I have been in business for several years. Therefore, newer business owners often ask me how to get a grant. These companies are eager to find free grants and look for people who can help them make a proposal. I usually tell them that grants are usually for non-profit organizations. Writing a grant proposal is very different from responding to an RFP, which is where our expertise lies.
But since I have been in a learning model, I realized that there are some grants for for-profit companies. Of course there is a trap. Companies must be able to offer innovative R&D-type solutions. The Federal Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] program is one such program. SBIR provides funding and services to innovative technology companies.
Eleven government agencies participate by allocating part of their budget to companies in the SBIR program. This funding is available if the company has the potential to meet the needs of one of the 11 agents. However, you won't get all the benefits at once. As with venture capitalists, when they provide funds to companies, they will not lose control or equity. However, the common point of venture capital and grants is that funds are provided in stages.
The first stage: the company receives grants in stages. Initially, they received a six-month award during the feasibility analysis. Your business must prove that its products and services a] can solve problems and b] have commercial value and feasibility.
Phase 2: At this stage, your company will receive more funds to actually develop and implement your solution. Your company must now deliver a solution for your agent within two years.
Stage 3: If you reach this stage, you will be on a relaxed street. This is the time and place where you get your company contract. Your business may be the exclusive original contract award of the government.
Grants are great because they are free money. Most for-profit companies do not meet the eligibility criteria for grants. But for qualified people, grants do require “sweat assets”. You must be eligible for an initial grant. Moreover, your business must operate successfully to qualify your company for other awards.