The number of companies and outright scams—all selling information about “government grants” or guides to government grants—is growing through Internet spam and telemarketing. All of these offers are built on the false idea that individuals are eligible to receive thousands of “unclaimed” dollars from the government—money that can be used for almost anything, including personal expenses or starting a business.

In reality, both the state government and the federal government prefer to invest in small businesses by operating loan programs or assistance programs that involve some sort of shared contribution rather than handing out “free money”.

Television ads and Internet sites use the word “grant” to describe any kind of payment from the government. Most of the “hidden government money” comes from public assistance for lowincome families, the elderly or the disabled. These are largely entitlement programs—not competitive grants. Generally speaking, government grants are not made to individuals. For individual benefit programs, the federal government provides a comprehensive list at and

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We encourage entrepreneurs to visit the state’s website at to find out about legitimate government resources to help their small business get started or expand.

Government grant scams will continue as long as people believe the government is handing out free money. Do not be victimized by these scam artists. Assistance in exploring financing options is available free to entrepreneurs in Minnesota.