Tips for applying for business grants

Looking for how to fund your business as you get it off the ground?

One of the trickiest aspects of founding a business can be getting the initial funding to get it off the ground. How will you pay for your equipment or resources if you don’t have the money coming in yet? Or maybe you’ll need to pay someone else to be front-of-house until you can drop hours at your job but you can’t drop hours of your job because you need to earn still.

For this reason, business grants exist. There are numerous small business grants that you can apply for in Victoria, both government-funded and non-government funded. Many are targeted specifically at startups, while others are for various stages, or for businesses with particular social, environmental or cultural aims.

Business Victoria and Business Australia have excellent search tools to explore government-funded grants, and a simple Google search will yield plenty of results across all categories. Indeed, the problem with all the grants out there is that you can waste a lot of time applying for the wrong ones.

So, here are some top tips for grant-hunting and applying:

  • Read the eligibility criteria – grants are very specific about which businesses are eligible to apply and when.
  • Note the deadlines – nothing worse than putting in the work and missing the cut off.
  • Read the FAQs – the questions other people ask will probably be the questions you need answers to as well, so save yourself some time and read them.
  • Give yourself plenty of time – a rushed application shows.
  • Tailor your application to the specific grant – grant assessors want to give grants to the right fit. Generic applications risk losing out.
  • Be specific – the best business grant applications are clear about the business plan, goals, and how the money will be spent.
  • Don’t be afraid to call the grants officer or organisation – clarifying things in a conversation is often the best way.
  • Ask for feedback – if your application is unsuccessful, you might learn a lot by asking the organisation why so you can get it right next time.
  • Be patient – the grants assessment process can be lengthy.
  • Be prepared to report back – if you are successful you’ll need to acquit your grant or report back on its results, so be prepared to be accountable for how you use it.

We hope this helps you when tackling your next grant application.