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Have you ever heard of grants? Many of us have heard the word thrown around with the additional of scholarships if your a student, or maybe just heard the word when talking about business startup. Many of us coast over the word, and the opportunity. Grants are free money, and before you say nothing in life is free- it does require you to apply! Grants are an amazing way to jumpstart your business whether your already in the the field OR your looking to start your business. In this blog we are going to cover the basics of grants, what they are, how they can help you and an easy way you can start applying AND finding grants!
(!) Our business has received over 30k in grants and makes it possible for us to continue reaching people at the current capacity!
What are Grants?
The official dictonary definition is a sum of money given by a government or other organization for a particular reason. Grants can be for students, businesses, and regular people! Grants can come from many different sources including:
Federal Grants: These are distributed by the federal/state/city government
Non-Profits/Private Grants: These grants can be distributed from any non-profit or private organization
It’s important you do your own research on your specific grant needs- but for the purpose of simplicity in this weeks blog, we will be covering grants for businesses. However if you are individual looking for free money- check your local state and or big corporations and do some research!
How do I pay it back? Do I have to?
Grants are sources of financial aid, and are NOT loans. Loans must eventually be repaid sometimes with interest- think of student loans. Grants do NOT need to be paid back.
What can I used grants for?
There is no defined use for grants, instead each grant will provide a description and sometimes a required use. Grant programs are usually defined in ways that prevent EVERYONE from applying in, and allow there to be a focus. Some specific grants you can look for to give you an idea:
- Grants for small business owners
- Grants for women-owned business
- Grants for minority-owned businesses
- Grants for tech start ups
- Grants for educational programming
- Grants for business startup
A search for grants for _____________ will essentially lead you to endless possibilities where your business idea or execution will align with the specific grant. Make sure to have your information prepped and loaded.
Some grants will be open to allowing you to use the money towards technology (laptop, monitor), employment (hiring/expanding your team), programming, networking events, conferences, business fees, and operations. It really depends on the grant and their specific stipulations.
Is grant applying time consuming?
As we all know-nothing in life is free and your time is money! But consider this, let’s say you have a long grant application that has the potential to give you $10,000 and it takes you 60 minutes. That means you just made $10,000 in an hour… and to many this is worth it. The grant application process depends on the specific organizations running the application, it could take you 5 or 55 minutes. It’s important that you have your information handy and you don’t have to go chasing it.
What should I have ready when applying?
Again- all applications will be different and ask for different information. However it’s common for them to ask for your business name, contact information, reason for applying for the grants, and asking what you would do with the money if you were to receive it. Some great applications also may ask for additional attachments including grant videos, business plans and pitches, and financial documents.
Once I apply, how long until a decision is made?
Response time can vary and you should definitely look for a date of expected response on the application. If you don’t heard anything within a couple months, check your junk mail and or see if there is a contact on the website you can send an email to! If you are planning on applying to more than 2 (which you should be!) start up an Excel sheet to track. Include things like:
Name of Grant / Organization
Amount Grant is for
Date Closes/Expected Response
Assuming that you apply to hundreds- it best to keep up with them and make sure you are keeping track of your denials and acceptances!
I want to apply, but I don’t know where to start!
As a resource to all of you, I have created a publication on Substack where I send all of you grants every month to apply for. They can range in amounts, requirements and locations and will allow you to have the direct links to the applications so you don’t have to spend endless hours searching.
In addition to this, I have created a grant guide where I go live, and do recorded sessions on grant secrets that will aid in your success! The topics being covered until December are:
Grant Capability Statement
Business Bank Account (! A must-have for grants)
Businesses and Taxes
Business Headshots and Photos
If you are interested in learning the ins and outs AND having grants to apply to ASAP, check out my Substack: Grants for Small Business Owners