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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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By Debbie Gregory.

By Debbie Gregory.

Students from Knob Noster High School near Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri are being credited for designing an integral spare part that is now onboard all operational B-2 Spirit Bombers and aircraft simulators at Whiteman.

Using a 3-D printer, the “Stealth Panthers” robotics team at the high school created plastic covers for an important switch box inside the B-2 that can prevent possible in-flight emergencies, according to the Air Force.

Pilots had been mentoring robotics team members on other projects. As a result of that partnership, Brig. Gen. John Nichols, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, was curious if the students could come up with a solution for a switch cover.

The team worked with pilots and engineers last fall to create and test the 3D-printed prototype in a B-2 Spirit training simulator. The part prevents the inadvertent flip of an important switch that pilots use that will essentially turn off the generator and hydraulics but keep the engine on.

The plastic cover attaches to the switch panel with Velcro and protects the switches from being accidentally flipped, base officials said. Although the switches aren’t easily flipped, inadvertently doing so could be catastrophic. Each cover is marked with a control number; pilots are assigned one when they step into the aircraft and return it at the end of the mission. 

“The B-2 Spirit cockpit is equipped with state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technology, but is a very cramped space, so something was needed to keep the pilots or other items from bumping into the switches,” said Capt. Keenan Kunst, a base spokesman. “The students were able to help us find a solution that was quick, affordable and effective.” The covers cost about $1.25 to produce.

Base officials were surprised at how quickly and efficiently the students produced something.

“Seventy-two hours after the initial design concept, the robotics team 3-D printed a cover for four important switches in the $2.2 billion aircraft,” Nichols mentioned in a base statement.

The school district received a $2.25 million grant for robotics and STEM programs from the Department of Defense Education Activity. About two-thirds of the district’s 1,600 students are connected to Whiteman.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,