Entrepreneurship is an admirable thing to pursue. Who wouldn’t want to become their boss and make something for themselves? However, like many things that are worth getting, starting a business takes time and money.
Funding is always the most significant hurdle any startup will have to try to overcome. That’s why a business grant is one of the most desirable things you can try to get to help you get started. It may even be one of the few things you can rely on during this pandemic.
What is a Business Grant?
A business grant is usually publicly-funded money that an entrepreneur may apply for. If they qualify, they can gain funding for a specific purpose or project. The best part about grants is that you usually don’t have to pay the money back with interest, if at all.
Unfortunately, it is not without its caveats. Aside from the fact that the grant money can only be used towards that one specific purpose, there’s much competition, and it can be challenging to qualify for one. The fact is even more evident when women or minority groups run the business.
Choosing the Right Women and Minority Small Business Grant
Data has shown that the number of women starting and working in companies continues to be smaller, especially in the UK, compared to most other economies. It also shows that minorities are still trying to overcome barriers other entrepreneurs don’t face. This is even though minority-owned businesses have proven to be more creative and innovative than their competitors.
That’s why you must research and look into organisations geared towards providing grants for small businesses and looking into ones that support those groups. Thankfully, you have multiple options to choose from and try to apply to.
There are at least three types of organisations that give business grants:
Several private companies are willing to invest in entrepreneurial endeavours, most especially women. These companies are eager to provide funding, especially when the startup has a promising project that the company could acquire or utilise in the future. They do require businesses to meet requirements such as submitting portfolios, essays, or business plans.
- Special Interest Groups
Special interest groups look for women and minority groups they can provide support and funding to. Many of these have come up due to the current pandemic, so they want to partner with those severely impacted by it. Such groups include The Red Backpack Fund, Hello Alice, and The Eileen Fisher Grant Program, to name a few.
- Government Grants
Finally, government business grants use money usually allocated by the government to help small businesses keep themselves afloat. As this is government funding, you can expect low to no-interest loans, tax credit, or financial contributions. These one-time grants also don’t require repayment if you qualify for it.
Government business grants in the UK are just as viable to help you start your business. Just take note of eligibility, such as where your business is located and the purpose of your grant. Also, consider the different forms of government grants. Knowing the differences between a federal, state, or local grant and which one would fit your situation, the best will determine whether or not you’ll receive money for your business.
If your startup fits these criteria, you’ll be able to apply easily and get approved for one. There are other grants to choose from that you can also consider and think about. Multiple types of grant schemes aim to assist businesses in changing a market or improving employment rates.
With all this information given, it’s now time to figure out which one you’re more likely to get. It’s a necessary process not to end up wasting time and get you squared away for success as soon as possible. Let’s also go over some basic how-tos to give you a general idea of what to expect.
Here's how you apply business grants for women and minority groups.
1. Research Grants to Find the Right One For You
It’s vital that you first know which grant criteria you fit in the best. Doing your due diligence in research is critical in finding the best one you will qualify for the most. For women and minorities groups specifically, there’s a multitude of options you can consider to apply for. Here’s a quick checklist of what you need to look out for:
- Check eligibility requirements.
- Find the deadline.
- Check the full application procedure.
- Look at the history of past winners.
- Contact the grant organisation if you have any questions.
All of these can usually be found on a website. Try to scout out for those that either support women or minority groups (whichever one you will likely succeed in being given a grant). Ones that support both are the most ideal as they widen your range of possibilities.
Thorough research can take you a long way. Knowing which one is the best for you with what you have will help you avoid wasting time and resources. Divert all your attention to the most optimal one for your business.
2. Write Proposals and Applications
Once you’ve found which grants you seem eligible for, it’s time to write a grant proposal and submit an application. Make sure to describe your startup business. This includes your company’s mission and vision as well as what product or service you provide.
Consider hiring a grant writer if you feel your skills are lacking. They are professionally equipped to help you with not only your application but also in meeting other requirements. It may be an additional expense, but it’s one of those things that can pay off in the long run.
3. Ask for Guidance
Contact the organisation you’ll be asking for a grant and inquire more about what you need and how to prepare for it. Ask for specifications and what they’re expecting from those asking for grants. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try to learn as much as you can.
You can even try to learn more about other opportunities for either women or minorities and see what they have. Expanding your search options will never hurt. Be sure also to keep your contact’s information just if you have further questions or clarifications down the line.
You can also look into startups in the UK that have successfully made a name for themselves. Perhaps some of these have taken advantage of grants to launch their business forward. There are quite several women-owned and minority groups startups to look into.
Some examples include
Poa. A London-based Swedish accessory brand that encourages and promote fashion that is more sustainable.
Their primary focus is looking for owned businesses and helping those said businesses thrive in their respective markets.
4. Gather the Required Documentation
Having the right and accurate documentation is essential. All kinds of groups that provide grants will look for different types of documents from you. Guarantee that you have what they need and try to procure the necessary files for a smooth process.
5. Follow Submission Requirements
Look for detailed instructions when it comes to submitting your grant proposal. You have to be meticulous when it comes to this. So make sure you follow all submission and format instructions.
Never be afraid to double back and check. You can never be too careful, so find out what you need, write it down, and double-check to be sure. Catching a small error more early can make all the difference.
6. Describe Your Business/Service
You have to give a clear idea of how you’re meeting customers’ needs and how you’ll be needing the grant for it. Don’t forget to mention this when writing up your applications and as you follow the submission requirements. Giving the granting organisations summarised yet detailed information about what you’re aiming to achieve may convince them to provide the support and funding you need.
7. Apply for Your Business Grant Before the Deadline
The last but most important thing about applying for a grant is making sure that you submit it all on time. It may be a no-brainer to some, but making sure that everything is ready and accounted for takes time. Look at when it is all due and create an organised schedule for the whole process. Maybe even ask for feedback if possible to gain more insight about what you have and how you can improve it.
Women and people in minority groups may continue to face challenges today. Still, by tearing down barriers that prevent them from being successful, we can find diversity in the market and broaden customer options. Through these particular grants, it can help people achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
Gaining access to a grant could be what you need to get your business up and running. It may seem daunting at first, and the competition for getting one can be challenging, but if successful, it could be all you need to succeed and make a difference in the market.