14 Small Business Grants, Loans and Resources for Criminals – Forbes Advisor

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Up to 100 million people in the United States (one in three Americans) have a criminal record, according to The Sentencing Project. Because most employers use background checks in hiring processes, many of these people — especially those convicted of a felony — find it difficult to find work.

More than 60% of people who have spent time behind bars in the past are unemployed for at least a full year after their release from prison. Those who can find work earn about 40% less than the general population. Given the fact that more than half of those in state and federal prisons have minor children, the numbers are even more alarming.

Ex-criminals face unique challenges when trying to earn a living after their imprisonment. So it is not surprising that many people in this position are attracted to the idea of ​​starting a business. Rand Corporation estimates that over 3.8% of U.S. small business owners have a criminal record and about 1.5% have a criminal history. These percentages correspond to more than one million small business owners.

Unfortunately, many criminals desperately looking for a fresh start still face unequal challenges as entrepreneurs, especially when it comes to business finance. However, there are resources, such as grants and small business financing, that can help ex-offenders achieve their business ambitions.

5 Small business grants for criminals

Starting a small business requires a lot of effort and access to capital can help a lot. Many small business owners rely on cash they have in personal savings or income from other work to help finance new businesses. However, such resources are often not available to ex-criminals.

Small business grants are a possible solution that could help you find the capital you need to start or grow a business. The biggest benefit of grants is that you do not have to repay them. Because of this advantage, however, you could face a lot of competition in the application process.

Below are five small business grants that criminals should consider.

1. Grants.gov

Grants.gov is a system that can help small business owners – thugs or others – discover grant opportunities from more than 1,000 federal grant programs. To get started, you can set one Workplace account with your details. From there, you can search for grants that match your eligibility and apply online.

2. GrantWatch

GrantWatch is another grant database that can help former business owners (and others) look for financing opportunities. The system details nearly 28,000 grant programs, including nearly 1,200 small business grants.

You will need to Register in the service to access the complete database. The subscription costs from $ 18 per week to $ 199 per year. However, there is a free subscription option that may provide you with limited information about some of the free grants.

3. FedEx Small Business Grant Competition

Through the FedEx Small Business Grant Competition, ten small businesses receive grants of up to $ 50,000 and $ 4,000 in FedEx Office printing and small business services. Other winners may receive smaller business grants (up to $ 20,000) and other benefits as well.

The competition period for the competition has ended this year. But you can check the fitness requirements In connection in an effort to prepare for the next round of grant applications. FedEx reserves the right to conduct a background check on the finalists.

4. State and Regional Grants for Small Enterprises

Your state, county or city of residence may also have small business grants available to entrepreneurs in your area. You may also find grant programs designed with ex-offenders in mind (or at least those that do not exclude people with criminal records) by seeking resources through organizations such as:

  • Economic development centers
  • Local churches or religious organizations
  • State, county, and city government websites

New Mexico, for example, offers its people many stimulation and rehabilitation programs. The state Business Recovery Grant Program provides recipients with grant funding of up to $ 100,000 to cover rent, lease, or mortgage payments. There are many small business grant programs available at various locations throughout the United States

5. Federal grants for small businesses

A former felony will usually not exclude you from the federal grant. But you may not find many federal grant programs designed to help ex-offenders get a second chance.

If you’re interested in federal business grants, consider looking at Grants.gov first. In addition to small business grants, keep in mind that you may have access to other types of federal funding.

The Pell Grant, for example, is a form of needs-based federal student assistance that can help you. You could use a Pell grant to cover the cost of traditional college education or trade-related education that could give you the certification you need to start your own business.

3 Small business loans for criminals

In addition to small business grants for criminals, a small business loan can help you achieve your business goals as well. Consider these three options:

US Small Business Administration (SBA) Microloans

SBA loans can be an affordable way to find financing for your small business. However, loans have a reputation for being strict eligibility requirements and that they are tedious and slow.

If you are considering this type of small business financing, SBA microloans may represent one of your best choices. The program offers credit borrowers loans of up to $ 50,000 through SBA-approved lenders.

The SBA does not disclose any eligibility restrictions on SBA Microloans crime records. However, you should be prepared to provide collateral and personal guarantee.

2. Online small business loans

Online small business loans can provide many different options to help you achieve your goals. And while some online loans may not have the lowest interest rates or the most attractive loan terms available, they often offer flexibility that you will not find with other financing sources such as traditional financial institutions.

As a former criminal, you may encounter obstacles that could make it difficult to obtain business financing. However, depending on your situation, you may be able to find an online small business loan that suits you, including:

3. Business credit cards

Business credit cards can be another good source of funding for some ex-offenders. With many business credit cards, you do not need to have a business credit score to qualify. Revenue requirements tend to be more lenient with business credit cards, especially compared to business loans and other small business financing solutions.

On the other hand, your personal credit history and credit score should meet the minimum requirements of your credit card issuer. If your personal credit is not in the best condition, you may need to improve your credit score before applying for a business credit card with a higher credit score.

5 Small business resources for criminals

In addition to small business grants, loans and credit cards, there are a few other programs that can help you start a business as a former criminal.

1. HelpForFelons.org

Help for criminals is an organization that aims to help ex-criminals in various ways. From finding housing and job opportunities to providing information on grants and small business loans, you can find many resources on the site that can make it easier to navigate life after prison.

2. Prisoners to Entrepreneurs

Prisoners in Businessmen is a non-profit organization that aims to help ex-offenders create a better future for themselves and their families. The organization offers numerous resources, including free entrepreneurship courses (in person and online) and a range of eight weeks of entrepreneurship.

3. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

In addition to small business loan programs, the SBA also provides training and counseling to small business owners — including criminals — through the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).

You can internet search for an SBDC in your area. The programs are available to both small business owners and budding entrepreneurs. An SBDC can provide guidance in areas such as business development, access to venture capital and business financial management.

4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a type of online tool that you can use to raise funds for your business and in some cases, it can change your life. Platforms like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and IndieGoGo give you the opportunity to share your story with others and campaign for donations that could help you fund a new business venture.

5. Investor Angels

An angel investor is someone who offers private financing to a start-up business. In exchange for financial support, the angel investor often demands some form of compensation – perhaps equity in your business or future rights. You usually need to prove that you have a tempting business idea with a good chance of financial success (or market disruption) in order to attract such investors to your project.

There are also non-profit angels who operate with different incentives. Rising Tidal Capitalfor example, its mission is to help individuals and communities improve their lives through entrepreneurship.

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