Write And Submit A Grant Proposal
Various government small business grants exist that provide funding for a wide range of problems. Some of these government small business grants are discussed later in this article. Each grant has specific requirements you should ensure that your business can meet these requirements before investing time and money into creating a grant proposal. It often works best to hire a grant proposal writer because writing a grant proposal is a time-consuming and detailed process.
First Nations Development Institute Grants
The First Nations Development Institute is a nonprofit organization that has successfully provided over $29 million total grant money to projects that help Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.
If youâve given up hope that thereâs a grant out there for you, donât worry. There are lots of other small business funding optionsâlike SBA loans, or a traditional bank loan. If you want to know how long your grant will sustain your business operations, consider tracking your burn rate.
Other Government Funding Options For Your Business
These federal and state programs can also help finance your business:
Small Business Investment Company Program – The SBA partners with private investment funds licensed as SBICs to provide growth capital to small businesses. Find out if SBIC financing is right for your business.
Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs – The SBIR/STTR programs are competitive and awards-based. They encourage small businesses to pursue federal research or research and development projects. While exploring their technological potential, businesses can profit from commercialization. Learn how to apply.
State and Local Business Assistance – Find out about state and local business financial assistance where you live. This includes financing for business expansion, state credit initiatives, and more.
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Next Steps For Accessing Ontario Small Business Grants
Small business owners in Ontario can access additional information on how to qualify for federal and provincial government funding programs by downloading our free Funding Checklist.
Download the Government Funding Checklist from Mentor Works to set your startup or entrepreneur business up for successful funding applications down the road.
Determine If Your Business Is Fundable
Before you seek out business support from a third party, make sure that your business concept and plan is viable and fundable, and that you have some data to back it up.
Its one thing to have a great idea, and another thing entirely to have an enduring and highly marketable product or service, says Craig MacMullin, President & CEO of CEED, a provincially incorporated NGO in Nova Scotia thats committed to advancing and supporting entrepreneurs. CEED offers hands-on experiential education, face-to-face networking opportunities, and practical financing solutions.
It is integral that the product or service is creating a solid and enduring solution to a problem that others truly need resolved, adds MacMullin.
To prove that youre sitting on a goldmine worth investing in, do your research. Find out who your target buyers are, and figure out a few compelling ways to demonstrate the need for your products in that niche.
The customer discovery process is so incredibly important from just about every angle: from a financing perspective, the more clearly and robustly you can prove you have customers for your businesses product/service, the much more likely you are to secure funding, notes MacMullin.
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Small Business Grants For Veterans
While grant money is available to disabled veterans, there arent as many resources offered for all veterans. Funding is available in the form of low-interest business loans. Below are a few common funding programs for veterans:
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
Provided by The United States Department of Veterans Affairs , this program provides funds to disabled veterans. To be eligible, veterans must have experienced a service-connected disability that causes employment barriers. The VA requires applicants to receive a disability rating.
- Vets First Verification Program
The VA also offers this program for existing veteran business owners. It isnt a grant, but it does provide services to veteran business owners. They receive priority on contracts at the federal and state government levels, access to capital, and tax benefits. The program offers training and other resources to help these business owners learn how to manage their operations.
- The Street Shares Foundation
This foundation offers programs for veterans, including occasional grants. The company suggests veterans sign up to receive updates, or they can view the foundation website for listings. When funding is available, there are three awards given as follows:
- 1st Place $15,000
Find A Funding Partner
Once you can demonstrate that your product will be in demand abroad, and that you are fundable, its time to find the right financing partner and make it happen.
Research is your best tool for finding the financial resources available to your business. Apply for all the grants that you qualify for, and take a few meetings with private organizations in your area that offer financial support and guidance to small businesses. Try to set aside time to apply for as many grants and programs as possible. It will dramatically improve your odds of success and help you narrow down your best partner.
