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What to Expect When Applying for Government Grants

The U.S. Government does not ordinarily offer grants to small businesses. However, there are several significant areas in which the government wants to stay competitive and grants are available to small businesses who want to take on the challenge.

Some of the categories for grants include energy, the environment, food and nutrition, health, science, and technology. Small businesses who have a very good business plan that aligns with government initiatives can score big when it comes to grants, but they must know what to expect when applying for these competitive grants.

Prepare for a lengthy process

Government applications for grants will ask a lot of questions. The whole application process can literally take months to complete, unless you have a team working on it with you. Each question must be answered completely and accurately to ensure the best review. After submitting the application, plan for more time for a response--this can take months, too.

Find the right fit

Make sure the category is a good fit for your business plan. It has to make sense to those who will be reviewing the plan and clearly fit into what they want to accomplish, as well as where they are willing to invest their money.

Prepare a detailed budget

The government is not going to give you money based on suppositions. They will be looking for hard evidence on cost. So make sure your budget is detailed and comprehensive, leaving no figures for the imagination. Since the government usually funds about half, they will be looking for evidence of where you are going to invest in the project as well.

Grant follow-up

Once you have been approved for a grant and received the funds, there will be an ongoing reporting requirement. They will continue to require documentation on how the grant money is being used to make sure it is being spent properly.

When searching for government grants, take the time to review the descriptions carefully. They will include the name of the agency, project description, closing date on applications, and often a grant range or limit. Application packages will be available to upload and complete.

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