How to Get a Small Business Grant
I’m sure you may hear grants being referred to as “free money” but it’s not. Grants are only made to cover the expenses that you or your company incurs when doing the work for which the grant is made.
You can get a grant as a sole proprietor, a corporation, or as a 501 (c) not-for-profit organization.
While small business grants are made for many different types of purposes here are some of the more familiar ones being made today:
- Eco friendly design for buildings and equipment to save fuel.
- Specialized training of workers to develop new and improved skills.
- Development of energy saving devices, products, and methods.
- Transportation development and/or expansion.
- Conservation of land, water, and electricity.
- Advanced technology research and development.
- Advanced technical research and development for civilian and military fields.
- Security systems to counteract terrorism threats at major utility facilities.
- Women-operated business start-ups or expansion.
While there are literally thousands of grants available you should identify the type of grant that’s best suited for your company’s skills and needs.
First, take these five simple steps:
- Determine the capabilities of you and your company. What is it that you do best?
- Identify the types of grants that could match you and your company’s skills.
- Gather the information that supports the skill sets you have identified.
- Search for grantors that are making the type of grant you are searching for. To find grantors you can always look through directories of foundations and corporations as well as your state, city or county directories. There are also 26 federal grant-making agencies alone and you can determine if you’re eligible on the Grants.gov website. This site lists 1,000 grant programs and provides access to approximately $500 billion in annual rewards.
- Develop a plan to obtain the grant you’re looking for. Your plan should include who will perform each task to complete what is required in the grant work. List what you will personally do and also include any outsourcing of the work as well.
Once you have decided what type of grant to apply for and made a list of potential grantors who offer that grant the next step is preparing your grant proposal.
Keep in mind if you are going to apply for a federal grant as a company or organization then you will need to obtain a DUNS Number. If you are applying as an individual then you will need to complete an individual registration.
Don’t let this process intimidate you because there are many helpful resources available. For example, you can review a complete tutorial that walks you through the grant application process on the Grants.gov website.
Remember, grants are made to help people either directly or indirectly. Finding grantors that make grants for the type of work you do and like to do can be a rewarding and powerful way to accomplish your goals.
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About the author
Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for AllBusiness, a subsidiary of Dun and Bradstreet and author of “Eight Steps to Ultimate Business Credit” and “How to Build Business Credit with No Personal Guarantee.” His articles and blogs have also been featured in American Express Small Business, Business Week, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Tribune, Scotsman Guide, Alltop, Entrepreneur Connect, and Active Rain.