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How To Apply For Small Business Grants

If you are a small business owner seeking a grant, there are a few things you need to remember. First, when you find a grant you are interested in applying for, take the time to research the grant as well as the grantor. Grant applicants should pay extra attention to application details the first time in order to avoid problems in getting approval.

Omitting a necessary detail, or even going over the maximum word count, can cause delays in the review process or even result in your application being excluded because it was not filled out correctly. It is also helpful to present a grant proposal or business plan that allows your business to stand out above other businesses also seeking grants. A business proposal also provides the grantor more details as to how you plan to operate your business.

Be clear about how you will help others

According to an article in Business Source Complete by Louis Cole, it is imperative that you demonstrate with the grant proposal or business plan how your business plans to “provide jobs and/or significantly raise the skill levels of your local employees." If you do not have someone who is proficient in this area, it may be beneficial to hire a professional who knows how to achieve this goal.

Get the paperwork right

Since private foundations remain the major source of non-government grant awards, “It’s important to find out the mandate of the organization to which you are applying and where your project fits into its program in terms of relevance priority” before applying, according to Peter J. Feilbelman - a scientist who has been the recipient of several business grant awards.  He recommends reviewing the printed mission statement provided by the organization or calling the appropriate program director at the organization.

He also states that “Although submission of a full proposal is permissible at some organizations, a wiser way to start a relationship with a private foundation is via a letter of inquiry.”  Finding out what the organization’s preferences are may save you a lot of time.

Read the guidelines and be timely

Peter also states that “whereas government funding agencies generally provide a set of forms with specific instructions, private foundations vary greatly in this respect.  Some supply forms; others send only guidelines about what they wish included in the proposal.

Allow enough time in the grant-seeking process to fill out the necessary paperwork and ensure that you submit the business grant application and supporting documentation well before the due date. Submitting it as early as possible demonstrates to the grantors the motivation you have for obtaining the grant. Don’t be discouraged if you do not receive the grant on the first request. Continuing to apply will only increase your chances of finally obtaining the grant you need.


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