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Sunday, July 6, 2014

How To Increase Your Chances of Winning A Business Grant

Grants are money that is awarded by organizations, non-profits and others to businesses whose products or services meet the donor's criteria. Each donor has a specific focus area, and grant money is based on how well applicants meet the qualifications. It's free money that doesn't have to be paid back, but the application process can either make it or break it for you.

Sources of grants

One fact that small businesses need to know is that there are very few grants offered by the federal government. And of those that are available, only about 5 percent go to businesses. The rest are awarded to universities, public safety organizations, law enforcement and other organizations. However, small businesses should not overlook possible grants from state and local governments, charitable organizations and corporations.

State governments, for example, are all concerned about increasing jobs and boosting their economies. Both state and local governments often focus on saving energy costs and addressing issues of particular concern among state and local authorities. Small businesses should check regularly their state and local government web site for grants that may be posted. Business owners also need to network in the community in order to keep their thumb on the pulse of corporations and other organizations who have a history of giving grants.

How to apply

The most important part of the application process is to fully understand the nature of the grant and how your business aligns with the purpose of the grant. During the application process, you will be asked to describe your business. It is important to keep the purpose of the grant in mind as you describe your business, its customers, goals, and exactly how the grant money will be used. If you plan to add jobs, install energy-efficient equipment, or expand into another market, be specific about your plans. But make sure your description aligns well with the purpose of the grant.

Know when to get help

If you are not a good writer, find someone who can help you. Look at the application as a job interview. You only get one shot at making a good first impression, so your letter and application needs to be almost perfect.
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