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By Debbie Gregory.

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In Part 1 of this mini-series, we went over some of the basic information you need to know in order to find the possible small business grants. Once you have found the right grant that you may be eligible for, what do you do next?

How to Apply for a Small Business Grant

The application process for most grants can be rather lengthy and challenging. Each grant can take weeks to complete and submit. Be sure that you are only applying for grants that you have the best qualifications for and have a good chance of winning approvals.

Thankfully the SBA, or your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), is always there to help. They offer free resources for researching grants, understanding their requirements, and even training courses to help you get on the right track.

Here are the three basic steps for applying for any grant:

1.) Research Each Grant Very Carefully:

You absolutely must understand the eligibility criteria for you and your business. The grant process will ask about both, in depth. You will need to know the deadlines for the grant(s) that you select as well as be able to meet them or your application will be automatically rejected. Grant agencies rarely give extensions or make exceptions to deadlines.

2.) Compile and Submit All of the Required Documents:

The grant making agency or organization will provide you a detailed list of all the information and documents that are required from you to apply for their grant.  Incomplete or incorrect applications can delay your application or cause an outright denial. This list usually includes items such as:

  • Current financial statements
  • A business plan
  • A grant proposal
  • More

3.) Make Sure That You Understand Certification or Verification Requirements:

Always be sure that you meet all requirements before applying for any grant so that you don’t waste your time, the time of others and valuable resources.

Do I Have to Pay Back A Small Business Grant?

Most people avoid searching for and applying for grants because they fear they will have to pay them back which may put them into a financial bind. However, unlike a loan, you are not required to pay back a grant. This is the main reason that grants have much more challenging eligibility requirements than loans do.

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

Always hire a professional if possible, to assist you with the process.  Knowing and understanding how to write a strong grant proposal is a specialized skill.  There are professionals who do this all the time.  It might make good business sense for you to consider investing in the cost of hiring a professional to assist you.

Please do be on the lookout for scammers. Make sure that you are utilizing legitimate vendors to search any grants that are behind a pay wall. Legitimate grants will also never require you to put up matching funds, such as cash or financing.

Make sure you will not need to register with any required government databases, such as System for Award Management (SAM). If you are required to do so, please make sure to do your research and complete the correct process.

Though applying for a grant may be challenging and difficult, they present an excellent choice for your business to obtain funds.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association, hopes that you have enjoyed these articles addressing Small Business Grants   We work very hard to bring our audience timely and valuable information.

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