Have a business idea you want to pursue or an expansion opportunity you need to fund? A small business grant can help bring your idea to life. Read on to learn how small business grants can help you, what kinds of grants are available, and how Grants Assist can help you identify and apply for grants you qualify for.
Should I Apply For a Grant?
Let’s get right into it and ask the questions that matter. Should you apply for a grant? The simple answer here is that it depends. Many small business grants are earmarked for use in specific industries or towards helping businesses (and, indirectly, the larger economy) meet certain objectives. For example, there may be a grant that can only be used to start a new business in a specific industry or to deploy green technology, while another may only be for women, minorities, or use in a certain location.
Once prospective applicants have narrowed down the list of grants that they can potentially apply for, there is an application process that must be completed. You must also show that you or your business can meet the requirements of the grant you want to secure. This is what Grants Assist can help you with.
Grant money is generally limited, and grants tend to be highly competitive. This means you may be competing with dozens or more companies and individuals for the same funds. The process can be long and may seem daunting, but with professional guidance such as the services of Grants Assist on your side, you will be better equipped to understand and navigate the process and address any issues should they arise.
Keep in mind that finding and applying for a grant is just the first step of the process. After applying, if you win a grant, you must demonstrate during official follow-ups that you are using the funds you secured for their intended purposes.
Why Pursue a Small Business Grant?
There are many benefits to applying for and using small business grants. First and foremost, grant money does not have to be paid back. This makes it a much more attractive option than, say, burning through your personal savings, using business profits that could be used elsewhere, or taking out a loan that will accrue interest.
Second, you do not lose any equity, ownership, or control of your company if you win a grant, as happens if you accept funds from an angel investor or even a startup accelerator, as has become increasingly popular in the fast-paced high-tech and SaaS (software as a service) spaces.
The only potential issues of applying for grants are that finding the right grant and applying for it can take some time. Also, you will likely be required to do some sort of formal or informal reporting on how things are going and how the funds you secured are being put to good use as intended by the grant issuer. Fortunately, Grants Assist can help with these processes. We can help you find the grant that is right for you, gather the materials needed to apply, and produce the reports and proof needed to show performance and how the funds are being used.
Differences Between Small Business Grants and Loans
Grants are usually lump-sum payments (or regular payments at predetermined intervals) that are given to individuals or businesses for specific purposes. When you take out a loan, the lender wants to be sure that you can repay the loan. In contrast to this, agencies that offer grants (such as local or state governments) want you to demonstrate that your business or initiative aligns with the mission or initiatives of the grant. These missions or initiatives can take many forms. They can take the form of empowering certain workers, developing a specific industry, growing a certain niche, meeting green technology goals, enhancing training, improving design, and more.
Types of Grants Available
There are many types of grants available, and there are usually dozens if not more grants available for different sectors. Here is a brief overview of some of the more popular grants we can help you apply for.
Digital Content Creation: These grants can be used to create screen content, fund YouTube channels, develop and market tech projects, deliver diversity, and pay for organisational support, post-production, and digital and visual effects.
Renewable Energy: Renewable energy projects have the double benefit of creating jobs today and reducing economic costs in the future. Some renewable energy grants can be as high as $100,000 and can go up to $50 million, based on the size of the venture and the project at hand. Long-term employment and lower reliance on greenhouse energy sources are the deliverables that are typically expected of renewable energy grants.
Construction & Trades: Some of the grants available in this space include funding for training, relocation, expansion, and hiring employees. These grants can be offered by the federal government and can be state-funded as well. Special grants for hiring the unemployed, the underemployed, or the disabled are also offered to small and medium businesses in this space and can be valued as much as between $10,000 and $20,000 per person hired.
Hospitality: One of the more popular hospitality sector grants is a $30,000 grant to businesses in the hospitality space that can be used to improve energy efficiency in the likes of bars, hotels, and restaurants.
Relocation: Need to move to a lower-cost location? Relocation grants of up to $10,000 can help you make the move. There are 250 such grants available every year (thanks to an annual total endowment of $2.5 million) for businesses operating in a regional area and in an eligible industry who want to relocate to or set up in regional areas of the state that offer the grant. These businesses must also create at least five ongoing full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the local community.
