What Founders Need to Know About Grants
Receiving grants to fund your startup can seem like a dream come true. You’re given money that you don’t have to pay back to fund whatever you need to operate your company to an extent. While grants are great options for founders, they can be hard to come by. Generally, founders have to apply for grants, which the process can take weeks.
While the process could take weeks, it’s also important to understand the criteria of whoever is offering the grant. Often, grants are given by government or another organization to specific industries or underrepresented groups, including green businesses, rural business, women founders, veteran founders, minority founders, and non-profit organizations.
How to Apply for a Grant
When applying for grants, be sure to include everything that is needed for the application. This may include a proposal of your business and your financial data. Sometimes there could be workshops or conferences on specific grants that may be worth applying for. These events can be useful networking for you to increase your chances of receiving a grant by leaving a good impression before even applying. It can also be helpful to reach out to your network or other experts during the application process. The bottom line is to never leave anything out of your application in risk of not being considered.
What Kind of Grants are Out There?
There are several grants out there that are specific to industry, company stage, demographics, and much more. If you are a part of an underrepresented group, be sure to search for grants specific for women, minority founders, immigrants, etc. There are some grants that involve participating in pitch competitions to receive them - don’t rule those out! Pitch competitions are great exercises to tighten up your business plan as well as sharpen your public speaking and pitching skills, which can serve you well in the future when you’re looking for more opportunities for funding.
The Bottom Line
While the grant application process can be long and tedious, the benefits of winning can be immense. However, make sure that it’s worth your time. Don’t be afraid to move on if the application process is limiting your time with what’s most important for your business. Leveraging help through hiring grant writers or seeking out your network can take some of the heavy load off when applying.