Whether you are an individual who is struggling or a business that wants a head start, government grants can really help you out. There are several different types of grants and ways that you can apply for them. You might be surprised at what qualifies you for a government grant. This article includes what you need to know about government grants.
What Is A Grant?
Firstly, you might be wondering what a grant actually is. A grant is a loan that you don’t have to pay back. Free money is free money, but usually, there are some conditions. If you are looking at grants for individuals, as in a personal grant, you will need to meet certain criteria. If you are looking for a business grant, there will be many terms and conditions for what you can use the money for. There is also usually a long application that is very thorough. Essentially this is what a grant is.
Personal grants can be given out by the government for several reasons. You will need to apply for these directly and provide proof of your circumstances. Over the last 18 months or so, personal grants have been available to those who were severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The amount of money will be determined based on your needs and will at most allow you to make ends meet, rather than supplying you with your usual wages. Personal government grants are available for various reasons but are usually awarded to those who are most in need.
A government grant to use for a specific business need can be applied for to give you a helping hand. Generally, these cannot be applied for just because you want some money to start a business. There will likely be some kind of initiative or program running where there is a pot of money that has been allocated for a specific purpose. That purpose may be for redressing gender or racial inequality and, as such, would mean that you would need to show what your business was doing to help support that goal. Government business grants can be really useful for helping you get started, especially if you are doing something for a worthy cause.
Time Consuming Application
If you want to know about government grants, you need to understand some of the bad sides too. Typically, whether it is a business grant or a personal grant, there will be a very long and time-consuming application. It may take months or years before a decision is reached. As it is a government fund, they need to be sure that the money is going to the right person and also that they are getting the right amount. You need to know how to write a good story and be persuasive in your reasoning too. Despite the application process being very long-winded, they are often extremely competitive, which is the next point in this article.
The other downside of government grants is that they are super competitive. The reason for this is that you are applying for money held in a central pot, so anyone from anywhere in the country could apply. You might think that you have a niche business idea that no one else is doing, but the chances are that someone else is probably applying for the grant with a very similar idea. You need to have a great idea and be able to express yourself through the application really well. It is very hard to stand out when you are applying for a government grant as they are super competitive.
Best Areas To Apply For
Sometimes the grant applications are very specific and are looking for a very niche business proposal. Other times, they are a bit broader and allow you to try your luck a bit more. However, it is good to know what types of qualities or areas the government likes to put money into. Below are some of the areas that are the most popular for government grants.
Energy + Environment
In the world we live in, most governments are keen to support businesses and people who are looking to find ways to help the environment. Whether that is working with renewable energy, carbon capture, or designing more efficient vehicles, governments will want to support these types of ventures. These are businesses or research that will help them be world leaders if they are successful. If you are keen to get some government funding, then think about how you can make your business work for the environment.
Although this might seem like an unusual key component of a business, governments love to export goods. To be one of the main exporters of a good or service is what all governments want. If you can show that your business will build a large export market that will benefit the government long term, then they will likely want to invest in you. When applying, you should try to emphasize the export nature of your business, if appropriate.
Some businesses are built on pre-existing ideas, and other companies are built on innovation. Being an innovative company puts you in a good place for receiving government funding. The reason why governments like innovative businesses is that they have the potential to discover or produce a new product that could change the world. Imagine being the government that backed a small start-up that went on to be a tech giant that changed the way we live. Governments want to be seen as leading the charge in discoveries, and awarding grants for innovative businesses is how they do that.
No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Depending on your mindset, you might be thinking like this all sounds like a lot of effort for a small amount of free money. Well, there is no such thing as a free lunch and getting a government grant is no easy feat. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand everything you need to know about government grants.
Featured Image by Unsplash