We have helped numerous businesses and startups across the country secure the grants they needed to launch and expand. Our clients range from small startups to established commercial entities. We work across the country, from ACT, VIC, and NSW to QLD, SA, NT, WA, and TAS.
Here are some of our success stories.
- We helped a VIC startup secure a $12,500 grant for upgrading their website for mobile users. We helped them secure payment for business management consulting and mentoring for the owner as well.
- We helped a VIC retail store secure a $5,500 grant to integrate a virtual fitting room on their website.
- We helped a VIC startup secure a grant of over $17,000 to launch a bespoke furniture business.
- We helped an SA business secure a grant of $350,000 to expand a brewery and bar to create 80+ jobs.
- We helped a QLD business secure a $22,000 grant to develop a document management system.
- We helped a QLD business secure a $17,000 grant to refurbish all of their children’s toilets with modern, hygienic, and accessible facilities.
- We helped NSW businesses secure $500,000 in grants to support entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses globally.
At Grants Assist, we can help you identify and apply for grants for a wide range of industries, services, and goals. Our services cover grant applications for:
- Green solutions
- Business expansion
- Job creation
- Payments processing
- Music and entertainment
- Business rehabilitation
- Professional development
- IT/online services
Winning Business Grants
At Grants Assist, we can help you sift through the many types of grants available to find the one that is right for you (and find the one you have the highest chances of winning). However, there are still many steps you will need to complete before securing a grant. We have outlined these steps below.
Develop a Business Plan
First, you need to describe your business or idea and show why it is likely going to be successful. Specifically, your business plan should answer the following:
- What your product or service is. Does the market need it or is it just your passion to create and provide those goods and services?
- Who are you targeting? You cannot sell to just everybody. You need to narrow down your target market and identify your customers.
- Who are you competing with? Are products or services similar to the ones you are proposing already available in the market? What makes you different? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
You need to communicate your competitive advantage in your answers to these questions in your business plan.
Understand Grant Writing
Grants Assist will help you here, but it is good to understand the workings of the process under the hood once you have determined that a grant can help you.
Grant writing is usually quite time-consuming and there is no guarantee at the end of the day if you will win the grant you are applying for. However, understanding what is required of you and what the grant you want to apply for seeks to achieve by giving you money can help you determine whether applying is worth it.
Identify the Right Grant
You need to prove your eligibility for the grant you wish to apply for and then narrow down the list of potential funding sources that you are eligible for. Eligibility can be based on the use case, location, industry, or your personal profile (for example, if you are a woman applying for a grant meant for women, or if you live in a rural area and have an idea that will uplift that location).
Finding the right grant at the beginning is important. You do not want to spend time and money on a grant that you do not qualify for or is not meant for initiatives that include your needs. Getting things right at the outset is as important as having a winning idea to begin with. At Grants Assist, we take the time to understand your needs, identify opportunities that match your unique requirements, and develop a comprehensive application plan to maximize your chances of winning the grant.
Small business grants can be thought of as seed money that you do not need to repay for your business or project. They are usually offered by governments, nonprofits, and local or state agencies. Most grants have very specific aims and objectives that they hope you will help them achieve, such as creating jobs, improving trade, innovating, or contributing to business and the economy in some other way. They do not have to be repaid and can help you get up and running if you are a startup or they can help you expand to new territories or add capacity if you are an existing company.
For most would-be applicants, the advantages of applying for a grant greatly outweigh the costs, and the only added operating cost you may have to face after winning a grant is ensuring compliance with the issuer’s eligibility or use criteria. However, you will likely only win a grant if you already have an idea that meets the issuer’s criteria, so the costs of follow-up and compliance are typically minimal.
With so many benefits, it is no wonder why so many businesses and budding entrepreneurs apply for grants to develop their ideas and grow their businesses. Call Grants Assist today to learn more about how you too can apply for a grant and enjoy the benefits of free funding that can be used to cover many of your most critical and pressing business needs.