Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Australia - Grants For First Time Homebuyers.....

In Australia, there are grants available for first time home buyers! Here is an excerpt:

Demand for home loans is being stoked by the government’s decision to triple a grant to first-time buyers of new homes to A$21,000 ($16,600) and by a record 4.25 percentage points of cuts to the benchmark interest rate between September and April.

Local Businesses

Can Receive

Grant Money

For Improvements!

A local start-up business received a 2 year government grant worth $3.5 Million Dollars. This business is a very good example of a non-profit including a for-profit aspect to their organization so that they are able to receive BOTH grants for nonprofit AND for-profit businesses! This business will provide energy audits for both local area businesses, residential properties and schools! As a matter of fact part of the grant money will be used for energy audits on public and private elementary schools in the local area. The business hopes to do 10 school audits in the first six months, and 60 in the grant's two-year span.

Additionally, preparations are being made for a second round of applications for an energy conservation grant program. The program provides free energy audits for businesses in the district, and matching grants of up to $20,000 for the actual energy improvements. There was an unexpectedly high demand in the first round of applications when the grant program received twice as many applications than was expected -probably because of the apllicants' desire to save money.

The plan is to send solicitations to about 20 companies that have expressed interest in being auditors in the program. Last year, the program had four companies doing the audits.

Also another program is rolling out permanent customer incentives of up to $1,500 for improvements recommended by energy auditors. Depending on what the audit calls for, there will be additional incentives for those types of improvements.


Grant Programs

Seeking Minorities

Who Want To

Start Their Own


The U.S. Department of Commerce has launched a campaign to help minority businesses access government grant funding programs! Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held a conference call with reporters to spread the word about the ways the department will reach out and educate minority business people on how they can take advantage of the
hundreds of billions of dollars available in the stimulus package. According to the Commerce Secretary, "This administration has made it very clear that they want minority business to be aware of the opportunities and for us at Commerce to really make sure they get a fair share of these contracting opportunities."

For American Indian business owners, that means opportunities for grants and contracts above and beyond the almost $3 billion set aside for improvements in Indian health care, education, roads and bridges, water, public safety and housing.

The number of minority businesses has grown over the past four years from 300,000 to almost four million, generating $661 billion in annual revenues and employing more than four million people.

Here is an outline to a number of initiatives and resources aimed at helping minority businesses as far as getting government stimulus money goes:

  • The first initiative is the "one-stop shopping" web site that lists all federal grants and contract opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

  • More details on grants are available at a web site that lists more than 1,000 federal grant programs totaling $500 billion annually.

  • The federal government is going to be looking for minority businesses to participate in these grant processes.

  • Another existing initiative is within the Commerce Department. It is the only agency created specifically to help minority firms; last year it helped minority companies obtain $2 billion dollars in contracts.

  • A new initiative is a series of workshops that will be held all over the country so minority business owners don't have to spend time and money traveling to Washington for information.

  • Broadband workshops have been scheduled in Boston, Mass.; Charleston, W.Va.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Memphis, Tenn.; Lonoke, Ark.; Birmingham, Ala.; Billings, Mont.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Los Angeles, Calif. More information on these workshops can be found at their website. These workshops will aim specifically to inform companies about contracting opportunities specifically with the Commerce Department's initiative to bring broadband Internet access to more Americans.

    The department will be dispersing some $4.7 billion in broadband grants to nonprofits, cities, states and public-private partnerships. The grants will be used to create and enhance the infrastructure of broadband service -- digging trenches, installing fiber optic and other equipment, and again the department will be looking for the participation of minority firms in determining which projects will be funded.

  • Other workshops are held at events and conferences at the local level to reach minority entrepreneurs and educate them about the procurement process specifically related to these government grant programs. More information about local centers and services can be found at their website.

The outreach is already underway. Last month, the department hosted a major national summit in Washington, D.C., to discuss best practices in business development programs and services to increase the growth and development of minority businesses. In addition, there were discussions about grant and contract opportunities that exist within the federal government and the best way to provide this information to minority businesses.

Wade emphasized the administration and department's "tremendous commitment" to making sure minority businesses have easy access to the funding opportunities and to implementing "a very robust plan" across the country to fulfill that commitment.

"Minority businesses are absolutely vital to the American economic recovery and we want to make sure they have a fair share of the opportunities."

Locke confirmed that the available resources are in addition to the specific set aside for Indian country.

"We're talking about several hundred billions of dollars of projects all across America, whether it's repairing (a) ship, whether it's developing devices for the smart grid, whether it's dollars that go to one state for bridge repair and road constructions," Locke said. "We're looking at all these contracting opportunities and we want to make sure that minority businesses, including Native American businesses, have the opportunities to compete and get contracts under all of these programs."

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