There’s nothing an entrepreneur would want more than getting more money for their new start-up so getting free funding in the form of a grant is a dream come true. The thing is though is that most grants are for the most part given to start ups that are either non-profits, social enterprise or research projects. But with all of this in mind that don’t mean that new small businesses can’t get government grants but it will be a more challenging for your start-up to get one because it is not in any of the above industries. There is a billion dollars worth of business grants that your start-up can qualify for but before you decide to apply there are somethings that you should keep in mind of when it comes to acquiring these government grants.
Seeking the perfect chance
Grants are like business funds borrowed from banks not because you have to repay them back but because some of them can come with different terms. Larger grants that give out large sums of financing can sometimes come with binding provisions on how the money is to be spent and others can bring a variety of other issues that could make them more trouble then they’re worth. However start-ups could take advantage of smaller grants that exist that comes with less strict terms and requirements when it comes to applying for them. Graphene Frontiers, a nanotech and advance materials company was given a $2,000 grant from the Pennsylvania economic-development program to financially support proposal efforts for a grant being offered by the Department of Defense.
Getting a second opinion
When looking for a grant your business should get your application reviewed by as many people whom you can trust as possible. What this means is that if you want to get feedback on a grant proposal you want to make you should refer to outside parties with no involvement in your business who are also intelligent enough to notice any faults in your proposals. They can also be a source of creative ideas you can use to successfully commercialize your business. Your business can offer it’s services/ goods to other places that might find their products useful and get their opinions of it too so that you can improve the way you would commercialize it.
Set high marks
When it comes to ideas to what kind of product you want to bring to the attention of the government to be granted money you need to think big. According to Jerrit Tan, former CEO of New York City-based Canopy “Incremental ideas usually don’t win,” he says. “It’s almost like the crazier, the better — within reason. This is the government, after all.” Your business must provide a valid reason as to why they deserve to get a business grant and the only way to do so is to give an idea of what big changes you expect your product will make in the future. How is it going to shake the market or solve a problem that exist. Big ideas and proof of how your product is answering common everyday problems will give you a better chance of getting a grant.
Getting investment from your community
Your community can also be of big help to you if you want to finance your business if you research any opportunities from outside sources like networking groups, city economic development offices and other other places where you can meet start-up owners like yourself. Forming a relationship with others like yourself and advisers is always a good idea and if you could do so prior to needing funding for your business can put you where you want your business to be much quicker because you have the knowledge, network support and tools to take you to the next step. Take advantage of information sessions on startup grants and get familiar with the top members and stakeholders too who are there to help you. Economic development offices like the one in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has helped provide millions of dollars of grants to local entrepreneurs for 13 years now and consulting ones in your area can give you helpful insight as to what you must put down on your application and what you can tweak to make your grant proposal more appealing.
Putting in the time
It take months to get approved for a federal grant so if you want to raise capital don’t expect to get funding within the month. The time it takes to receive the funding can be a painfully slow process and so your best options is to seek funding from multiple sources so your cash-flow don’t suffer.“You have to have funding from other sources or be able to get other funding quickly, whether that’s revenue or equity investments or something else” says Michael Patterson, CEO of Graphene Frontiers.
Always explore what options are available for your startups needs because sometimes the answers are right there but you don’t see them. If you can consult with professionals in your community or anywhere else you would have a better chance of finding what your business needs like a grant. Never assume everything that people say is right when it comes to who can qualify for a business grant because people can be easily misinformed but the more research you do the more informed you are which will help you make the right decisions when it comes to your business.
This article was heavily sourced and rewritten from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286210