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Building a Solid Foundation: Key Legal and Business Steps for Grant-Worthy Businesses (and a few grant programs you should know about)

In the dynamic landscape of business, particularly for startups and small enterprises, securing grant funding can be a game-changer. To stand out in the competitive world of grant applications, businesses need to establish a robust legal and business foundation. Here are essential steps to enhance your eligibility for grant funding:

1. Legal Structure: Choose Wisely Selecting the right legal structure is crucial. Whether you opt for a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation, each structure has its implications on liability, taxes, and governance. Grantors often prefer businesses with clear and well-defined legal structures, as it reflects stability and professionalism.

2. Comprehensive Business Plan: Your Roadmap to Success Crafting a detailed business plan is not just a formality – it's a roadmap showcasing your vision, mission, and strategies. Granting organizations want to support businesses with a clear understanding of their goals, target audience, and market positioning. Make your business plan a compelling narrative that convinces funders of your potential impact.

3. Financial Stability: Show Me the Numbers Financial stability is a key consideration for grantors. Maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow projections. A transparent financial history not only instills confidence but also demonstrates your ability to manage funds responsibly.

4. Compliance with Regulations: Dotting the I's and Crossing the T's Ensure strict adherence to all legal and regulatory requirements. This includes proper licenses, permits, and compliance with industry standards. Granting organizations prefer businesses that operate ethically and within the bounds of the law.

5. Social Impact and Sustainability: A Cause Worth Supporting Many grant programs focus on businesses with a commitment to social impact and sustainability. Clearly articulate how your business contributes to the community or addresses environmental concerns. Aligning your goals with societal needs can significantly enhance your grant-worthiness.

6. Networking and Partnerships: Strength in Connections Build a strong network within your industry and community. Collaborations and partnerships with other businesses or organizations demonstrate your commitment to collective growth. Grantors often value businesses that contribute to a collaborative ecosystem.

7. Track Record and Milestones: Prove Your Mettle If your business has achieved notable milestones or garnered recognition, highlight them. A proven track record adds credibility and demonstrates your ability to execute plans successfully. Showcase any awards, achievements, or positive media coverage your business has received.

By establishing a solid legal and business foundation, you position your business as a compelling candidate for grant funding. Grantors seek businesses that not only have promising ideas but also demonstrate the capability to turn those ideas into impactful outcomes. With a thorough understanding of your legal standing, a well-defined business plan, and a commitment to social responsibility, your business can rise above the competition and attract the support it needs to thrive.

Here are a few grants you should know about:

  • The Awesome Foundation awards monthly grants of $1,000 to support various projects.

  • Comprising 84 independently-run chapters, members contribute to a micro-funding pool for grant projects.

  • Although not limited to businesses, startups and small businesses have received these grants.

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

  • Business Warrior offers $5 million to small business owners to provide loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 without high interest rates.

  • Aimed at helping small businesses access capital in a non-traditional way.

  • FedEx's 12th annual Small Business Grant Contest will award over $330,000 in grants and services to 10 U.S.-based small businesses.

  • Entries for the contest will open soon, and email notifications for submission details are available.

  • The 10 grand prize winners will be announced in May, receiving $30,000 and additional perks.

  • Offers a monthly $500 grant to qualifying U.S. business owners, evaluated based on a "5C Framework."

  • Grant recipients also receive feedback on their business and a two-month free membership in the Freed Studio.

  • Eligible for an end-of-year grant of $2,500.

  • Matches $500 grants to qualifying small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

  • Requires raising at least $500 through a GoFundMe campaign and is backed by GoFundMe and corporations like Intuit QuickBooks, Yelp, GoDaddy, and

  • Incfile offers two grants supporting entrepreneurs and students with amounts of $2,500 each.

  • "Young Entrepreneur Scholarship Grant" for students, and "Fresh Start Business Grant" for adult entrepreneurs.

  • Applicants must complete an online application, create a video, and submit a sample business plan.

  • Skip offers a $10,000 grant for U.S.-based small business owners and entrepreneurs.

  • Also provides monthly grants, typically at $1,000, based on Skip’s YouTube revenue.

  • National ACE, in partnership with Verizon, offers a free digital readiness program for small business owners.

  • Completing two courses makes participants eligible for a $10,000 grant.

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and FedEx collaborate on the Small Business Readiness for Resiliency (R4R) Program.

  • Aids small businesses in disaster preparation and provides emergency funding when necessary.

  • Businesses complete a four-step process for eligibility in funding opportunities.

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