How to Apply for a Small Business Grant. Seeking grant money is time consuming and frustrating. The government doesn't advertise how much funding is actually available usually because many eligibility requirements must be met and the application process is quite a competitive business. The good news is that grants are available to any legal American resident, even if your credit is less than stellar. You can apply for multiple grants at the same time. Grants are also available for individuals as well as organizations. Read on to learn more.
Research the type of grant you actually need. This is where the Small Business Association (SBA) or Small Business Development Center (SBDC) comes in handy. Many people have been rejected for grants simply because they are unaware of their particular funding needs.
Be sure you meet the grant requirements. If you apply as an individual as opposed to a company that you stay within the parameters of meeting those specific grant requirements. In other words, individuals may not apply for grants set aside for organizations.
Consider applying for your grant online. Most government funding applications are now available on the Internet. It is no longer the extensive process that it has been in years past. Online applications are much faster due to the fact that these sites include step-by-step instructions as well as a FAQ section. Online grant applications are given a Funding Opportunity Number. This number is important for downloading purposes. It is also necessary as part of your registration with the Central Contractor Registry. This is a requirement for identification purposes and will also prove helpful if you are applying for more than one grant. Once your application is complete, an adviser will contact you.
Expect to prepare a grant proposal letter and a business plan. If you have no experience in either of these areas, it may be best to contact your local Small Business Association (SBA) or Small Business Development Center (SBDA) to request professional help. There may be a nominal fee for this service. After the application, proposal and business plan are all complete and submitted, the next step is just being patient. In some cases, it can take up to twelve months for approval.
If you are awarded grant money, the government may request periodic "progress reports" of your business. Some grants are only available certain times of the year-not at any time. You can check with the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) for more information.