You need money, but you don’t want to go into debt. You’ve tried all the traditional options and now it’s time for a more creative approach: finding small business grants. But where do you start? We’ll show you how to write the perfect grant proposal that will get your small business funded!
Where to Find Small Business Grants
Many businesses are looking for grants to help them grow. These small business grant opportunities can be a great way for your company to get the funding you need without having to give up any equity in the venture or payback high-interest rates. If you have never applied for one before, this might seem intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be!
There are tons of small business grants out there. The trick is finding the right ones for your company and proposal. Here’s a quick overview of where to look:
- National grant opportunities
- State/region-based grant programs
- Local resources for funding or other support services
National Grant Opportunities
There are many national grant opportunities that offer to fund specifically to businesses in specific industries, ranging from arts and culture to construction projects. These can be found on sites like Grantspace – just enter “small business” as the keyword! Some examples include these popular options: TEA21 Community Empowerment Program, NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation & US Chamber Foundation. In addition, you might consider applying through one of the top national grant-giving institutions:
Foundation Center. This site is a one-stop-shop for locating and applying to foundations of all shapes and sizes, across the country. The Foundation Center has over 50 years of experience in connecting people with resources – so their website boasts an impressive database of more than 90,000 active funds! With this information at your fingertips, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find small business grants that fit your needs. You can even create alerts or do searches based on specific criteria, such as location or industry focus.
Grants offered by banks & other lenders
Small Business Grants are usually funded by local businesses themselves rather than federal programs/offices funding large companies online. The local banks will offer these types of loans but you need to find a way to be approved.
Grants offered by the state
This is something you can look into as well but it will depend on your location and the laws of that region/state. Some states have government offices set up specifically for small business grants, while others require you to seek out private funds from various sources online. In some cases, this may mean going door-to-door asking local businesses if they would like to sponsor a grant through their company or organization! This tactic has been used quite successfully in recent years so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work with any type of funding opportunity!
How to Write a Grant Proposal for a Small Business
Once a person finds grants they might qualify for, they should write a proposal to apply for it. There are too many people applying for the grant so you have to make the proposal really good if you want to get it. You can do that by making your proposal stand out from all of the other ones.
The cover letter should be written in business format. It should include the name of the company or organization you are applying for, your contact information, and what type of grant it is that you want to apply for. The proposal itself will have all this information so why write it again?
Table of Contents
The table of contents should be located right underneath the cover letter. The grant reviewer does not need to see it so keep in mind that you do not have to include a table of contents with your proposal if you think there will be too much information for them to handle.
Include all relevant sections, such as reward and eligibility criteria or distribution plan and operations plan. Make sure they are easy enough for anyone who is reading through the document to understand what it’s talking about without having any prior knowledge on whatever subject you’re writing about! This can make or break the quality of your proposal since it might even get rejected due to simply being written poorly by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing!
The introduction of your small business grant proposal should include an executive summary that gives a brief description of the project and how it will benefit the community. You can get such great ideas for what to write about by looking at previously funded proposals or examining other successful grants so you know how they were written! The intro is also where you’ll want to introduce yourself as well, giving them whatever additional information may be needed (such as education and work history). Don’t forget this part since if someone skips over it then they might not even realize who wrote the document in the first place which could cause some problems down the line. Instead, make sure everything included in your writing matches up with all of their expectations while still being unique enough from any others with which you’re competing for this grant.
Statement of Need
The first thing you’ll need to include in your document is a statement of need. This needs to be an actual problem that the business has and one for which they’re actually looking for some sort of solution (in this case, grant money). You can’t just say “we have no money” since that’s not exactly something anyone would consider as being unique or interesting enough on its own merit that’s why it’s so important to come up with a more creative way of putting things! Try instead going about stating the problem by describing what happens when there isn’t any funding available such as having ____ happen at _____ time. ____ could even lead to ______. Instead, try comparing those results if the company were able to get funding versus those if they didn’t have any money. Or, take it a step further and come up with something even more creative such as describing how the lack of funds impacts their ability to expand or make an impact in a _____ way.
Be specific about how the money will be used
Don’t forget to explain the benefits of your company getting this money. What are they going to be able to do with it that is different from what they would have done without it? How will their _____ or services _____ change as a result? You can even ask for more than one grant if you need help covering multiple areas. For example, say you’re looking for funding in order to hire new staff members and also grow your business. Explain how both these events will impact the community by providing better jobs and more products/services available overall which should make everyone happy!
You’ll want to provide proof that shows why people should give you money such as testimonials or past work results (if possible).