***Guest blog post by Lisa Nardone, Director, Grantsplus Consulting Pty Ltd – on Business Grant
If you’re a business owner looking for a grant to help your business, it’s possible that you’re having some trouble finding a good fit, right? You want that ‘Cinderella moment’ – where you and the grant just ‘fit’ and it changes your world…
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. There is NOT a grant out there to suit every business, and those that ARE out there are very specifically targeted to serve certain purposes and achieve certain outcomes. Understanding the purpose of grants will help you to understand whether or not a particular grant is right for you and whether you should spend precious time on the application process.
A frustrated business owner recently came to me, after spending three full days completing a complex business grant that was obviously a poor fit for them. They tried to twist and squeeze their business responses to make it work, but it wasn’t comfortable.
Were they eligible? Yes. Was the project right for the grant? No. Did it meet the grant program’s intent? No. Would it be successful, or even competitive? No and no.
Despite my best advice, the grant was submitted anyway and the outcome was as predicted – unsuccessful.
And this brings me to my point…
Square pegs don’t fit in round holes – a size 9 foot won’t get into a size 7 shoe – and the wrong grant won’t ever change your life!
Don’t be like Cinderella’s sisters, squeezing into a shoe that will never fit… don’t squish your business into a poor-fitting grant.
Be like Cinderella – choose the right shoe, position it strategically so it’ll be noticed, then step back and wait for the magic to happen!
So, how do you know if the fit is right?
Here are a few things for you to know and consider as you go a-hunting for grants for your business
- Business grants are constantly changing in response to priorities and needs – current government priorities are focused on innovative and scalable businesses, projects and industries such as Technology, Science, Manufacturing/Production, Agriculture and AI/robotics. There is a focus on generating employment, bringing production onshore and growing regional capacity. There are very few grants for online retailing, sole-trader or non-employing businesses, or for everyday equipment or expenses.
- New and emerging ‘grants’ in the COVID-economy (including the odd one or two aimed at sole trader/micro-business) are more aimed at ‘stimulus’ or ‘relief’ for business – they are fast, simple, responsive and typically non-competitive, and MAY be able to be used for everyday expenses; but they won’t be around long term and can’t be relied on for future growth.
- Unlike ‘relief/response’ grants, typical business grants are ‘competitive’ – they have a set opening and closing date, are assessed on merit and for how well they can meet the objectives and there is usually a requirement for the business to contribute a cash contribution. Knowing the difference between ‘relief’ and ‘competitive’ grants will help you decide if you can be successful and how to best apply.
- A grant that may have been a good fit last round might not fit next round/year. Always review the new guidelines carefully to see if you can deliver on those changed needs or priorities.
- ‘Grants’ are not always $$$ – sometimes they are tax relief/concessions, prizes, incentives or training/mentoring are also called ‘grants’ – is this what you’re looking for?
- Pay particular attention to the grant program goal and objectives – what you’re aiming to deliver should relate to the objectives, if it doesn’t, it may not be competitive.
- Look at who was successful in past rounds (if relevant) – what sort of businesses were they? What projects were they working on? Is there a synergy there that suggests you might be competitive too?
- Look to the guidelines for examples of ideal projects or activities – and check the ‘Ineligible activities’ to make sure you avoid things that will compromise your eligibility.
Finally, don’t be swayed by the term ‘FREE MONEY’ – Grants are not ‘FREE money’, they have strings attached and responsibilities that you need to deliver on. If you can’t demonstrate the capacity to deliver, you won’t be competitive.
Check us out for your grant application inquiries or you may call 0422 374 992.