When thinking of how to get enough money to run your business, a lot of things come to mind. Is the
money I have enough to at least cover my cost or even break even? How can I get extra cash to take care
of my inventory? Is taking a loan a good option for me?
What are the other funding options to help me
stay in business?
What is a Business Grant?
Can grant help me stay in business? Which grant-giving organizations
exist that are straight forward not dubious? How many companies are still existing thanks to grants?
These and many other questions come to mind when thinking of how to fund that business. Before
diving any further into what a grant is and how it can help your business attain that noble achievement, a
brief introduction to what a grant is will be very helpful to guide your application.
Grant is one of the approved and globally recognized means of business funding. It has played a crucial
economic role in the establishment of many businesses, infrastructure, business processes, socially
impactful institutions that have transformed the way we think, and act.
Grant is also recognized as a fund
provided by a government institution, development agency, philanthropic institution, and individual(s) or
an international agency with the objective of achieving a set of agreed targets which should be
measured viz-a-viz the agreed parameters, and of which has a public benefit.
Theoretically, a grant is expected not to be paid back unless conditions are violated.
Like every business, access to the availability of funds can be a dream and/or challenge. Whether
startup, established, or challenged businesses, funding is the greatest component that denies success or
failure. Every business starts with a dream of creating an impact that will be beneficial to the
shareholders, workers, the management, the government, and the community members.
It aligns majorly with the objectives of the organization. For a manufacturing company, one of its major
objectives is to be socially responsible by accessing the environmental impact assessment of its activities
and contributing towards the general wellbeing of society. The company for instance would want to
reduce the amount of pollution that her operation has on the environment.
Alternatively, it can also be directed towards the increase in skilled manpower in a particular industry or
to encourage people from a particular race to increase their participation in a specific industry. For
example, the grant provided by a government agency to a not-for-profit organization to train young people
from black communities to acquire plumbing skills, or to acquire subsea oil rigging and piping skills, etc.
The bigger objective is that with an increase in black people’s participation in the oil and gas sector, the
poverty level, and the crime rate will be reduced to their barest minimum.
Finally, a grant can also be directed to providing real management experience to young men and women
from black communities and black colleges by engaging them in mentorship schemes by large and mid-
size companies. These are some of the general benefits of grants. Other benefits may include an increase
funding to the business, management and administrative support, research funding opportunities, a
veritable platform to other sources of funding and business growth.
The Challenges that Hinder Grant Acquisition
Not Having A Duly Registered Company
The probability of your application getting rejected is
very high if your business is not properly registered with the authorities. No grantor wants to be
faced with the challenge of giving funds to a company that is not duly registered with the
government. ‘’Who wants to take that chance of throwing away money?” Your company must
be registered with the tax authority, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and have a corporate
Lack of A Business Plan
Applying for a business grant is like applying for a commercial loan but
with less stringent conditions. However, because of the intense competition for that grant, it is
advised that you attach more importance to your application. Consequently, it is imperative that
you have a business plan, after all, you are asking for funds to achieve an agreed objective(s)
between your organization and the grantor. If you find it difficult to write a business plan, please
do contact any of our advisors to guide you. In your business plan, the grantor will see clearly
how you plan to achieve those goals within the stipulated timeframe.
Lack of Experience: Lack of adequate experience in a particular area of interest can limit your
chances of your application getting an interview invitation. It is advised that the individual(s) or
organization in question get an appreciable level of experience and knowledge of the subject area
of expertise. Remember that your application is likely to be amongst several competing for this
grant. For example, it will be a misplaced priority for a company not into plumbing and sewage
disposal to apply for a grant to train people in plumbing and sewage disposal. In a nutshell, it
will do you no good to make such an application because you won’t get selected amongst the
Questions to Ask Before Applying for Grants
The subject question is a self-assessment/evaluation exercise to see if you qualify to put in your
application for a grant. Please remember that the seriousness you attach to a loan application from a
commercial bank should be the same level of commitment for a grant application. Also, remember that
successful award and efficient and effective usage will coin your business as a reputable entity that can
be trusted and relied upon in our collective drive to better our society in particular and the country at
large. Failure to achieve the agreed-upon goals through funds diversion or capital injection to take care
of the overhead costs can come with damaging consequences.
The obvious immediate punishment will be a
repayment of money added to the blacklisting of your company.
In the light of the above, the questions to guide and present your preparedness as a notable
organization and improve your chances of getting that grant amongst several other competitors are
classed into eight segments, namely:
- Market segmentation
- Team Quality segment
- Feedback segment
- Strength of Competition segment
- Financial portfolio segment
- Funds Utilization segment
- Intellectual Property Right segment
Business Operation Model Segment
Kindly note that the above classification is to help increase your chances of getting the grant and
attach the highest-level seriousness a conventional loan from a financial institution will command if
you are seeking a loan from them.
Note that not all segments from the above will be touched when
assessing your application especially during the interview exercise but your ability to cover all will
show accurate preparedness.
