TechHelp has always followed a “No Wrong Door” policy with our clients in regards to working with our partners and affiliates. We ALWAYS do our best to line clients up with the right resource…EVEN IF THAT IS NOT US.  On this page, we compiled a list of resources that can be helpful to Idaho manufacturers, processors, and inventors.  Please feel free to send comments or suggestions to TechHelp at admin@techhelp.org.

Funding Sources for Idaho Business

Few grants are available to start or expand a for-profit business unless you have invented a new technology. Most grants are available to non-profit and community organizations to expand their work or to fund special projects and activities.

Many grant oriented conferences and books are scams. They say there is free money, and there is, but not for a typical for-profit business. For information on a national grant scam that has been around for years, visit this web page to read an article from the Consumer Fraud Reporting website. You do not need to purchase books or pay for help to locate legitimate grant opportunities. The information is available for free on the Internet and from your local Small Business Development Center or SCORE office.

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG):  Rural Business Development Grants are available from the USDA Rural Development Office to support assistance and training for small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The goal of this program is to develop and expand rural businesses so that they can create a positive economic impact on the surrounding area.
RBDG Funds can be used for training and technical assistance, such as:

  • Business counseling & training
  • Product & service improvements
  • Leadership and project planning training
  • Market research & feasibility studies
  • Distance learning for job skills & advancement

TechHelp’s Regional Manufacturing Specialists listed below can determine your eligibility, answer your RBDG questions and help with creating an application:

Learn more about RBDG Grants here.


Workforce Development Training Funds (WDTF):  WDTF can reimburse employee training costs to eligible companies that are bringing jobs to Idaho, adding jobs through expansion or upgrading skills of current workers who are at risk of being permanently laid off. The fund is financed by employers through an offset to the unemployment insurance tax.
More Info Here.

State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP): These grants are a tremendous opportunity for Idaho companies in any industry to assist with export market development and promotion activities. Businesses looking to increase their exports, find new markets, or get involved in exporting for the first time are encouraged to apply.
More Info Here

  • Grants are available on a competitive basis to companies who meet the small business standards as set by the SBA. Federal Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation for the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant Program funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is $8 million. This amount is considerably less than appropriations for year one and two at $30 million in each year of the first two years of the three-year pilot program. Even though competition will be fierce, we are confident we will be successful applicants and have submitted what we believe will be a winning proposal. We expect Notification of Awards to be announced between late August and early September.In year two of the STEP program, the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded 89 grants to 68 small businesses. While the Idaho companies that received these awards are still fulfilling the requirements of their grants, over $12 million in immediate sales have resulted from year two of STEP grant funding. The total amount awarded in year two to Idaho through this program was $405,128, and it made a significant difference to our Idaho Small Business exporting community.

Non-profits: 

Other Programs: Special business assistance programs for women, minorities, veterans, the disabled, and others are available, but these are usually for low-interest loans, government contracting opportunities, and other types of assistance. They are rarely for grants.

Grants for Women: Zion’s Bank offers annual “Smart Women Smart Money” grants. The competitive grants are for $3,000 or less for special projects in the following areas:

  • Business
  • Community development
  • Continuing education and teacher support
  • Child and elder care
  • Health and human services
  • Arts and culture

For information, see www.zionsbank.com/learning-center/swsm-grant.jsp.

