University of Houston Small Business Development Center
By: Tatyana Parham
If your small business has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem nearly impossible to secure business relief funding. Small business grants can be an excellent opportunity, as they provide your business with the cash you need without requiring you to take out loans or increase your debt. Grants, offered by corporations, non-profits, or the government, provide small businesses with funding without requiring payment, unlike loans and credit cards.
Wondering how to apply for a COVID-19 grant for your small business? Here are a few steps to get you started:
Complete Your Business Plan
A detailed and organized business plan can provide grantors with a clear snapshot of your business's objectives, operations, impact, and vision. As the most critical component of your grant application, a business plan creates a cohesive story about your business and its short-and long-term goals. Grant providers are more likely to fund projects that include a clear and developed vision for the projected outcome of the funding and its potential impact on your business and its surrounding communities. An effective business plan includes an executive summary, comprised of:
Your business plan should also thoroughly explain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business, and your expectations from the grant project. Feel free to include additional competitive research, financial statements, and graphs to support your reason to receive funding.
Identify Potential Grants
Begin to search for appropriate sources of funding for your business and qualifications. You can look for potential small business grants on databases such as grants.gov and USA.gov. Ensure that you are only applying for opportunities which align to your company's mission and objectives.
For an ongoing list of small business grants for COVID-19 click here.
Determine Your Eligibility
Grant applications may have special requirements needed in order to qualify to receive funding. Traditionally, federal business grants are awarded to organizations that make a positive impact to the greater good, such as non-profits or businesses engaged in government-sponsored scientific research. These grants typically favor funding businesses owned by veterans, minorities, women, or those located in economically disadvantaged areas. Many local and state governments have offered grants to assist small businesses hire more workers, become more sustainable, or improve economically depressed areas.
Compile Application Materials
Along with your grant proposal, many COVID-19 business relief grants will require supplemental information about your business, including:
Write a Grant Proposal
You have a higher chance of being approved for funding with a well thought out grant proposal.
If you aren't confident in your ability to write an amazing grant proposal, employing a professional grant consultant can help your application stand out from the crowd.
Submit Your Application
Once you have gathered your business plan, grant proposal, and any other supporting documents, you are ready to submit your application. Write your application in layman's terms and avoid using any industry jargon so that any business professional can understand. After you follow all submission guidelines and proofread for any grammatical errors and inaccuracies, be sure to submit your application in a timely fashion.
SBA COVID-19 Funding Options
If you're having trouble tracking down grants available for COVID-19, you can explore SBA's various options for business funding and debt relief during these challenging times.
Visit our page for COVID-19 Business Resources for assistance in navigating the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic for your small business.
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