nations have more money and resources
No, the citizens
of nations have money and resources. Waiting for "the government" to undertake the big projects means they will never be done, or done without any vision and usually in the most inefficient manner. Governments spend, they don't invest
. Private investors will be looking to fund bases or colonies elsewhere for ulterior motives, not simply for the end purpose of planting a flag and then forgetting the whole enterprise for another century.
The US government
can't even send a man into orbit right now, while SpaceX and other private industries can. So already the private industries have something they can sell for their effort. And the government won't be the only customer. A company building space hotels or wanting to put hardware on the Moon—for science or some other industry, such as mining—will talk to companies like SpaceX. The turn around on investments may not be quick, but there will be profit to continue bootstrapping to greater heights.