While this guide cannot guarantee that your grant application will be accepted, there are several essential tips that will certainly increase your chances of getting noticed.

What grant are you applying for and why?

It’s a good idea to have a great understanding of what your business does so that you can communicate this effectively to the organisation offering the grant. It also helps to know which of the many grants is most appropriate for your business. The sooner you know what grant you want and why it’s important to your business, the easier the whole process will become.

Does your business meet the necessary criteria to receive the grant?

Ideally, you want to be customising your applications to the unique organisation you’re appealing to. Don’t start copying and pasting from one application to another, as it will look amateur and rushed.

You will need to become very familiar with all the necessary guidelines of the application. Make sure you know what you need to include well before the submission date. Don’t waste your own time by not double-checking that your business is a fit for this particular grant. Take some time to apply, don’t rush into it. A spelling error or grammar mistake could spoil your entire application, so review and revise it.

How much do you know about the Organisation?

If you know what the organisation is looking for in a candidate for their grant, you’ll have the upper hand over other competing applicants who haven’t done their homework. Try to get in touch with any other businesses that were recipients of this grant and get their advice.

They may have listed ‘past winners’ online, or perhaps Google will render some helpful results.

If your project is community-based, you’re going to want to learn as much as you can about your target audience. Conduct some surveys and questionaries to get this information and include your data under ‘fieldwork’ in your application. It will not only bring you useful data, but sure to the reader that you are motivated and driven to get your project off the ground.

Your local council might also be able to assist you with data and statistics that related to your project. This data would help support your business idea and encourage the organisation to look kindly upon your application. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) also has valuable data that may assist your project and make you stick out from the rest of the applicants.

What does your budget look like?

It’s not unlikely that the organisation will demand you attach to the application a detailed budget spelling out how you plan on using the grant money. If they do, you will have to cover a number of important details, including:

  • Accurate projected earnings and expenditures;
  • Overheads (e.g. such as rent, insurance, supplies);
  • Several quotes for buying the materials, machinery and equipment;
  • The purpose of each expense and how it assists the business; And
  • Your own personal involvement (e.g. financial, role, time invested in project)

You might also want to include some information about each team member, highlighting the relevant experience, skills, or training each member can bring to the table.

Is your application ready to be sent?

After having completed the legwork involved in collecting all the relevant data and information, you’ll need someone to beautify it all into a presentation – something professional that is well though out and easy to digest. Before you hit ‘send’, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your mission statement obvious and clear?
  • Is your submission presentable and easy to understand (avoid colloquial language)?
  • Are you submitting data (e.g. statistics, images, diagrams, charts) that is well organised?
  • Have you included a contents or index page?
  • Have you attached the materials in an Appendix?
  • Has the finished version already been reviewed and edited?

Once it’s ready to go, save a copy on file for your own accounts and record keeping.

The follow up

After you have submitted your application, call the organisation and check that they received all the necessary documents. This not only ensures your application goes through successfully but demonstrates your commitment as a business. If you can manage, try to attract further endorsements from different sources, such as the local government

Save any records of correspondence between you and any investors and don’t make any promises that you do not intend on keeping. If you do make a promise to do something in return for support – financial or otherwise – put these promises in writing, and don’t forget to carry through with them.

Conclusion

Give yourself a ‘Congratulations!’ for getting to this point. You have done everything you can, and the ball is now in the organisation’s court. For information on where to find all the current grants, visit Grant Finder.

For experienced legal advice on avoiding any misleading or deceptive representations in your applications, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 to speak with one of our experienced start-up solicitors.

Lachlan McKnight

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