There’s money being given away!

Before Working Women Australia, there was a little local group I started called the Alpine Shire Working Women.  It is a local group to share knowledge and ideas as well as learn about local business women and support one another.  That group continues, and we hold regular seminars when a topic of interest arises.

This week a local business woman, Fiona,  shared her ideas and experience on applying for grants.  Her brewery recently secured two grants to expand their production and physical space and she told us how she did it.

 

There is money out there, being given out hand over fist but you just need to find the right way to tap into it…that’s the hard part!

Here are some tips I took from the seminar, that I thought could benefit others trying to get projects off the ground:

  1. Network, network, network.  Get yourself out there with like-minded individuals and amongst the action.  Find local interest groups that align with your core business.  Make yourself and your business known.  You never know what information they may have for you, or you may have for them.
  2. Devise a plan.  I know how tedious it can be to write a business plan.  Trust me, I know.  However if you want anyone to take your business seriously, you have to show that you’re serious about it too.  Invest a week of your time and write out a business plan.  Look at competitors in the market and what they’re doing.  Consider the future of your business and where you want it to go.  It can be an organic document that changes with you and your business growth.  It’s not set in stone.
  3. Create a plan for the project that you would like money for.  This can be as simple as three columns: 1. The steps involved 2. The time it will take to achieve these steps 3. The costs involved in each step.
  4. Your project must be time-bound (grants aren’t given out for ongoing running costs).  There must be an end date when the project can be signed off.
  5. Be broad-minded about the grants on offer.  You often need to think outside the box as grant parameters may not seem to fit your project, but you may just need to think about things differently.  A great example was Fiona’s own brewery who received a grant for “Food processing”.  You wouldn’t initially think that food processing is a part of brewing – it turns out it is!
  6. Back up all your plans with data.  How many people will benefit from you receiving the grant?  Will you be able to employ new staff?  Will you be hiring local contractors to do the work?  Will they then go and spend the money on other local businesses?
  7. Find the person in your local shire/council who looks after community grants.  Make yourself known to them, and keep in contact.  I’m a big believer in the old adage that “The squeaky wheel gets the oil”.  If the people giving out the money know about you and your project, they can contact you if something comes up.  This may take some time, but be patient.
  8. Include letters of support from local businesses and people of note.  This will show that you are an upstanding citizen – the philanthropist (or government body) handing out the money want to know that its going to someone they can be associated with.
  9. When you’re asked if the project could proceed without the grant in question, consider your answer VERY carefully.  If you say yes, well you don’t really need the money.  If you say no, the project doesn’t appear viable.  Perhaps say that it would take a lot longer to proceed with the plan as you source funding, this would mean you couldn’t employ new staff as quickly, your impact on the local economy would be much slower etc.

Fiona spoke about the ‘velocity of money’ which I found really interesting.  This relates to the speed at which a $10 note can be passed around.  If your project is to build a new workshop for your local silversmith business, you will hire local architects to create the plans.  You will then hire a local builder to build the structure.  He will source products from the local hardware store for the job.  He may also hire a new apprentice to work with him.  You will put on a new staff member due to the increased productivity and demand for your silverware.  Everyone involved will spend the money at local shops.  That $10 note is being passed around at a fierce pace!  The economy is bulging thanks to that initial grant.  I found that fascinating.

The money is out there, and someone is getting it.  Why not your small business?

Here are some links to get you started, but make sure you’re open-minded about the types of grants on offer:

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Comments

  1. Thanks for passing on Fiona’s tips, will go and look into some of these.

  2. Faith Russo says:

    Thanks Kim for sharing this info. Wanted to attend the group with Fiona but missed out! So appreciate your work here very much. You are an inspiration.

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