Starting a business is no easy process, and maintaining one can become a burden that can turn the hairs on your head gray.
There are so many things to take into account when managing a business that it can all be too much for one person to shoulder alone. Soon enough you will scour for ways to fix the rut that you are in, and though you may think that you are at a dead end, turn to business grants for the next big step in your business venture.
What is a Business Grant?
A business grant is a sum of money awarded to a business by a government agency or other organization.
The grant is typically given to help the business start or grow, and it is often awarded based on the potential of the business to contribute to the local economy or to achieve a specific goal, such as improving the environment or increasing access to technology. Business grants are typically awarded through a competitive process, in which businesses submit proposals outlining their plans and how they will use the grant funds. Unlike a loan, a business grant does not need to be repaid.
How Business Grants Help a Business
A new business is a brimming platform of potential, capable of reaching astronomic heights if given the chance. However, that chance does not come by luck, and business owners must be able to navigate the business world knowledgeably and carefully if they want their businesses to start blowing roofs off. Small business grants are the missing rocket fuel that your business was missing, and if used the right way, the road to achieving a business’ goal will be cut much shorter.
When used the right way, a business grant has a bunch of benefits other than just extra capital and it can open up multiple doors to your business that will only let it grow faster at an almost organic pace.
One of the key benefits of small business grants is that they provide funding that does not need to be repaid. Unlike loans, which must be repaid with interest, grants are awarded based on the potential of the business to achieve specific goals or contribute to the local economy. This means that businesses can use grant funds to invest in their operations without incurring additional debt.
Another benefit of small business grants is that they can provide access to resources and expertise that can help businesses succeed. Many grant programs offer support and guidance to grant recipients, including training and mentoring to help businesses develop the skills and knowledge they need to grow. This can be especially valuable for businesses that are just starting and may not have the experience or expertise to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship.
Small business grants can also help businesses to expand and create new jobs. By providing funding to support growth, grants can help businesses to increase their operations and hire new employees. This can have a positive impact on the local economy and can help to create a more vibrant and diverse business community.
Valuable support is given by business grants from all angles – finance, resource, expertise, and job opportunity, all while having little to no drawbacks. This goes to show just why business grants are as competitive and sought after as they are, and why you should handle the documents needed to get you one as soon as possible. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to do just that.
How to Get Approved For Small Business Grants Financing
To get approved for a small business grant, you’ll need to follow a few key steps.
First, research the available grant opportunities to find ones that are relevant to your business and its goals. Look for grants that have eligibility requirements that you meet, and carefully review the application process for each grant program.
Next, prepare your application materials. This may include writing a business plan, gathering financial documents, and preparing any other required materials, such as a proposal or project plan. Be sure to carefully review the application requirements for each grant program and include all required information and materials in your application.
Once you’ve completed your application, submit it according to the instructions provided by the grant program. This may involve mailing it, emailing it, or submitting it online. Be sure to submit your application on time, as late applications are often not considered.
After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll need to wait for a decision. This process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the grant program. Be patient and don’t hesitate to follow up with the grant program if you have any questions or concerns.
If you are awarded a grant, congratulations! Use the funds as specified in the grant agreement, and be sure to provide any required progress reports or updates to the grant program. This will help ensure that you continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the grant and can use the funds to achieve your goals.
Following these steps is paramount to increasing your chance of getting that grant, and the institutions providing them will strictly scrutinize everything down to the last detail as most grants will be very niche with their clients and partners. So, follow these accordingly and religiously because missing even a single step might mean that you have missed out on that golden opportunity and you have merely wasted your time.
What To Avoid
You can easily get lost in the shuffle when applying for grants, and the room for mistakes is rather wide.
Pitfalls and traps will be waiting for you in the application process, and you should be vigilant of yourself and the documents you will be preparing. The most important things to take note of include:
One common mistake is applying for a grant that you are not eligible for. Be sure to carefully review the eligibility requirements for each grant program, and only apply for grants that you meet the qualifications for. Ineligible applications are often not considered, so it’s important to make sure you meet the criteria before applying.
Another mistake to avoid is not thoroughly preparing your application materials. Grant applications often require detailed information about your business and its plans, as well as financial documents and other materials. Take the time to carefully prepare all required materials, and make sure they are complete and accurate. Only complete or prepared applications may be considered for funding.
In addition, it’s important to submit your application on time. Grant programs often have strict deadlines for applications, and late applications are often not considered. Be sure to carefully review the application deadlines for each grant program and submit your application before the deadline.
Finally, avoid assuming that your application will automatically be approved. Grant programs are often highly competitive, and not all applications are awarded funding. Be prepared for the possibility that your application may not be successful, and have a plan in place to seek alternative sources of funding if needed.
Small Business Grants You Can Apply To
The Small Business Innovation Research program, or SBIR, is an initiative dedicated to encouraging small businesses to participate in federal research with the promise of commercialization. With SBIR, small businesses are allowed to explore new technology and be allowed to profit from commercialization. Research and development is a core theme in SBIR, and it allows small businesses within the United States of America to be involved with innovation.
For a better scope, the SBIR program’s main goals are:
- Stimulate technological innovation.
- Help small businesses meet federal research and development needs and foster them along the way.
- Help women-owned businesses to grow.
- Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived 1 federal research and development.
To be eligible for the SBIR program, there will be a specific set of criteria required, among which include:
- Be a for-profit organization
- Located in the United States
- More than 50% are owned by individuals who are citizens of the United States
- Have a maximum of 500 employees and affiliates
Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program
Moving from the United States to Canada, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program is Canada’s largest funding project. This program encourages businesses to participate in research and development, intending to strengthen Canada’s business and innovation sectors. With this, SRED aids businesses that have the potential for scientific breakthroughs and show promise of technological advancement and will incentivize those businesses with tax decreases, financial funding, and the technological power required to do so.
To be eligible for SRED, there are a few work requirements that will be asked, these include
- The business operation must operate within Canada, with the promise of conducting analysis and data gathering in a systematic format.
- Must be done for technological advancement.
United States Department of Agriculture Grant
The United States Department of Agriculture is heavy on providing assistance and opportunities to moderate-income businesses with a plethora of available programs and grants. With a focus on the country’s local agriculture and its population of farmers, the USDA will assist farmers who need access to capital, professional advice on land planning, need a hand with operating costs, and even provide the necessary equipment.
To have a better view of all USDA’s wide range of assistance, visit this site.
Business is all about persistence and grit, perhaps even more so than all the logistics that come into making a business survive – business owners should have the energy to actively find a way to keep their business running.
Business grants are just one of the many ways that you can keep your business up and running, and with them comes the perfect opportunity to regain momentum, footing, and foundation for your business. It is an opportunity that you do not want to waste so make sure that you get to hit the nail right on the head with every step that you take.
Shelly Solis is one of the co-founder of SaaSLaunchr, a website offering guest posting services and search engine optimization. Read more about her insights and thoughts on the Saaslauncr.com blog.