....there is quite a difference between starting one's own business vs buying into a franchise - at least the grant process sees it that way.
There seem to be quite a few loan programs to help people buy into a franchise but so far I have not seen any grant programs for this sort of thing. So if you really want to go the route of the franchise-thing you may have trouble finding grant programs for it but may be able to find some loan programs for it.
However if you are still considering grants then I would look into the possibility of taking the concept of the franchise that you want to buy into and turnig it into a business that would qualify for grant funding such as daycare or a business relating to children.
As I have noted on my grants pages and blogs there are still grant programs out there for those that want to start a business of their own (as opposed to buying into a franchise). In fact I just recently answered a question similar to your email from another woman who wanted to buy into a franchise with a government grant. My answer to her appears here
then in a later email................
Hi Ms. Rose...you have read my mind, I actually have decided against the franchise idea, I have decided to run my own business doing the same thing without having to give away over half my commission/profits back to the company themselves. It makes much more sense to start my own similar company, as we have very little competition for this. I am debating two options for my start-up business, and I am torn between the two, but both have to do with providing fun and professional service to children. I was wondering if you could maybe give me your opinion on which may be easier in obtaining a grant, and where I might find grants for this type of business. The first is an inflatable bouncer rental business for children's birthday parties, carnivals (schools/daycares), or other celebration events where kids may participate, the start-up costs would be about 20-25,000 and we would be able to keep our jobs and start this over the weekends without too much effort. (2-3 competitors in my particular city, with more within 60 mile radius). The other is an indoor play center for children and toddlers, possibly with both concessions and a cafe sitting area, with inflatable bouncers/slides, interactive games/obstacle courses, arcade games, gym court for basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, as well as a smaller toddler area wth age appropriate toys and fun things to do and learn with. (only one competitor..no cafe and we would like to have a larger variety of equipment than the competitor) The start up costs for this would be much higher and my fiance would quit his job to run this (he only makes about 1200/month). However, our profits would probably be much larger in this business as would our beginning debts....unless we would be able to obtain some larger grants? If you have time and are interested in responding, I would be much obliged. We will soon be adding another addition to our family in the next 2 months, Im wanting to have as much time with my family as I can. My credit is not good right now as we were a couple that got into those ARM mortgages and our payments have been late for the past 4-5 months (we are currently trying to short sale our home..) and my fiance doesnt have bad credit, he just has NO credit..and when I say NONE..he has NONE....so if you have any ideas how to start with our financing and maybe the best decision on what might be easier for us to apply for grant assistance or any funding asstance...thank you so much for responding to my previous email...that was extremely thoughtful of you...I appreciate your opinions and knowledge! :)
It is my opinion that you should combine your idea(s). The more that you have to offer the more potential money your business will make.
Grants do not depend on someone's credit rating.
It is also my opinion that you find a way to make your business a combination non-profit and for-profit because that tactic is now a growing trend. It also (will) give you the "best of both worlds".
If you are looking for getting the most grant financing possible then you are going to have to adapt your business plan to those grant programs that relate to the types of services that you will be providing.
There are grant programs for those that want to start their own business as well as there being grant programs related to childrens' services. You should research and go through these grant programs - read what their requirements and qualifications are as far as eligibilty is concerned and see if you can adapt your business to qualify for eligibility for as many of them as you can find. The majority of grant programs being offered allow for one to apply for other grant programs in addition to their own so you can apply for as many as you are eligible for.
Over 90% of all the information that I have found about grant programs for clients has been online so there would be a good place for you to start looking for these kinds of grant programs.