West Points

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grants for businesses?

By Pamela Patterson, CEO

I can always tell when the calls are coming in to business owners soliciting how to receive grants or funds to expand or start a business. I am a West Company employee of 12 years. Within this time and every recession, the grant scammers come out in force and prey on business owners or those wishing to start a business.

Just the other day a business owner came in that had wire transferred $3,000 to a company claiming to help him to get non-profit status in order to expand his business and funding. Anyone should be alerted to a company suggesting non-profit status for a business. Funding is a typical word used for both grants and loans, and is a common word used by companies that are trying to maintain ambiguity. When you hear "funding" you may think free grant money, but in reality you are getting a high interest predatory loan.

A few questions later, I knew it was a scam, and yes I already knew this before the questions. He read the contract for the first time that stated he couldn’t get a refund or dispute the charges. Another tell -tale fact, the company name changed from the first contract offer to the current one. He wanted to know if he should send $5,800 on to the second company. Well you know my answer. A solid NO! It used to be that the entry for these scams was $39.95 for a book and it was refundable or you could charge these large sums on a credit card and dispute the charges. Now they want a wire transfer that is cash and it is gone the moment you send it.

Grants to start or expand businesses are extremely rare (you have a better chance of winning the lottery). Better to keep your money in your pocket and seek out assistance to better manage your business. As the Mendocino Women's Business Center and Small Business Development Center, West Company offers services at no or low cost that can help you manage your financial health and your business!

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