Is your company grant ready? While any company would appreciate some extra funds, it is best to wait until your business is truly grant ready to apply for funding. This applies to federal funding such as SBIR and government contracts, as well as private funding such as venture capitalists and angel investors. But what does “grant ready” mean? Overall, it means that the company is at a stage where it is ready to receive funding and grow as a business and that the company has everything needed to apply for funding.
How do you know if you are grant ready?
Companies hate to hear it, but we have to say it. If your business can not afford the fee associated with getting the guidance needed to write a proposal, the business is probably not ready for funding. Funding is a big deal and usually comes with strings attached. If you are unable to come up with several thousand dollars for a business expense, how are you going to design, develop, and commercialize an innovative product or idea with minimal fiscal and human resources in a short amount of time? Most grant periods are six months to one year, and the funder fully expects a minimum viable product at the end of that time period.
Companies who are ready for funding will have already hired staff, created a sustainable business plan and pitch materials, completed customer discovery, and have a good understanding of their market, target customers, competitors, etc. They will have a sustainable business model in place and know what their next step is for commercialization. They will understand the market need their product fills and be able to express how and why their product fills a need or surpasses the industry standard.
Right Stage, Right Materials
Once a company is at the right stage to receive funding, they must ensure that they have the necessary materials and knowledge prepared to apply for a grant. This includes several registrations (with the System for Awards Management, Small Business Association, the federal grant portal, etc.). They must also know what financial resources are necessary for commercialization and have financial documentation, a DUNS or EIN number, a physical workspace, and have team members in place to fulfill all necessary roles within the scope of project activities, including research, development, testing, reporting, and perhaps evaluation.
Many companies look at funding as a bridge from where they are to where they want to be, but the truth is funding should only be pursued once a viable company has been established and is ready for the next phase of growth. Do you understand Contract Funding Vs. Grant Funding
We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.