Need Cash? So do I. Many websites and articles have been devoted to Government Grants and various federal and state financial funding programs. Grants from these programs do not have to be repaid. Sounds great in theory, but, for me, that also brings up a couple more questions – If it’s that easy why do thousands of dollars go unclaimed in this type of assistance each year? And why don’t I know anyone who’s ever got a federal loan for their business?!
Evidently, after a little study (and a lot of caffeine!) apparently the only real solution to the question is that people are simply not aware of the actual programs available or that they don’t know how to take advantage of them. Understandable, the bureaucratic bungling of the administration can’t be also expected to figure out a reliable marketing campaign now can they? – it might be all just way too much work. Furthermore, the majority of people don’t understand how to apply for them anyway nor have the time to do all of the boring research to locate what they’re searching for. Yet Still, If all this funding is going unclaimed – why don’t I just leap on it? In fact, if it’s so easy… surely the news should have spread long before today. And so, exactly what is the real truth about government business grants? The great news seems to be that they are indeed real and thanks to the entrepreneurial way of thinking of the government’s innovative open-door policies, they may not be incredibly difficult to track down once you know where to look. And that’s a huge “IF”! The reality is: The exact government web sites where they are listed are so inadequately kept that they consist of about one-tenth at best of the actual programs available and of those most are years out-dated and don’t exist any longer. This problem alone can be about as frustrating as being stuck in the bank queue behind 2 old ladies counting out pennies and telling stories from the middle ages. so here are the basics: The majority of funds available to privately owned companies are funded by government agencies; after all, they do have the access to the press which make the cash. In most cases, for-profit enterprises are not qualified to receive funds from charitable groups, , and foundations, yet if your venture belongs to the arts, teaching, science, or a equally unique cause, you may well be the exception. Even with government funds, (conditional on which nation where you reside in) there’s no free lunch. No-one is actually giving away money. They expect to see something of worth for it such as researching, career creation, work performed, etc. In fact, in the us several grant programs call for “matching funds” unlike in Australia some federal grants are given solely upon conditions of establishing your own personal small business and getting off the taxation-funded welfare freeride. Anyway, back to the idea. A fast lookup for choices available to small businesses (companies with fewer than 500 personnel) delivered 587 clear offers in the Usa as well as 400+ australia wide. So, what is the possibility of finding a funding option to expand your retail shop? On one side, slim. On the other side , in the event you could possibly justify that your store can potentially become a city tourist attraction – most likely incredibly high. Even better yet, if you are able to demonstrate that you are going to create job opportunities for the local college drop-outs flipping burgers in a low-income region – The funds may be given to you upon a silver plate. Likewise, if your business expansion entails hiring the disabled, work training, innovation, energy conservation, air pollution decline, or a multitude of undertakings our government has targeted within the overall effort to re-build the pre-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) economic climate you may just be qualified for your slice of the pie. If you really enjoy doing a lot of paperwork (and if you already have a business, you’re already used to it – or you are wonderful at delegating it off to your assistant), frequent hold-up’s, and too many strings attached, the following is a fast guideline to the slow-moving process of finding grant funds for your own business:
1. Should you qualify to receive any special small business designation – for instance minority-owned business enterprise or organization woman-operated company, or veteran-owned company – commence the accreditation process straight away . In most instances, it will give you selection over non-qualified businesses.
2. Gather your resources. Yes, you’ll want to have your Tax File Number and enterprise registration information handy.
3. Just like on your high-school exams. Cheat. Use your freedom of information rights to access successful previous grant proposals of the funding you’re applying for.
4. Peer below the surface: you can discover grants which will justify nearly anything. A few of years back an Australian grant of one thousand USD was given out to a couple of lazy college students to study precisely how long the perfect amount of time would be to dip your Tim Tam (Famous Aussie Chocolate Cookie) into your breakfast espresso was before it had had an opportunity to disintergrate!
5. Think “common good” – if you have a project that serves the needs of the nation (i.e. job training, back to work, employing the disadvantaged, reducing healthcare costs, curbing pollution, increasing safety, etc.) there’s probably government money to fund it. If it promotes international or local tourism dollars.. there’s probably money to fund it.
6. In the event you need a grant or loan that is presently closed to non-public businesses, a not-for-profit that might want to collaborate for the endeavor and share in the profits with.
7. While Grants.gov does a [passable] job of cataloguing federal grant opportunities in the US you may also want to consider that most of the grants that are probably more relevant to your business and that have much less people applying for them, are the funding opportunities that no-one has bothered to put on the grants.gov website anyway [usually due to an 8-hour government employee shift involves a 7.5 hour coffee break].A good example of this is the Australian version of grants.gov called Grantslink – 400 grants were listed, with one google search within 10 minutes i found another 3000+ government grants that were not listed on grantslink. Hmmm. Also, for non-government grants, and charitable grant – you would need weeks or months to search through all this data. In recent years a few smart businesses have popped up who have aggregated all the latest grant funding and government loan options information into one package – these are always going to be a better source of information because they are privately researched, up-to-date, complete and accurate. GovernmentBusinessGrants.com.au offers Australian’s an online subscription-based access to their database of grants as well as a hardcopy sent on DVD to the business owner. There are a number of businesses in the US, UK and Europe who offer a similar product. This is by far the easiest way to go and will save you a LOT of research time that you could be using to work on your business.
8. Be in it for the long haul. A good number of grant offerings are given at specific times of year. Generally, the deadline for business proposal applications can be extremely stringent. Plan in advance so you don’t get to the party just as the dishes are being polished.
9. Dot your i’s cross t’s. Applying for grant money is an exercise in precision. One misstep and you’ll be out of the running. Governmental red-tape can be a real nightmare if your application is received by a cranky proposal reviewer who was made to come back early from her 7.5 hour coffee-break.
If going through this article has left you slightly perplexed… then you’ve already got an excellent feel for the world of Government Grants and Lending options. Nonetheless, should you have a distinctive remedy to the earth’s difficulties, a special technological capacity or simply the intelligence to obtain your money free..
10. Just dive in the deep-end and do it. In the end it’s ALWAYS easier to step outside your comfort zones.
If you’re an Australian Entrepreneur, and you’re looking to get your hands on a Government loan – the 2011-2013 Government Business Grants Guide has all the up-to-minute info available and is half the price of other guides whilst being most comprehensive Business Grants Guide on the market.