There is quite a level of interest in grants for small businesses, especially following the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, while the interest from small business owners is high, it is evident that there is a level of misconception and confusion of what small business grants are and are not. This article addresses some of the confusion about small business grants, provides several tips key to be awarded a grant, as well as provides a list of places where small business owners can go to apply for small business grants.
What Are Small Business Grants?
Small business grants are sums of money provided by various agencies, public and private organizations, and government agencies. The sums of money provided in grants do not need to be paid back to the organization providing the grant.
Purpose – Along with most grants is purpose. That is, grants have purposes. For instance, State grants or Federal grants may focus on a bigger picture such as developing jobs or creating a new product that might help the public.
Restrictions as well as Reporting - Grants have restrictions and reporting requirements which generally ensure that the grant is being used the correct way. Further most grants have time limits for attaining results and reporting those results to an overseeing organization or entity.
Matching Funds – Many grants come along with a requirement for the organization to match the funds from the grant with their business’s funds. Matching funds can be tricky as many small business owners apply for grants with matching funds and do not even know that matching is a requirement.
What Small Business Grants Are NOT
Grants are not FREE money for small business owners to just use for their businesses for whatever reason they so choose. The grants that are typically available are not funds which are easy to get and as previously mentioned, the recipient needs to use the funds to satisfy the goals and objectives of the grant providers.
Further, typically grants are given to organizations which are stable and are not seeking funds to bridge a gap in the business’s financials. So, if you are a small business owner and you are looking for a grant that will catch your business up, don’t. In many cases, the financials (which the organization may ask for) of the company who is looking to bridge a gap or catch up will not be strong enough for the granter to send funds to the small business owner.
Where are the Small Business Grants at?
Looking for grants can be difficult. Grants can be found through specific state and local groups, non-profit organizations, as well as private groups. Usually, states and the federal government have websites or databases that list the grants that small businesses can apply for. Many of these databases can be found on departmental websites such as the US Department of Labor or State Departments of Commerce.
There are a lot of government agencies which do provide grants. However, it is important to know that business owners should really consider what they apply for before applying. This will save work and time later on when they go through the formal grant program.
Five Tips To Win Grants
Provide a well-written grant application. A well written grant goes a long way. Those reviewing the grant want to see an educated, well-written grant application that is put together in a way that describes success for the grant activities hoped for with the grant of the organization.
Provide complete and accurate information. Any applications for any grants which are incomplete or fail to provide accurate information can result in a negative grant outcome.
Know the grant you are applying for. When a small business owner writes a grant, they need to understand what the grant is asking for and what will be done to satisfy the grant’s goals. Failure to understand what the grant is looking to achieve and what is expected will result in an automatic decline.
Understand how the grant is being scored. It is important for the hopeful grantee to review the grant specs, as well as any technical assistance used to score the grant. Such an outline helps those writing the grant place what is required within the grant, helping satisfy the requirements of the grant.
Bring in help if needed. If needed, do not be afraid to bring in grant writers, experts, or anyone else appropriate for the grant award. Usually, this is a requirement for most grants.
The BRP Onesta Grant Repository
The team at BRP Onesta constantly keeps up to date a list of ongoing grants, as well as a organization area for all types of grants.
Dr. Thomas Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.