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18-Mar-2014

Narrowing down grant eligibility in your field




Internships or training, innovation or expansion? Where is your business headed? Depending on your business and its goals, there may be opportunities to leverage funding in the form of grants.


Three of the most important factors for successfully securing grant funds are:


  • 1. A solid, well thought-out plan, which is mindful of timeliness, milestones, and budget needs and projections. This preparedness indicates to the funder that you have a solid business plan that will yield increased revenue, and employment. This is useful not only for grants, but practical execution and other traditional financing as well.

  • 2. Grants that best fit the plan.

  • 3. Complete and thorough application. It’s always a good idea to visit with the funder about your project before and during your application.


Grants for your business


Training Grants- Nearly every Nebraska company is eligible for training grant funds. Funds from Nebraska’s Department of Labor can be used up to 50 percent of the cost of an upcoming training. Trainings include everything from First Aid/CPR, to sales, to English as a second language, to leadership. Check out http://dol.nebraska.gov


Be mindful of submitting an application before the deadline, well in advance of the scheduled training. The application and reporting are simple.


Small Business Energy Grants- The USDA offers REAP (Rural Energy Assistance Program) grants to small businesses and ag producers in rural areas. These include grants for making sizable energy efficiency improvements in your facility/operation or installing renewable energy sources. These applications are not, however, as simple as the Department of Labor training grant.


The first step is to call the USDA office in your area to discuss your project and receive application materials. Be forewarned, a recent application completed for a USDA grant exceeded 100 pages; business registration on the www.sam.gov website was required. However, 25 percent of the project was funded, making the benefit outweigh the hassle and cost of completing the application.


Innovation Grants- The federal government’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development are two good sources of possible funding for innovative technologies. Software development, process development, or new inventions that will be a catalyst for business growth are possible funding fits.


Expansion Grants- Local and state economic development offices may have dollars set aside for business growth, job creation, and increased revenue for your business and the community. Again, to increase funding chances, have a solid plan ready before contacting your local and state economic development offices.


We are fortunate to live in a community and state that encourages strong economic growth. If now is the time to take your business to the next level, grant funding may be the opportunity to bridge the gap between your resources and needs.


For a list of grant resources visit: www.nebraskaccess.ne.gov


About the Author

Kris Vrooman
Innovative Grant Services

Kris Vrooman is the owner of Innovative Grant Services and brings 10 years of grant experience to the table. She enjoys working with businesses to turn their big ideas into fundable projects.


  


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