  • Crowdfunding is a financing option designed to quickly raise funds by securing many small donations from many contributors. The most common type of crowdfunding involves soliciting donations from the public to start a business or launch a new product. Donors receive a specialty gift for donating. Two popular crowdfunding donation websites are Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.
    About 30 percent of businesses meet their funding goal. If they don’t, the business receives no money and the funds that were raised are returned to the donors. Crowdfunding is most successful when a business needs to raise a modest amount of money in a short time. The median donation is $25 and the average donation is $70.
    The most easily funded products are games, art, books, music, food, and fashion and design. Crowdfunding is not often successful for service businesses, websites, app development and any other business not offering a tangible product. Equity funding and debt funding are two other types of crowdfunding. Equity funding involves selling small amounts of equity in a business to a large network of purchasers. Crowdfunder is an example of equity crowdfunding. Debt funding involves providing microloans, usually to individuals in emerging nations. Kiva is an example of debt crowdfunding.
  • Venture Capital: Finding venture capital may seem like the answer to many small business funding needs, and it may be if you have a solid business plan, a track record in your industry or a related one, a qualified management team, and you don’t mind giving up a piece of your business and having someone watching over your shoulder. Most venture capital firms invest several million dollars in the companies they fund and in return expect a management position within the company or a seat on the board of directors. To find a venture capitalist, ask your banker, attorney, or accountant for a recommendation to a company that specializes in your field and then arrange an introduction. (Most VCs don’t like cold calls.) Most venture capitalists prefer companies in rapidly growing industries, such as technology or biotechnology. Even then, only a small percentage of businesses (less than 1%) qualify for funding. Venture capital funding is a fertile field for scam artists. Before engaging in business, call the chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau in the community where the company is located and ask about them. Contact the Attorney General’s office in the state in which the business is located and ask if complaints have been filed against them.

  • Angel Investors: If your business is in the early start-up phase or you don’t need enough money to qualify for venture capital financing, seeking an angel investor may be more appropriate. Angel investors are wealthy individuals or groups that provide smaller amounts of money than venture capital firms. Like venture capitalists, angel investors usually prefer to invest in rapidly growing small businesses that will provide a high rate of investment return in a short time. They will expect a seat on the board and may also take a management position within the business. Your banker, attorney, or CPA may be able to arrange an introduction to an angel investor. Like venture capitalists, angel investors don’t usually like cold calls, and only a small percentage of businesses qualify for funding (less than one in 500). An online Venture/Angel Capital Resource Directory is found at http://www.vfinance.com. The site matches investors with businesses seeking venture or angel capital. To find venture capital and angel investors interested in investing in Idaho businesses, do a search of the resource Wizard. For more information on venture and angel capital funding, visit the Small Business Administration website at http://www.sba.gov/content/venture-capital.
TechHelp Partners and Affiliate Organizations
A Variety of Helping Organizations
 

Lobbying

IACI – Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry

Technology Commercialization

ITC – Idaho Technology Council

Consulting

TechHelp – Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center, EDA University Center

Idaho SBDC – Small Business Development Center

TECenter

Professional, private consultants

Trade, Networking

SWI-MA – Southwest Idaho Manufacturers’ Alliance

NIMA – Northwest Intermountain Manufacturers’ Association

Industry Sector

IDA – Idaho Aerospace Alliance

IFAMA – Idaho Firearms Accessories Manufacturers Association

IMPA – Idaho Milk Processors’ Association

Government

Idaho Departments of:

Labor

Commerce

Agriculture

Environmental Quality

Economic Development

IEDA – Idaho Economic Development Associations

Regional economic development organizations

County ED organizations.

City ED organizations

BVEP – Boise Valley Economic Partnership

Universities, Colleges

Boise State University – Economic Development

University of Idaho – Economic Development

Idaho State University – Economic Development

Northern Idaho College

College of Southern Idaho

College of Western Idaho

Northwest Nazarene

BYU Idaho

Etc.

Food, Agriculture

UDI – United Dairymen of Idaho

IDA – Idaho Dairymen’s Association

IDPC – Idaho Dairy Products Commission

Idaho Potato Commission

Food Producers of Idaho

Idaho Forest Products Commission

Idaho Wine Commission

US Dry Pea & Lentil Council

Northwest Food Processors Association

Professional, Misc.

AMN – American Manufacturer Network

IDEC – Idaho District Export Council

Kickstand

ASME

ASQ

APICS

Surface Mount Technology Association