Government Grants – Are They Worth the Effort?

Government Grants – Are They Worth the Effort?
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The issue of Government Grants came up last August 20 when Jei Li’Rann posted in BSB this message:

BSB Government Grant

The thread is certainly interesting because of the lively discussion our members had about government grants and whether small business owners should use it to boost their businesses, or fully use their funds instead.

On one side, some people pointed out that when they first started their businesses, they didn’t get any assistance from grants yet they were able to make their businesses grow. According to some, it doesn’t feel right to take advantage of grants because you’re going to make a profit at the expense of our tax dollars.

In defense of these grants, some of our members said that they are designed to reduce unemployment and stimulate the economy, which is normally the key point of a grant.

The Back to Work grant is to encourage businesses to hire long term or youth job seekers. Someone proposed that these workers require training and would need time and patience to get up to speed with other more experienced workers, (which is why the government is offering such generous support up to $20,000- my notes). It’s an incentive, one that has a time frame and is a subject to availability of funds.

Why the Government offer Grants

Simply put, the government wants a lively economy. They offer grants with an agenda to boost the economy, stimulate employment and to build strong, sustainable businesses.

They don’t care about you personally with this agenda; it’s sad but true. It’s not about helping you have a massively profitable business and getting rich without benefiting others within the economy.

Considering a grant?

Having some understanding of the frameworks and helping many business owners attain grants over the last couple of years, the key is to address the government’s objectives.

Grant funds are generally well sought and to obtain the funds you will need to display that the funds will be spent wisely to achieve their goals. It’s not your money; it’s for services that will help you achieve the government’s objectives.

The grants are rarely free money, normally these days the government is supporting you in funding a specific project, obtaining skills and expertise that you may not at this stage have. They’re generally looking for you to invest in the project also to ensure that the project is one you value for your business. Many are $4$ matching, in that they will refund the funds after you have invested them.

Take the Advance Queensland Programs these are offered to stimulate strong, high-performance businesses that will generate growth in employment. If you’re seeking to automate everything and not employ anyone, it’s unlikely you would be successful in gaining a grant of this nature.

Is the process difficult?

For the smaller grants, generally not. They will take time, but the time you may already be investing that time planning the project for your business anyway.

The process of applying for a grant will make you organise your thoughts and plans, and formulate an argument to support your application. In doing so, you’re likely to have developed a project plan to grow your business. You’re already ahead.

Bringing this together

Grants are there to support a government initiative. They seek to ensure that you’re worthy of receiving the funds, that the dollars are well spent.

  1. Make sure that you are supporting the initiative stated in the grant proposal.
  2. Ensure you have highlighted that the outcomes derived from the funds meet the requirements of the grant proposal
  3. I suggest to find your uniqueness, if not you’re unlikely to be successful, how does your business stand out from the crowd and why would the government support the growth of your business?
  4. The government wants you to have a strong, sustainable business and are willing to assist you if you give them enough reason. We should be grateful for the consideration and the fact that we have explored our business more deeply, providing clarity about this particular project, even if we’re unsuccessful.

If you believe that without the obtainment of the grant funds, the project is not viable, it’s probably not viable with the funds in the eyes of the government, don’t waste your time.

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