Business Grants and Funding Sources for Activity Providers

If you’re a small business, take note of these 6 options–including grants, contests, and crowdfunding–to help you reach your funding goals.

By the ActivityHero Team

If the prospect of finding money to grow your small business leaves you feeling overwhelmed, intimidated, or confused, you’re not alone. According to a recent article in Small Biz Trends, 60 percent of small business owners never apply for funding to support innovation. Nearly half of the respondents didn’t apply because they believed they would be rejected or viewed the process as too complicated. One third said they weren’t aware grants were available.

Why Should I Apply?

Here’s the good news: developing a solid plan to fund improvements for your small business is smart advice, according to the report. For those businesses that did apply for funding, innovation drove financial success and improved productivity for businesses of all sizes, whether that innovation involved offering new services, improved marketing, or hiring.

To help streamline your search for alternative funding and small business grants, we’ve identified six sources of growth funding that have proven helpful for other kids’ camps and activity providers.

Small Business Grants

  1. NASE Micro-Business Grants are worth up to $4,000 each and applications are open to National Association for the Self-Employed members. Past recipients used their growth grants for computers, equipment, to hire part-time help, marketing materials, website creation and more. Past grant winners have come from a range of industries, including kid-oriented services like nutrition coaching and childcare. As a recent example, Let’s Have Fun Daycare was awarded an NASE Growth Grant in September 2017.  
  2. Amber Grants are exclusively for female business owners. Each month, one finalist receives a $1000 award. Those 12 finalists become eligible for a $10,000 Amber Grant awarded annually. In December 2017, Tiffany Rachann, owner of Imagiread, which offers family literacy classes and programs, was chosen as a finalist in the program.

Grant Contests

  1. Challenge.gov offers a searchable, centralized database of challenge and prize competitions run by more than 102 agencies across the federal government. These wide-ranging opportunities include business grants such as the SBA InnovateHer Challenge. That competition focuses on efforts that “have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families.” Last year, one of the 10 InnovateHer finalists was Jessica Dehn of Dino Drop In, which offers childcare for busy families who have frequently changing work schedules.
  2. ActivityHero.com has a new business grant contest exclusively for kids’ camp & activity providers that will award $15,000 in cash and prizes. The first 3 of 9 finalists will be chosen in June, and the finalists are guaranteed to win $500 in services from ActivityHero, GoDaddy, 4Imprint and PsPrint. A Grand Prize $10,000 winner and Silver Prize $3,000 winner will be announced on August 15. The sooner you apply the more chances you have to win. Apply at http://activityhero.com/go/grant

Crowdfunding

  1. Kickstarter’s mission is to bring creative projects to life. Over 60% of campaigns seeking $10,000 or less achieved their funding goal. Music, theater and dance projects are the most successful Kickstarter categories with funding success rates ranging from 50-62%. Dragon’s Haven, a summer camp that uses storytelling and role playing to teach 21st century skills to teens, successfully raised $5,000 with a two-month campaign they started in February of this year.
  2. GoFundMe.com is the largest largest social fundraising platform, and successful campaigns on the site focus on compelling stories and personal appeals. As an example, after Dover Academy’s 7th and 8th graders raised over $6,500 themselves for a special field trip to Yosemite National Park, their teacher Kacie Yarborough created a GoFundMe to help them raise the remaining $7,000.

ActivityHero is the leading online marketplace for kids’ classes, camps, and workshops. Be part of our network of providers and find out more about the range of services we provide.