No Loan Business Funding

                                    Training Course

Module 2 Business Grant Essentials

A. Business grants (no loan funding) basics

     1. Who provides grants

     2. How do business grants work.

     3. Types of business grants.

     4. Specificity in writing a business grant

 

B. Types of No Loan Funding

     1. Straightforward

     2. Pitch

     3.  Contest

     4. Challenge

     5. Competition

C. Clarity in writing business grants

The Basics of Business Grants and Other No Loan Funding Sources

Although, all business grants are extremely competitive competitive, some are easier to receive, while other are difficult, the larger amount grants most likely will require you to present an oral presentation of your business idea or venture in person. As there are some smaller grants you will be able to apply for by email, online on their website, and even a smaller fraction by mail. 

Where Can You Find Business Grants 

Millions of entrepreneurs each month preform fruitless search for government business grants. The reason government grants can't be found is because they do not exist for entrepreneurs. The government only provides grants to organization, agencies that service cities, states and counties. Only 4 kinds of establishments issue small business grants to start or expand a business:

  1. Non Profits Organization

  2. Small Businesses

  3. Foundations

  4. State Agencies

  5. Private Enterprises

  6. Franchises

  7. Counties

Non Profit Organizations

Non Profits give away over hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant monies away every year to entrepreneurs. Business Owners Idea Cafe is one such non profit that provides up to $1,000 in business grants to several entrepreneurs each year, the great thing about Business Owner Idea Cafe Business Grant is it is one of the simplest grant application to complete. Applications are usually accepted around November, but check with their website just encase dates change. 

 

Small Businesses

A significant amount of business grants  come from other businesses, although, there application process is typically more detailed, but its well worth it, business grants from businesses come in the higher amounts. Popular businesses like Visa and Aflac give business grants to start businesses.

 

The Visa Everywhere Initiative provides $10,000 to $50,000 in business grants to entrepreneurs that what to build a technology company. It will take extensive writing for grants like the Visa Business Grant, the more money that is given, the more they will require in your proposal or application. It is vital to keep in mind the when writing this type of business grant, you say what you mean by maintaining specificity in the proposal or application:. 

Specificity in Writing: Say Exactly What You Mean

 

It's common to struggle with specificity when it comes to writing business grants, you want to stay away from claims of absolute. Making claims of absolute usually involves using “absolute terms,” such as: all, none, every, never, always, and other similar terms. For example, “All dogs bark and are so big that it takes up every inch of your backyard.” This is a false statement. There are dogs that do not bark and are not large. Additionally, dogs can no possibly take up every inch of a backyard. This language might details that portray attributes like physical size and behavior of a dog, but when it comes to business grant writing is not the best place for such vivid imagery.

Be aware of absolute language creeping into your grant writing by way of generalizations. Generalizations are commonly used in writings, it comes when statements that do not use absolute language such as all,  but do include terms that categorize people, places, things, or actions. An example of this: “Today’s teenagers is loud and obnoxious, unlike the behavior of young adults.” This sentence generalizes includes all current teenagers by stating, “Today’s teenagers” which includes the more tranquil teenagers of today, and the louder behaved teens around the world. Not all teens are “loud and obnoxious” so using the general term “today’s teenagers” is stating an absolute through a generalization.

Here is another example: “Americans drink too much soda.” This is a false statement as well, as some Americans are not soda drinkers. There are several ways to work around such absolute language.

 

When it comes to writing specifically does not have to be dry and boring (in fact, you will learn to add an emotional connection into your writing to prevent this), but it needs to be clear and concise. A well written and clear business grant proposal or application is no accident. Grantmakers read hundreds of applications  each year, so they will embrace and appreciate your getting to the point. So make sure your proposal must specifically state your business ventures and goals and your plans to employ the requested funds. Consider the following examples:

General Terms 

Young students

Night time

Farmers

Math teachers

Marital status

More Specific Terms

Middle school students

After 7 PM

Corn farmers

Algebra teachers

Single

 

Very Specific Terms

Students aged twelve to fifteen

Between 7PM and 10PM central time

Corn farmers with less than 50 square acres of farm land

High school algebra teachers with more than 15 years of teaching experience

Never been married

Let's say one of the questions on your grant application was: “How will you use the purchased equipment”, which is commonly asked on business grant application.

Non-Specific Response

Snuggled in the Valley of Foothills Peak the lowest range in the Huckville, Bright Valley high school students will use the purchased technology to study the magnificent summer stars.

More Specific Response

From May 3rd to August 5th, Bright Valley high school student-club members of the solar-science and tech club will identify and uncatalogued constellations with the Hyper-Scope 225.

The non-specific answer offers colorful descriptions of the high school’s location and the stars, but it does not give any useful information. First, summer time is not the same time of year around the globe. Second, the non-specific answer does not identify which students will use the purchased equipment, nor does it mention how will the equipment be used, which is the gist of the original question.

Specificity of the population, however, is directly related to the goals of the proposal or application. If goals are  broadly defined, a more general description may be appropriate for your proposal. The point as the writer of the grant,  you will have to decide the degree of specificity your proposal needs according to the grantmaker’s requirements, this is why following the requirements and directions to last last letter is vital to you being awarded the business grant. 

