Access to cash can be a big issue, a new business always equals = spending. Spending on various things like testing a product for the market, researching new trends, there is never a limit to the initial spend. Putting into consideration that you haven’t started making money the question then arises: where would you get the money to finance all this?
A few business founders might have a network of investors or capital to fall on but as an entrepreneur, startup founder or business owner who doesn’t have such a connection at your disposal accessing a grant might be your best option.
But the truth is seeking grants for your business isn’t always straight forward and securing it before you prove yourself in some cases might be tricky. You can always do with extra cash for your business but applying for a grant involves a lot more than putting your name on a list or applying for random grants. You need to know if it is right for your business, understand the evaluation process and find out what exactly it entails because each grant has different requirements.
So if you plan on accessing startup grants it is important to continue reading and follow each step we are about to discuss because it is important to understand how to access a startup grant and ways to apply for one.
How to access Startup Grants
Different kinds of organizations offer different types of grants. There are no single set criteria for grant application and individuals or companies who offer out grants are always looking for organizations that align with their goals to offer grants. Grants are not loans or investments given out to startups, SMEs and small businesses but you will need to achieve something from it. It also isn’t free money but in some cases, organizations and individuals require an obligation to be met after giving out the grant.
Grant issuers often have stipulations about how the money can be spent, sometimes even spending the money themselves on specific resources they believe will help your business grow. So before you apply, here are some key things to note.
Apply for grants within your industry
Most business grants are set for specific industries and applying for a grant outside your industry already puts you at a disadvantage. Narrow your search to grants in your industry and focus on them, this will help create a buzz around your product or service in the ecosystem and therefore enable your business to build connections with industry players who can also offer guidance and opportunities.
Know the requirements needed before applying
As stated earlier you need to read the eligibility requirements carefully. Every Grant has its specification and what is required from the applicants. To avoid wasted efforts and applying for a grant which would never be given to you ensure you are qualified to apply for the grant and when in doubt reach out to the organization for clarifications.
Ensure your business aligns with the grant’s mission
A lot of grants are sent out with hopes to achieve specific needs and grant givers often ensure the business getting their grants aligns with its mission. Make sure your business aligns with the grant givers” mission before applying.
Have a business plan
A business plan is very important to have before applying for a grant, why? Some grants come with requirements of what the money will be spent on but in some cases, they don’t and having a business plan will separate you from other applicants by helping the grant giver understand what you want to achieve with the grant and how it aligns with their goals.
Pitch on Expansion and Innovative ways
The best way to access grants is by making your pitch innovative and planning on expansion. Most organizations give out grants to businesses that are seen as innovative and forward-thinking. How is your product/service going to scale? What new tech would you be developing?
As you can see accessing a startup grant isn’t as easy as you might have thought but if you follow these steps you will be guaranteed to access startup grants very soon. Here is a recap of what you should do, Check for grants in your industry, carefully check what is required from each grant, ensure its mission aligns with yours, have a business and make sure your pitch is focused on innovation and expansion.
With these few points accessing a startup grant shouldn’t be a problem anymore and for more tips on how to access startup grants, kindly check out this session of our Techbiz webinar on Accessing Startup grants.