HOW TO FIND AND WIN GRANTS FOR ENTREPRENEURS AND SMALL BUSINESSES
Looking for funds for your start-up? Grants are a fairly reliable funding resource, even when the economy’s not that great.
But before you get started, you need to know a little bit about where to find grants and how to win them. Use these resources to guide you.
Where to Find Grants for Start-ups and Small Businesses
New grants pop up all the time, but there are some that are available year after year. Some examples of these include:
- Small-business grants. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding program is something almost every entrepreneur should be familiar with. SBIR has myriad interests, but all projects must be science-based and research oriented projects.
- Minority Grants. Black Enterprise’s Top 10 Grants Available to Black, Minority Business Owners is a good, comprehensive list, and Fundera’s list is comprehensive as well.
- Grants for women-owned business. Entrepreneur’s 2015 list of grants for women-owned businesses is one of the most accurate and comprehensive to-date.
- Federal grants. The Federal Government’s own grants website is comprehensive, although difficult to trawl. Your local business incubator or economic development agency will be another alternative for locating federal grants.
What’s It Like To Apply for An SBIR Grant?
The Small Business Administration publishes tons of helpful resources on how to complete and win SBIR grants for start-ups and small businesses. But sometimes it’s good to learn about the SBIR experience from people just like you, the entrepreneur. This Reddit discussion is a great off-the-cuff dialogue about entrepreneurs’ (including many first-timers) experiences with the SBIR process.
Here are some highlights from the Reddit discussion:
- Your project must have some scientific and humanitarian merit.
- You don’t need a team of Ph. Ds to win an SBIR grant (but it helps).
- You must have customers lined up who are willing to write commitment letters.
Don’t Be a Grant Goofus
Grant money! Free money! Pennies from heaven, right?
Not so fast. While grant programs might seem like super cool contests for smart ideas, finding, preparing, and managing grants can take a lot of work.
Entrepreneur’s article Grants May Be Free, But They Do Come at a Price illustrates the cons for the many pros of the grant process, including:
- The sheer amount of work required to complete a grant.
- Grant turnaround cycles are slow.
- Grants can be expensive, especially when consultants are involved.
- Grant obligations will linger, usually in the from of reporting requirements.
How to Write a Grant for Start-Ups
You don’t need to be a professional grantwriter to complete a grant application, but if you’re going to DIY, it’ll be helpful to brush up on your writing.
This may surprise some, but there’s no magic formula or style to grantwriting; you just need to write well. If you’re not sure you can do that, follow these 11 Smart Tips for Brilliant writing from Copyblogger, which include:
- Be specific.
- Use short words, short sentences, short paragraphs.
- Eliminate useless words like very, somewhat, etc.
- Don’t overwrite (especially when you have limited space available).
The Louisiana Technology Park does not provide, administer, or curate grants of any kind. But we do help our own clients with funding . If you are seeking grant funding, contact your local econonomic development agency for information.
Have a tech idea that you would like to see come to life? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.