If grants are the direction you want to go in, start by looking into any of the following excellent resources that are relevant to you:
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Tips On Applying For Small Business Grants
To have the best chance at winning a grant and receiving grant money, there are some things you can do to really help make your application stand out. Here are some of our top tips for applying for small business grants:
Us Department Of Agriculture Grants
USDA grants focus on agricultural development in rural areas. Some of the government grants offered include:
- Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program
- Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants
- Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program
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Are Federal Small Business Grants Better Than Small Business Loans
It depends. Small business grants and small business loans each have their place in small business financing. Your choice depends on:
- How quickly you need the funds
- Whether you are working on a single project or multiple projects
- Ability to repay the loan
In an ideal world, a small business would be fully self-funded and self-sustained. In fact, this is the recommendation for startup businesses. However, there may come a point at which additional funding is needed to facilitate business growth. The table below explains the pros and cons of small business grants from federal agencies and small business loans, so you can determine which funding option makes most sense for your business.
State Small Business Grants
Federal small business grants are limited by industry and in number, and theyâre often very competitive. Donât feel discouragedâlook for grants at a state or municipal level for access to a wider variety of lesser-known opportunities. Below are some places to start looking, but we recommend doing a deep dive into what your own state and local area can offer.
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Alternatives To Small Business Grants
Lines of credit are available to you at any time. Their downside is that they have limits, which are higher than a credit card but much lower than an installment loan. Before signing up for a line of credit, make sure it is large enough to meet your needs. If it isnât, you run the risk of accumulating debt without accomplishing your goals.
Small business loans can go a long way towards turning your small business plans into reality. The downside of small business loans is that the interest rate can depend on your credit score.
In addition to using traditional banks for a line of credit or a small business loan, we recommend that you consider online lenders
Types Of Small Business Grants
There are several types of grants, and you may only be eligible for certain ones.
First, there are grants offered by the government. This includes entities like the U.S. Small Business Administration and more niche departments such as the National Institute of Health, which will have industry-specific requirements for applicants.
Then there are grants offered by private companies. These may be more general and open to a wider base.
Some grants target specific groups, like women or minority entrepreneurs or veterans.
Currently, we also have grants aimed to help those negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Find Out How You Can Take Advantage Of These Government Grants To Start Or Grow Your Business
- Government grants are free federal, state and locally funded programs offered to help launch or grow small businesses.
- Only apply for grants that you are eligible for and can meet all the conditions of the grantor.
- Look to your local government for coronavirus-relief programs specific to your community.
- This article is for new or existing small business owners who want to secure a government grant to help them launch or grow their organizations.
Launching and expanding a small business is expensive, and there are several financial routes you can take to secure funding. For many small business owners, government grants are a desirable option. Several grants are provided by federal, state, and local governments to help small businesses launch, grow, and develop their companies. Learn what the best government grants in 2020 are, how to apply and five tips to help your business get one.
Business Grants Vs Business Loans
As discussed above, with a grant you do not have to repay the funds. However, if you have just launched your business or you’re in the early startup phase, you may not be eligible for many grants. Another potential limitation with grants is that many grants have strict requirements concerning the grant application process and the grant proposal. If your application or proposal doesn’t meet the specific requirements mandated by the agency, your request will be rejected.
If you’re just starting out in business and it’s unlikely that you will be awarded a grant, you may want to consider finding a loan provider.
One advantage of a business loan is that you can secure the capital you need to meet your needs, whereas with a grant, the amounts are fixed and may not sufficiently meet your company’s needs. Another advantage is that some lenders may have more relaxed requirements, such as a lower minimum monthly income or lower minimum time in business.
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What Can Small Business Grants Be Used For
For small business owners applying for grant funding, it can provide a lot of advantages. Grant money is essentially free money for qualifying small businesses to develop and grow without the pressure of paying back a loan.
Some of the categories that small business grants can be used for include:
- Scientific research, or small business innovation research
- Research and development
- Business growth and development for small rural businesses and local grants
- Upgrading business technology
- Sector and industry-specific grants
There are also specific types of grants for small businesses that are offered for limited periods. This can include federal government grants such as Coronavirus Small Business Grants and Shuttered Venue Operators Grants that are also important to keep an eye out for.
