Start Applying for Grants

When first starting, most entrepreneurs fund their business through bootstrapping, using their savings or funneling part of their income from another job and investing it back into their business. This self funding stage is usually a necessary step to proving the credibility of your business when applying for funding later on, but it is not the only way you can gain funds when first starting out. 

Setting up a crowdfunding campaign can be a massive help to new enterprises and can supplement the money you are investing for yourself. Share this among friends and family and within the community which you aim to help.  Projects that have a social focus can often receive a lot of donations and this can help tide you over until your business has gained a little more traction and is eligible for grants.  

3 Ways to Apply for an Entrepreneurial Grant – wikiHow

Eventually though, for your business to grow you will need to start applying for funding. One of the great things about being a social entrepreneur is that there are many grant opportunities available to you. You can use these grants to make up the other half of your income. 

The first stage in this process is research. Have a good look around to see what is out there. A great place to look would be the School for Social Entrepreneurs and organisations like UnLtd. Bare in mind that when you are first starting out, the grants you receive may be very small. 

Think about what your business really needs and how each grant you come across could benefit your business. Many organisations that give out grants also have other support programs that you can benefit from.

However there are some things to be aware of and plan for when looking at grant opportunities. It is important that you plan for the time it takes to apply for grants. Applying for grants takes a considerable amount of time and effort and even then, there is no guarantee that you will receive payment. It is important to pay close attention to the grant requirements. All grants ask for something different and applying for a grant for which you are not eligible is a huge waste of time. 

Once you decide which grants you are going to apply for, you will have to begin compiling the necessary information and writing the application. 

What you will need: 

  • A mission statement: Having a mission statement will make it easier for you to communicate your goals with potential funders. Most applications will ask for goals. This includes the businesses values and company priorities as well as financial goals. 
  • A business plan: All grant applications will ask for some sort of business plan. This plan details what type of business you plan on running and how you plan on running it, and what you would like your business to achieve. It is here that you will stipulate how much you are requesting along with a financial plan. 
  • A Management statement: The purpose of a management statement is similar to that of a CV. It demonstrates why you are qualified for the job. You should include past experience, qualifications and any other relevant information that builds your credibility. 
  • Any other required components: Funders often ask for financial information such as proof of income, tax returns or bank statements or legal information such as commercial leases and necessary business permits. It is a good idea to have digital copies of these handy and multiple physical copies just in case.  

If you receive a grant, you will be expected to provide a report which demonstrates how you used the funds and the impact that these funds had. Read more about reporting here. 

The Ultimate Introductory Guide to Funding Your Social Enterprise (acumenacademy.org) 

3 Ways to Apply for an Entrepreneurial Grant – wikiHow

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