acronyms that may offer you an opportunity to find money that isn’t available elsewhere.
One caveat — these programs may not be a good fit if the money needed overnight to keep the lights on or pay employees on Friday. These applications can be lengthy, require lots of time and phone calls, and be worse than preparing your college applications. But, remember this — the government continues to aid small businesses and if you are already battening down the hatches riding out the economic storm, now might be the time for some applications and waiting anyways.
Federal and state governments offer grant, loan and technical assistance programs designed to promote emerging businesses. Competition for these forms of public sector funding is fierce, and the application process is oftentimes quite arduous. Additionally, the funds usually come with burdensome restrictions on what you can do with the money. Nevertheless, some startups effectively use government funds to advance their business development, so these funding sources shouldn