Cash in hand is important in any small business endeavor. It takes not only a savvy entrepreneur, but one with the financing and management skills to put the money to good use. The rumor mill is constantly running regarding grant money and small businesses. Is there really cash available for aspiring entrepreneurs?

The truth is that the government isn't giving away free funds to any type of small business owner. If you are an average business owner with a coffee shop, clothing boutique or auto detailing business in mind, then chances are slim that you may secure a government grant. On the other hand, there are some special circumstances that might qualify your small business for a government grant:

Community Development. The government often awards grants to nonprofit organizations that are striving to start businesses or complete projects that will benefit communities as a whole. For example, a general contractor might be able to get a grant for a downtown redevelopment project. Special interest groups are often times the recipients of grants that enhance communities in other ways, such as offering community healthcare education programs or substance abuse treatment programs.

Cutting-Edge Research. Another leading area that the government channels grant money into is research. The government only supports specialized small businesses that are dedicated to a unique cause, usually in fields related to science and medicine. Typically, grants given for research are applied to develop new and exciting technologies.

Veteran & Disabled Preference. For veterans of the armed forces and persons with certain types of disabilities, the government sets aside a certain amount of money to be issued in the form of grants. Monies obtained through this method can be used by veterans or disabled persons to purchase equipment that is necessary to start a business, or perhaps attend college or vocational classes to learn a new skill.

Economic Stimulus. If you happen to live in a part of the country that is under distress for some reason, your business may qualify for a grant. This might include a region that is struggling as a result of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or flood.

This is the bottom line on government sponsored grants: There is no such thing as "free money" and the government only supports specific initiatives that are aimed at specific outcomes. However, if you fall within the ranks of endeavors the government sponsors, you can access helpful funds that are essentially "free."