Now that we’ve answered the question “What is a grant?”, it’s time to move on to how to apply for small business grants. Keep in mind that every grant will vary — check the requirements of each grant before submitting any applications. The following is a general step-by-step guide you can follow to get started.
1. Make sure you meet the program’s requirements.
Each small business grant has different requirements that applicants need to meet to even be considered for the grant award. Before applying for a grant, be sure to check that you meet the basic requirements of the grant you plan to apply for, including location, business size, industry and match requirements, if any. Some may even require that you have a membership to a specific organization before applying.
2. Gather your organizational documents.
Once you know that your business falls into the right category (or categories) to apply for a grant, you’ll want to gather your documents. A business plan laying out why you’re applying for funds and how you plan to use them is most likely going to be a requirement. You may also need the following:
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- DUNS number
- Revenue history
- Organizational chart, including the number of employees
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- List of contracts your business holds
- Location(s) information
- Contact information
3. Complete the grant application
Lastly, you need to fill out the actual grant application, where you’ll likely spend most of your time. These applications typically require small business owners to answer open-ended questions and application complexity can vary depending on where you’re applying to for a grant.
You might need to explain why you need the funds, your plan for the money if you win, the background of your business or how your business contributes to your community. These questions can be technical and specific depending on the grant you’re applying for and they’re an opportunity for you to make sure your application stands out among the competition.