As you map out your grant writing proposal/application, remember that it is important to:

Specifically state the positive and improved impact on the surrounding community your business will service.

.

Measurables is another great way to add specifics to a business grant proposal, with this type of writing strategy you use statistical figures to describe how your business venture will be beneficial to the community it serves.

Let's demonstrate using measureables for specificity with the business venture of a Diabetic Catering Service in Signal Hill.  

Non-Specific Response

We will introduce the residents of Signal Hill to Diabetic Catering for formal events.

Specific Response

Zene's Diabetic Catering will cater %25 of the formal events that take place in Single Hill over the next 5 years.

Whether you use statistic or just straight forward explanations, remember to always be specific.

More Business Grants and No Loan Funding  from Small Business

Business Grants from Foundations

There are thousands of foundation that give away thousands of dollars in small business grants. Most registered foundations only give to non profits, but there are a small percentage that fund business ventures, The Awesome Foundation is one of those few foundation that provides Social Entrepreneur with $1,000, and they accept application each month. There application are also very simple. As long as your business venture benefits the community in some way fell free to apply. 

State Agencies Business Grants

In an effort to attract business to their state, (especially technology business ventures), millions of dollars each year are rewarded in grants to entrepreneurs with big business ventures through state initiatives, the Arizona Commerce Authority is one such state agency, granting 1,5 million twice a year in business grants. Business grants that fall into 3 major categories that reward several types of grants through the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation.

Private Entities

Startup Fest is one of many private entities that have not been established for profits necessarily, but to advance free enterprise in the  world of startups. The amount of business grants awarded range from very small amount to very large amounts. Startup Fest  travel all over the world hosting business grant events, as well as investor opportunities.. 

Franchise Grants

Franchise grants do not come in the form of money but it rewards actual franchises to entrepreneur. Dream Vacations provide free travel agency franchise to American Veterans, 7Eleven provide franchises to women each year through their W.E take the lead program.   

Counties

Much like business grants from states, counties also issue a number of business grants to attract businesses to their area, The Montgomery Move Program of Maryland is one such grant, providing up to $80,000 in grants to establish more business opportunities in the region. Business grants like this can be found in counties all over the country, it just a matter of looking at the appropriate agencies. 

Types of Grants

Straightforward Business Grants

As you can tell from the mixture of grants above, they come in several types. Straightforward grants are the easiest to apply for and the easiest to be awarded. There applications are usually short and their eligibility requirements are less restrictive. The NASE Growth Grant is one such grant, gear toward entrepreneurs that need fund to expand their current business. 

Pitch Business Grants

Private enterprises  most often give away business grants by hosting pitch events on an annual basis. You get invited to these pitch events by submitting an application, if your application get approved, you will be ask to present your your business idea in front of a panel, similar to a Shark Tank situation. The UPS Store offers a Pitch Business Grant every year called The Small Biz Challenge worth $25,000, ABQib Ski Lift host Ski Lift Pitch Competition worth $10,000 and the opportunity to network with Angel Investors, and Shoals awards $1,00 to $5,000 in pitch style business grants.

Veterans Business Grants

A very small fraction of veteran only business grants are available by private foundations. Although only a few veteran only business grants exist, they are the more friendlier grants to apply for due to all of the veteran supportive services that come along with the foundation that is giving the grant. The Street Shares Foundation is one such organization, which awards up to $25,000 in business grants as well as additional services to ensure your business is a success.

More Pitch Small Business Grants

Launch Pad by Gorham Bank

Catapult Small Business Competition

Creator Awards by WeWork

$18k - $360K awarded

Maintaining Clarity in Grant Writing by Avoiding Redundancy

Before we dive any further in to the basics of business grant, we will take this time to stress how important it its to write a application or proposal as clearly as it can possibly be written.

The first tip on writing business grants with clarity is to conserve words that are doing double duty. Imagine this: 

“better improvements” Improvements are by definition “better”, use “improvements”.

Both teachers and students” This is the equivalent to saying, “teachers and students”. Some authors will argue that using “both” is a way of emphasizing “teachers and students,” but this could be done with italics, which is what italics were designed for—emphasis: “teachers and students”.

 

It is important to edit redundancies at the word-level, like “unique, one-of-a-kind opportunity,” but it is also important to pay close attention to extended phrases, such as:

“The entire human resources department, including the department head and new staff members, will fully participate in the supporting and training sessions” The phrase, “the entire human resource department” implies the whole department (new staff members and the department head, alike), “training sessions” is redundant because “training sessions” are “support sessions”. Further reduction might yield the sentence, “The human resources department will conduct the training sessions.”

 

Here is another example:

 

Needs improvement:

“Every customers ages 60 and above will offered a rewards portfolio that includes discounts, coupons, and sales items.”

 

Improved:

“Each customer above the age of 59 will make be offered a portfolio of discounts not offered to other customers."

 

If your unsure of the clarity of your business grant application, have someone else proofread it for you before you submit it.

Need a Business Grant or No Loan Funding lead that matches your business criteria?