With so many grants on offer, how do you pick the best one for you?
“There are steps any business can take to determine if a particular government grant suits the organisation,” says Adrian Chugg, business advisory manager at William Buck Business Advisors and Chartered Accountants. “No matter what type of funding appeals to your business, you can follow this simple checklist to help you handle the application and grant management process.”
1. Examine Grant Guidelines—look closely at the specific rules and regulations outlined for the grant under consideration to determine if your business is eligible to apply.
2. Call a meeting—it’s highly recommended you meet with a representative from the relevant government department to see if they see any initial problems or obstacles that could prevent a successful application.
3. Prepare the application—invest the proper time and resources needed to prepare your grant application. To speed up the process and ensure accuracy, seek the advice of your business advisor or accountant to prepare and review all or part of the application.
4. Provide additional information—in most cases there’ll be a request for additional information after your application has been received. Respond promptly, with accurate details.
5. Enter into funding agreement—if your business wins a grant, a legally binding government contract may be required before funds will be distributed. The contract will include information about the grant amount, timing and terms of funding. Again, it's important to consult with your business advisors and lawyers to complete the contract.
6. Receive funding—if your business is awarded a large grant, installment payments may be made. The government will choose to disburse each installment after your business reaches certain milestones outlined in your funding agreement.
7. Manage reporting—the government will require ongoing reports from your business, sometimes even years after the last installment has been received, so be prepared to invest the time to complete these documents.
A government grant may be what your business needs to take on a new project, but it’s important to look at all angles. “It's essential to investigate any potential downsides you might encounter should your business receive government funding,” says Chugg. “These can include the cost of preparing the application and ongoing reporting requirements, greater tax liabilities, and reduction in certain business concessions.”
For a list of government and private industry grants for SMEs, check out our grants guide at www.dynamicbusiness.com.au