You have a startup idea and your business name, now you are looking for some money to get your business off the ground. Grants are a great place to look for an initial injection of capital. Keep in mind that each grant is a little bit different in their expectations and application requirements. Grants are often specific on use and timelines, so be sure to look to each individual grant, as well as their terms and conditions, to determine if you are eligible.
What you should take into consideration when applying to grants:
- Match requirements
- Reporting and follow up
Eligibility and Application
All grants list out their eligibility criteria. It is often the first piece of information you encounter. Eligibility criteria can range from things like age requirements to the location of business to startup stage to startup category, and much more. Make sure you fit the eligibility criteria before moving forward with the application, otherwise, you risk wasting your time writing an application for something you will not be considered for. Most applications require you to clearly outline your business and the expected milestones you will accomplish through the grant. Leave yourself enough time to complete the application and check for errors.
Grants typically have a specific timeline for task completion. Make sure your timelines lineup with those provided by the grant. Timelines also apply to the application itself. Some grants, like Summer Company, are only open at specific points in the year, make sure you are aware of when applications are open and, more importantly, when they close to make sure you do not miss the deadline.
Some grants, such as Starter Company, require you to contribute a specific amount to receive funding through their grant program. Ratios on the required matching funds vary depending on the grant. Starter Company, for example, requires you to match 25% of $5000 in cash or in-kind. In-kind refers to the value of goods or services, rather than money.
Reporting and follow up
So you applied to a grant, you met the eligibility criteria, and your application was approved congratulations! Now begins the arduous task of reporting. Grants typically require periodic check-ins and reports that cover the spending and activities completed over the course of the reporting period. Reporting periods vary based on the grant.
New grants are being made all the time. The best way to learn about them is by being involved in the community and periodically checking various grant portals, such as Grants Ontario. To find grants specifically for those between 15 and 29 in Ontario, visit the Government of Ontario’s grant resources for entrepreneurs under 30. You can also visit Innovation Canada or the Funding Portal to find both government grants and business incentives. Good luck in your grant application adventures!