How to Prepare for Grant Opportunities in Nigeria
How to Prepare for Grant Opportunities in Nigeria
Getting grants to fund your business could be just what you need to boast your venture and take it to the next level. Governmental and non-governmental agencies periodically issue grants to capable and willing business men/women to promote efforts towards self-reliance and encourage entrepreneurship which is the catalyst for competition and quality services. Entrepreneurs seek for grants for numerous reasons, some to save a dying venture, others for startups, or even to invest further. The period of time you need to submit a grant application varies, it depends on the source of funding and granting agency. For an entrepreneur prepared to seize the opportunity of any available grant platform, it is relevant to be ready. You might pose a question: how do I prepare for grant funding?
Identifying purpose for grant
You cannot be a starter and apply for grants meant for ventures that have stood the taste of time in a particular industry or sector. For example, a university graduate that wants to venture into entrepreneurship cannot be seeking grants meant for business men that have lasted for years and likewise. Every business grant has a problem it is targeted to address, having knowledge of this is a great advantage because it will save you the stress of applying for funding you cannot defend the purpose you wish to get it for.
Understanding previous application experience
For firms and establishments that have applied for grants in the past, it is extremely important to asses and understand experiences gained from applications done in the past whether negative or positive before seeking another grant. Compiling information of existing grants managed by the establishment, and critical review of funding priorities are essential while preparing for any grant opportunity as it gives clear picture of your business’s successes and failures when it comes to managing grants. If your assessment does not augur well with the plan to get grant, it is best advised for you to consider other options. Work with your enterprise’s finance office to obtain the common data elements needed for all grants. Remember, record keeping and well documented reports are great components for success in business.
Building relationship with grant makers
Periodic communication with grantmakers about your work whether you are in the process of applying or not in the process of submitting an application is great move towards preparing for grant opportunities. With this, you could learn about future funding prospects, and also increase your chances of submitting a successful grant proposal when it is time to apply. Developing and sustaining relationships with grant makers cannot be underestimated, your excellent relationship with grant agencies might serve as reason for them granting your request because they are certain of what you can do with grants when issued to you for business. The rigorous process involved in seeking for a grant might be exempted for you and you could build partnership with the agency to identify other firms like yours for the granting agency, they just want to be sure you are in line with their policies.
Thorough research for granting opportunities
Sitting at home with your eyes glued to your TV set is surely not the best way to prepare for grant opportunities. Thorough online research about platforms that issues grants is great sign of readiness towards utilizing any available scheme. Publications are placed online in time for entrepreneurs that wish to apply for grants. Also, the print media is also another major research source as newspaper publications carry news of opportunities. With this, the business owner has enough time to prepare his grant proposal and other required documents for submitting application.
Knowing your financial capability
It is very important for you to know your financial level when applying for a grant as it is a prerequisite for some agencies that issue grants. In some cases, you will be required to complete a Financial Capability Questionnaire in other to demonstrate your capability to properly manage grant funds. For big establishments looking for grants, accounting processes, software, record keeping, audit record and the qualifications of your accounting personnel could be examined before granting funds. The financial obligations in the grant process are guided by standards according to accounting principles and also specific financial grant guidance directed by the funder.
Doing a budget for anticipated grant shows readiness to effectively execute plan which the grant is needed for. It is a great idea if you clearly state the exact amount of capital requested. For instance, expenses for the project such as amount for salaries, travel, and purchase of equipments in some cases should be distinctly outlined for clarity. Justifying the way expenses will be made is crucial when preparing for a grant opportunity. Potential sources of revenue which could come from other grants and contracts, and also forms of expenses should equally be visible when doing a budget for granting opportunities.
While you await a granting opportunity, it is advised to make a sustainability plan to see you through the post-grant training or assessment period to prove to funders that you are using a futuristic approach for your business. Grant agencies or governments often want to see a plan for how the project will be maintained after the grant period. To do that, creating your business plan and tactics which will be used to sustain your efforts must be presented while applying for grants.
An entrepreneur should treat his/her Grant Proposal as a project with a defined deliverable or end result for the anticipated fund. Projects outlined in the proposal must show tangible results or funding will not be granted. Funders want to see a carefully prepared, planned, and packaged proposal. Grant proposal which is a request for an investment in a non-profit or for-profit project is most times viewed as being beneficial to only the entrepreneur or requesting organisation, but that is not true. Grantees (individuals or organizations that offer grants) issue grants to effect positive change in the society not for some random project. Due to this, grants can have great impact on matters concerning an establishment’s cultures, morals and values; one has to prepare an outstanding proposal to get a grant.
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