What grants are available to me?
There is a range of grants available to start-up businesses at federal, state and even council level, but be aware that you may have to go through a difficult and complex procedure to secure one.
It may sound obvious, but a large part of the challenge is the time it takes to find a suitable grant and ensure you’re eligible. Many start-ups either can’t locate a relevant grant or apply without even considering whether they are eligible.
Check out government websites at state and federal level, industry associations and grant consultants. Make sure you’re aware of exactly what the grant is and who is it for. For example, the Federal Government’s Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business Program provides training rather than hard cash to applicants. You can use the Government’s grant finder by clicking here.
The complexity of the grant application process may justify the use of a grant consultant to help you. Typically, they will claim a 5-10% slice of the grant allocation for their help, so make sure you’re a strong contender for the grant and that the amount you’ll receive will be worthwhile.
Grant consultants will open doors for you and provide crucial counsel, but make sure that you “own” the process. You should be the passionate driving force behind the application, rather than letting a consultant deliver a bland pitch on your behalf.
Also, if you do get a consultant, get them on board early in the process. Bruce Patten, founder of grant consultancy firm Patten Group, says: "You've got to look at grants the same way you look at tax planning. You don't wait until the end of the year to start finding ways to reduce your tax bill."