Small Business Grants: The Pros And Cons
As a small business owner, you may find it difficult to fund your operations at times. When you run into situations like this, you are likely to inquire about a small business loan or another loan program offered through your financial institution.
Depending on your situation, a business grant may seem more attractive than traditional funding options since they are essentially free money. Grants are a great way to help establish and grow your business without mortgaging your future.
Grants can come in many forms: smallbusiness grants, federal grants, state grants, county grants, local grants and grants from private businesses. Also, it is important to note that grants for small businesses can be supplemental to any other traditional method of funding a business, such as a loan, microloan, or line of credit.
But all business grants have their advantages and disadvantages. There are many things to consider when pursuing this type of funding for your business.
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The Economic Impact Of Covid
Many businesses are affected badly due to the lock-down since the outbreak of COVID-19. As lock-downs are imposed, it simply means business cannot operate on a normal basis.
As a result from shutting down doors for businesses, business revenue plunged. Business owners have to lay off their employees and some might even have to file for bankruptcy.
The bar chart shows the industry that are affected by COVID-19. Source:SMB
Although COVID-19 outbreak affects every businesses, in reality, it actually hits harder for those businesses operating in the hospitality, tourism, aviation, and also personal service industry.
Based on the study conducted by SMB late March this year, small businesses are also facing a sharp brunt from this outbreak. The finding for this study has shown that small businesses with less than 20 employees are most affected mainly due to the cashflow and capital constraints.
In addition to that, there is an increase of 26% of businesses filing for Commercial Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in America as compared to the previous year. As the retail sales tumbled by 16.4% in April, it’s no surprise that the list of retailers filing for bankruptcy is climbing.
The bar chart reflects the world economy GDP growth in 2009 and 2020. Source: IMF
Based on the bar chart above, it’s frightfully obvious that the Great Lockdown this year has greater negative economic impact than the Global Financial Crisis during 2009.
Are There Any Downsides To Business Grants
A variety of factors make many business owners skeptical of the free money that business grants offer. While every grant has a different application period, rules, terms, and conditions, here are some potential downsides you should keep in mind when applying.
As mentioned above, business grant funds are taxable income for IRS purposes. The funds will still be free money for your business, but you will need to make sure you dont spend the entire payout without planning for the added income in your tax bill.
Business grant applications take time. Youre already a time-crunched business owner wearing a million hats, do you really have time to apply for every business grant opportunity you come across? Its a valid complaint about business grants. The likelihood of winning the grant can be small depending on the size of the contest, so you have to make your own cost/benefit analysis to figure out if your most precious asset time is worth it.
Small business grants may require campaigning. Many business grants require a social media component, where you campaign or share something publicly about your grant application. Thats not necessarily a negative if you have an active and vocal social media following, but campaigning does take additional time and some business owners may understandably not want to be as public about their search for money.
This article was originally written on November 19, 2019 and updated on November 9, 2021.
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No Federal Grants For Businesses
The federal government does not offer grants for starting or growing a business. It only provides grants for nonprofit and educational institutions. These organizations focus mainly on medicine, technology development, and other related fields. Find out more about federal grants.
Some state and local programs offer business grants. They usually require you to match the funds. Or, they may expect you to combine the grant with other forms of financing, such as a loan.
Orlando Downtown Commercial And Residential Building Improvement Program
This Orlando program provides business grants between $15,000 and $120,000 for organizations that make improvements to buildings within the downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Agency boundaries. This program encourages the reuse of vacant or underutilized properties and hopes to improve the appearance and support the long-term viability of downtown Orlando.
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State And Local Governments
State and local governments want to attract new business to their areas, especially in this COVID economy, and as such have created a variety of incentive, economic, and loan programs and funds intended to do just that.
Example: Portland, Oregon, wanted to attract more startups, so it created the Portland Seed Fund. Begun with a half-million dollars infusion from the general fund, the fund then approached other stakeholders in the city and eventually created a seed startup fund worth over $2 million.
So check out these sorts of programs in your area.