It is also important that you realize that most of these questions emanate from business and
marketing plan templates aimed at accelerating your organization’s growth. Market Segmentation: The market segment of your product aims to access the overall strength of the industry it belongs to.
It looks into the fundamental demographic categorization such as
race, age, income bracket, and religion while not being discriminatory. It is also considering the
percentage of the entire population that consumes your product. Questions to ask are:
How big is the market opportunity?
What target percentage am I hope to get?
Which demographic does your product satisfy or aim to satisfy?
What am I doing wrong that has affected my market penetration drive?
Which class of customers are our best customers?
Where exactly do our best customers reside?
On what objective grounds do we base our facts and figures?
Why is it the right time to introduce our product if it’s new or existing if modification is
Team Quality Segment: A company is as good as its team. The strength of a business is
dependent on the quality and unity of purpose of its various assembled team of skilled
individuals and even the unskilled ones. Having a solid team or anticipation to assemble such
will present seriousness to would-be grantors or angel investors to work with.
Questions to Ask Before You Proceed:
Where is the operational headquarter of your business?
Who are your founding members?
Are your skill sets relevant to the progress of the business?
Do the founders have enough experience and proper networking to ensure success?
Are any members of the board with a questionable character that can jeopardize disbursed
What factors drive your team members to achieve excellence?
Feedback Segment: Regardless of your application the overall objective is to promote business
growth of which feedback is integral. Feedback shows the level and degree of responsiveness a
business should possess. It projects good corporate governance, bold identity, and flexibility in
its business operations. Some technical questions to ask are:
How much feedback did you receive that informed your decision to change?
What changes have you carried out based on your feedback?
What is your growth like based on the changes you implemented?
What is your total revenue growth like?
What keeps your customers to you?
If I was asked to demonstrate my product can I confidently do that?
Strength of Competition Segment: For every existing business there is a huge chance that there
are many others doing the same. You should definitely know your organization’s position in the
market. You should be aware of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. You hope to work
closely with the grant donors to achieve a significant milestone that is capable of solidifying your
business position in the market.
Some of the Questions to Ask Before You Proceed:
Who are your competitors?
What are their strength and weaknesses over mine?
What are my strength and weaknesses over theirs?
How can I take advantage of their weaknesses to edge them in the market?
Where is the competition letting down customers that I can utilize to my advantage?
How does my product differ from those of my competition?
Financial Portfolio Segment: One of the cardinal indicators of a successful business is its bottom
line. A bottom line is the financial state of a business or not-for-profit organization. It shows if
that corporate entity is a profit-making or loss-sustaining business. Questions to ask are:
How do you market your product or service?
Do you market only through convention media or non-media channels or do you combine
both the online space with the traditional means of marketing?
What is your marketing and advertising budget like?
What is the state of your equity, debt, and asset portfolio like?
What fraction of debt is your entire financial portfolio?
How long will it take for your team to become profitable or meet the agreed objective?
What impact do you anticipate the grant been focused on the agreed cause will have on
your business bottom line?
Funds Utilization Segment: This segment is very critical. It decides if your application for the
grant will be successful or not. This segment ensures that once the application is successful and
funds disbursed, measurement is quantified against well-defined parameters. Questions to ask
How will these funds be utilized?
What is the proportion to which these funds will be allocated?
What measures will be in place to avoid injecting funds into overhead or expansion instead
of the agreed objective(s)
If an application is declined, is there a chance that profit from sales or funds from other sources
will be put into projects on which your application is based?
Can investment into the project help the business to grow viz-a-viz the dynamic changes in
Business Operation Model Segment: No matter how small the beginning of the business is; it is
imperative to have a business model on which the future is based. Not having one, is
tantamount to a business without the direction of which one day will seize to exist.
Questions to ask in this segment are:
Which specific marketing channels are you using to sell your product or services?
Why are you using these marketing channels?
What is your sales channel if your initial channel fails?
Are there possibilities that your business may collapse if your business model fails?
5.What profit margin is your business operating on?
What PR strategies are you adopting or will you utilize to push the business image?
Consequently, no grantor wants to jeopardize funds into a business entity with a high probability
Intellectual Property Right Segment: Regardless of how important the aforementioned
segments are; it is still important to take a look at the intellectual property right of your product
or service to avoid legal issues that may arise in the future. If it’s a new invention worth
supporting, the question to ask is:
Is it a noble invention worth supporting?
What impact can this invention have on society?
Are there any legal issues surrounding this product or service?
What regulatory risk could impact the business?
What intellectual property do you own?
In conclusion, though applying for a grant may not attract as many strenuous questions as highlighted
above it is however important to familiarize yourself with them. “Success is when hard work
meets opportunity”. Using these questions can build your confidence.
And because it is not free money the best candidate is always selected from the large pool of potential candidates.
Finally, some of the members of these reviewing boards are either practicing bankers, civil society
organization executives, board members of some multinational organizations, and government agents.
That is why a business plan coupled with a marketing plan and an environmental impact assessment
the plan should help increase your chances of getting that grant.