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Dear Mr. C:
It's wonderful that you figured out life enough to get your business going and that now you want to make it grow.' I believe that we have to continue to do that no matter how successful you become in life. You can never just stand still because in our fast changing society that means you are slipping backwards. It is almost a "grow or die" mentality that is needed to succeed in our economy and it is understandable that you are living with this feeling. Now let's see how we can help.
The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance is an association of over 100 venture capitalists who want to advance the livelihoods of low-income people and the economies of distressed communities through entrepreneurial activity. To find out about the opportunities for you, contact: Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, 330 Seventh Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10001; 212-594-6747; Fax: 212-594-6717; www.cdvca.org; Email: email@example.com.
The NAACP's Fair Share Program helps minority small businesses get government contracts. To find out how, contact: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 4805 Mt. Hope Drive, Baltimore, MD 21215; 877-NAACP-98 or 410-521-4939; www.naacp.org
No matter how much we research, we know we do not have all the sources available. There are always more sources of money than any one person can present to you, even us. So, below are the main places for finding programs to meet your needs.
1) Find Federal Money Programs for Business
Look at a book called the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. This book is available at your local public library or the U.S. Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov. You can also search the contents of this book for free on the web at www.cfda.gov.
2) Find State Money Programs for Business
Look for the state office of economic development located in your state capitol. You can find them by dialing 411 and asking for your state capitol operator or by going to the web at www.govengine.com and clicking on your state. Then start looking for web sites on business or economic development. Every state offers a wealth of help and information on starting a business. Some offer job training funds, export assistance, technology resources, tourism promotion, industrial revenue bonds, revolving loan funds, and more. Most have a State Business Resource Guide to assist you in your search.
3) Find Local City and County Programs for Business
Start looking at every local city and county government for programs that help businesses. They all have them. If you don't know where to go, you can call 411 and ask for the mayor's office or the office of the county executive. Just tell them you want to start or expand a business and want to know about any and all programs. You can also go to www.govengine.com and under each state there will be a listing of all cities and counties. Click on those of interest and search for economic development or business programs. Remember, you can start a business in any state, city or county and not live there. The people who give out the money just want your business to be there and you can commute.
4) Find Money From Non-Profit Organizations for Business
There are 4 major sources for finding money from these groups:
A. The Association for Enterprise Opportunity in Arlington, VA maintains a database of non-profit organizations that provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs. Contact them at 703-841-7760 or http://www.aeoworks.org/index.php/site/page/category/find/
B. The Foundation Center of New York City maintains a database of all foundations that provide money to non-profit organizations or individuals. Their information is available on the web at http://fdncenter.org or from their participating libraries by contacting 212-620-4230 or 800-424-9836.
C. The Guidestar Company in Williamsburg, VA also maintains a database of foundations and they can be reached at 757-229-4631 or www.guidestar.com. Much of their database is accessible for free on the web.
D. The Aspen Institute's mission is to identify, develop, and disseminate microenterprise program information. To find resources near you, contact The Aspen Institute, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036; 202-736-1071; Fax: 202-467-0790; http://fieldus.org.
Wow. You are probably tired just from reading all this, and you haven't even started any of the real work yet. That's the problem with life nowadays. It's a lot bigger and complicated than it used to be. When I grew up in the 50s there used to be just one place to turn to for help, and that one person seemed to know it all. Now times have changed. No one person knows everything anymore. Life's become so complex. Even I, who have been studying money programs for over 25 years, and am likely to be the best one in the country at it, still don't feel like I know it all.
You can't trust a "no" answer anymore. No, just means that they don't know anything. It seems that success in this world goes to those who don't take no for an answer and find a way to solve the problem no matter what the experts say. The experts are wrong too many times to trust them completely.
It's fun to continue to learn new sources of help and new skills for finding money. I always believe that the sources you identify this time and don't use will be of value to you some time in the future, but you just don't know it yet.
I hope our sources give you some help. Hang in there; it's a big world and there are lots of sources waiting to help you, but they won't come looking for you, you have to go looking for them.
Matthew LeskoEntrepreneur and Best Selling AuthorInformation USA, Incwww.lesko.com