Funding is a necessity for any kind of business or entrepreneurial journey. While there are a multitude of funding sources ranging from loans to investors, many fail to meet the appeal of a grant -- a fund disbursed to a recipient. With no equity and expectations to repay the grant donor, grants provide small businesses a source of income similar to a scholarship: they are given by large foundations or the government based on the demonstrated potential of a business through some form of “Grant Writing.”
However, there really aren’t many available grants, especially for women entrepreneurs with very small businesses. Therefore, procuring a grant can be very difficult due to the amount of competition and lack of availability. Another roadblock to receiving a grant is the technicality of the grant proposal, which explains to the grant agency why your company should receive financial assistance. Grant proposals, the key piece to receiving a grant, require in-depth recordkeeping of your company based on specific rules along with a well-written, organized document outlining your company’s goals and needs.
But don’t give up on grants too quickly. With the right amount of research about different grants and advice on grant writing, receiving a grant can become a reality for your company (and the benefit of funding far outweighs the effort of writing a grant proposal). Here are a couple resources that help search for different grants and give fantastic writing advice for the beginning grant proposal writer.
Astia is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women-led ventures succeed. Through groups of Advisor Networks and investors, Astia provides companies that register (and get accepted through their rigorous screening process) to receive grants to help them grow to new heights. Also, Astia uniquely provides advisor councils in four different areas so companies can meet with a group of successful entrepreneurs in person, allowing them to receive advice on how to build a business and capital to help them grow.
Grants.gov: After a short (and free) registration, grants.gov allows organizations to electronically research and apply for grant opportunities funded by all federal grant agencies. The site gives a user access to information about more than 900 grant programs (and allows the user to apply) from 26 federal agencies. Managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, grants.gov is the ultimate source of knowledge for the multitude of federal grants.
Grantsforwomen.org: This website is very useful for a company in the research process of acquiring a grant. With a list from A to Z, grantsforwomen.org is a comprehensive dictionary of all grants available to women-owned small businesses along with a short description and link to the foundation’s website.
Writing A Grant Proposal
This website offers an in-depth look at the structure of a grant proposal and advice on how to write each step properly. The numbered layout makes the page very organized and easy to follow (almost like a checklist for your grant proposal) and the additional links on the page make great resources for easy research (try the “Online Sources for Grants” page).
Writing a Good Grant Proposal: Written by Simon Peyton Jones, Professor at the University of Glasgow, and Alan Bundy, Professor at the University of Edinburgh, this article offers grant-proposal writers insight to how to approach writing a grant proposal and necessary criteria for a good grant proposal. Also, unlike many resources, this article has a helpful section on common mistakes and shortcomings made in grant proposals.
Although targeted at the UNC grad or undergrad student for research grant proposals, this link offers great writing advice that can make your grant proposal sound professional and ready to accomplish what you want it to. Not only does it briefly discusses organization, but it also has large sections about writing towards your audience, writing style, and organization that can all help you have a better proposal to work with.
While writing a grant proposal to acquire a grant may seem daunting, with the right research sources and some grant writing tips, it can be a manageable process. Overall, the benefit of a grant can be tremendous for a company in any stage.
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