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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.

VAMBOA does not charge members any dues or fees.  If you are not yet a member of VAMBOA, please join here:   https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

Members may use our seal on their web sites and collateral and will receive special discounts and other important information.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

If you are looking to start a business, the odds are good that you will be looking for financing to get it off the ground. You can always apply for a loan or you can use your own personal credit cards or savings to fund your new business.  However, if you do not want to deal with debt, or you need to conserve your cash for another reason, you may want to consider applying for a grant.

There are quite a few small business grants out there offered by the government or nonprofit programs that you won’t be required to repay in the future. If your small business meets the criteria, you can apply and may receive the funding that you need.

Most grants are for specific business purposes or roles, so it is very important to understand the specifics of any small business grant you apply for. Do your research and become intimately involved with understanding the process and rules.

Is my business eligible for a small business grant?

Eligibility depends on quite a few factors, such as:

  • Your business owner category
  • The type of business you plan to open
  • The type of grant you are looking to apply for
  • The granting agency itself
  • The location of your business
  • More

For example, grants are set aside specifically for those with certain statuses, such as:

If you or your business falls into a special category, it may increase your grant eligibility.

What Government grants are available for small businesses?

There are several places you can check for small business grants awarded by the federal government. The most well-known is the Small Business Administration (SBA), which is typically known for small business loans. Though they also offer grants directly and in partnership with other organizations. Visit the SBA’s website for more information and eligibility requirements.

Other federal government agencies and state and local agencies to check include:

  • gov : This site gives a good overview of grants available, how to qualify and how to apply.
  • SBIR and STTR grants : “Small Business Innovation Research” (SBIR) and “Small Business Technology Transfer” (STTR) grants are for entrepreneurs focused on developing technology for consumer use.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants: They provide grants to small businesses in biomedical technology research and development fields.
  • USDA Rural Development Business Grants (RDBG) grants: They offer technical assistance grants to small rural businesses and cooperatives.

What other grants are available?

There are plenty of non-government grants out there for small business owners for startup or certain types of business development. Here are a few to consider:

  • org: This site shares a wealth of accredited grant fund resources.
  • Visa Everywhere Initiative : This is an annual contest sponsored by Visa which awards up to 150,000 in prizes and global recognition.
  • FedEx Small Business Grant Contest : This contest is open to for-profit businesses that have been in business at least 6-months and have fewer than 99 employees. The award is up to $25,000 that the business can use for print and other business services.
  • Patagonia Corporate Grant Program : This program is for innovative nonprofit organizations, in specific geographic locations, who work to preserve the environment. The program awards between $20,000 and $30,000.

We invite you to stay tuned for Part 2 of this mini-series on Small Business Grants.  In Part 2, we will review the application process and more.

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.

VAMBOA does not charge members any dues or fees.  If you are not yet a member of VAMBOA, please join here:   https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

Members may use our seal on their web sites and collateral and will receive special discounts and other important information.

Business Grants for Veterans : Part 1 of 3

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Looking for a business grant? Are you a Veteran Owned Small Business? There are quite a few grants out there that are offered by a variety of institutions.   Grants are time sensitive and are open for a specific period and then they are no longer available.  It does not make sense to list grants in this article because by the time you read this article, they may no longer be available.  However, you certainly can find them!

 

This is a three part series on Business Grants for Veterans and Part 1 will detail a few good places to find grants and other financial assistance for your Veteran Owned Small Business. Please keep in mind that just because you don’t see a specific grant or site listed within this article, there are many other grants that you can locate by performing a comprehensive search with specific criteria that applies to you.  It may take some energy, research and time to locate the right grants and financing options but consider it a treasure hunt that will always be worth it to your Veteran Owned Business.

 

The best place to begin your search for grants is the Federal Government’s database for small business grants at.Grants.gov. You should check the site often as grant opportunities begin and end frequently. Once you have found a grant (or two) that will work for your needs, you need to determine your next steps.  Grants.gov provides a very clear and specific process for applying for grants.   Below are some specific areas that will assist you on their website:

  1. Learn about grants: Their learning page includes a brief instructional video to help guide you.
  2. Check eligibility: This page will help you determine whether or not your business is eligible to apply for a federal grant.
  3. Search grants: You can search for grants by keyword, opportunity number, as well as other criteria.
  4. Register: If you find a grant you would like to apply for you will need to register for an account.
  5. Apply for a grant: The apply page includes helpful videos on how to use the system to properly apply for your chosen grant.
  6. Track your application: This page gives you the ability to keep an eye on how your application is progressing.

 

If you are looking specifically for Research and Development (R&D) grants from the Federal Government, there are two other programs that you may wish to consider:

 

Even though Grants.gov is an outstanding resource to locate grants, the Federal Government is not the only place to look for grants for your Veteran Owned Small Business. Our next article in this series will cover specific state offered business grants that you should explore as well.   Stay tuned!

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