While the federal government does not provide grants for starting or growing small businesses, it does provide a myriad of services to assist entrepreneurs in pursuit of their dreams. One of the mechanisms in place to promote small business growth and economic development is the Community Development Financial Institution Fund managed by the US Department of the Treasury. In the current fiscal year the federal government is allocating more than $12 Million to support CDFIs.
Community Development Financial Institutions fall into four categories:
The genesis of the Community Development Financial Institution Fund was the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. The reason for the fund's existence is to foster economic revitalization and community development.
The Small Business Administration has established the Portable Assistance Program wherein they seek to provide grants to Small Business Development Lead Centers that provide services to small businesses in an effort to increase the success of small business establishments and their viability in certain communities where economic hardship is apparent and is attributable to the impact of a major disaster.
The Small Business Investment Companies Program revolves around the notion of developing privately owned and managed investment companies which will be licenses and regulated by the Small Business Administration, so as to provide equity capital, long term loans, and advisory services to small business requiring such services.
The Guardian asked leaders and experts across the social enterprise sector to share what inspired them to establish their social businesses.