Beware the African-American grant scam

You’ll see it posted on lots of sites geared to blacks.  “get free grants for African-Americans.”   Take it as seriously as the recent Bigfoot hoax.

It is predatory advertising, just like the scandalous loans that are plaguing our communities.  It takes advantage of the great desire to get into business, which has fueled 45 percent growth every five years among African-Americans.

Let me give you this free tip.  If you want to know about every grant and loan program directed towards African-Americans, go to firstgov.gov. Type in African-American and the state or city that you’re interested in and you’ll find it.    We also provide a listing of state level minority business enterprise programs on the left side of the front page of blackmoney.com.

As someone who has been in business for 20 years, let me share this with you.  NO government agency gives away money.  We just spent two years to achieve a $25,000 grant for a historic preservation project.  Government contracting takes patience and resources to stick through a lot of requirements.

As daunting as the application process is, actually complying with government requirements is really interesting.   Mistakes can often turn into investigations.

We are encouraging states to come up with financial intermediaries like the Black Business Investment Corp. in Florida or some of the programs of the state of Maryland to improve the chances of startup financing.

Where these programs exist in state or city government, applications are free and there are usually assistance programs to help with applications at no or minimal cost.

But don’t fall for that grant scam.

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