Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Here is some very good information about grants in general. I say "in general" because the process isn't the same for all grant programs but this is very good information for those who are considering applying for a grant.

Grants are the toughest to get and have the most stringent requirements. Grants require a written grant proposal (almost like a business plan), defining the specific project for which the grant funds will be used, detailing how this will benefit the granting organization, describing how the project will be managed (including a project timeline with build-in review meetings and reports) and delineating the past relevant experience of the key members of the project management team.

In the event you do receive a grant, be prepared for mandatory reports, reviews and site visits by the granting organization to ensure that its funds are being used as promised.
Because these are government funds, politics always play a role. Securing these funds does not require dealing with financiers; it requires dealing with bureaucrats and politicians.
Bureaucrats usually won't consider your company's growth potential, the importance of your proposed project or your experience. Instead, they will consider how well your proposal meets the requirements of their confidential rule book.

This closely held internal document specifies certain conditions required for approval (only a few of which may be known to you). These conditions do not guarantee approval, they merely qualify you for serious consideration.

Examples of these conditions might include: Does your proposal create at least (a specific number) of new jobs paying at least (a specific wage)? Does your proposal have strong written backing from your city government and area politicians? Is your business on their list of targeted growth industries?

You need to understand as many of these conditions as you can before making application for funds. Visit with government managers familiar with the funding sources and area politicians and economic development directors to gain more insight. You will also want to sell your proposal to your city government, chamber of commerce and area politicians to gain their written endorsement of your project. Once you have met the conditions of the bureaucrats' rule book, you will have to sell your proposal to the agency that manages the funds.

As you move forward, remember that proposals are rarely a perfect fit with the agency's internal requirements, so be willing to compromise on terms to make your proposal more attractive to the agency. Also, government money always comes with strings attached, so never sign an acceptance document without first ensuring that you understand all the strings and their ramifications. Here are examples of what can go wrong if you rush into the process too blindly and too fast:

  • The CEO of a flourishing manufacturing business had been involved with his state's economic development organization for years. He knew all the key executives. He also knew that a sponsoring city should apply for an economic betterment grant. However, when he decided to expand his business, he submitted an abbreviated proposal directly to the committee, assuming his stature with committee members would ensure speedy approval. He was turned down.

  • An entrepreneur launched a company and approached his state's economic development office for potential support. He applied for a forgivable loan program specifically tied to the creation of jobs. However, because his business was expanding, he began to hire the extra people before his application was considered. When his application came before the committee and they learned he had hired the people, the loan application was rejected. They reasoned that he didn't need their funds to create the jobs if he had already created them.

  • Another business owner's struggling company had some debts, but it also had an exciting high-tech product with a bright future. He sought a state product-development loan to bring his new product to market. He was granted the loan. However, the loan agreement contained a clause specifying that the proceeds could be used only for future costs associated with the new product. He ignored the fine print and used a portion of the first loan installment to pay off debts. As a result, he never saw the rest of the funds and is still struggling.

    Impatient or poorly advised entrepreneurs perceive that securing government funds is easier than conventional financing. Not so. Government money is more difficult to secure, and it always comes with more restrictions.

However, if you are still considering applying for government funds, start by visiting your banker, your chamber of commerce, local economic development groups and other business people who have run the gantlet to develop a more realistic assessment of your road ahead.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

My Website Page about Grants....


I was updating the information on my grants page and I noticed just how much information was on there. I decided to let that information stay because it answers the same basic questions that get asked over and over again. Even though the questions (and answers) posted may be a few months old the information is still applicable today.

So many people want to know how they can get a grant and the answer is that it will depend on what you want the grant for. Another thing that people should be made aware of is that a grant is not guarenteed. You have to apply for the grant. Some grant programs have many applicants, some have not very many applicants and there have even been a few grant programs that have closed because they didn't receive enough or any applicants!

I have also visited a lot of websites that say that there are no grants for starting a business. A lot of them say that there are no government grants to start a business. When I see this I think to myself "Have they even seen the government's website?" Did you know that there are government grant programs that are open to all? That means that individuals and even for-profit businesses can apply.

Did you know that a man (just last year) received $500,000 in grant money? Actually the term used was "fellowship" money. He can spend this money in any way that he wants! I don't even think he knew about the program. He didn't go to them - they came to him! Why did he receive this money award? Because of his love of books!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Help For Heating Bill Woes?

Below is a response that I made to someone who was looking for help with his heating bill.

I know of at least one national program that helps provide assistance with heating bills. If you have a medical emergency and/or are low-incomed you are eligible for this type of program. As a matter of fact this particular program payed for an entirely new boiler system for a client of mine - and that includes the boiler system itself and the installation! I'm told that this is normally a $2,000 job and it was had for free - all because of a government grant program.One of the very first things that you should do is talk to your utility company to see if they have any grant and/or financial programs that you may be eligible for. I personally had a chance to talk with the contracter that did this particular job and the one thing I remember him telling me was that as good as the program is people just don't take the time to find out about it and that's really a shame! Who couldn't use a new heating system for their home if they qualify for it?

With all the talk about grant funding being cut there are still programs out there to help with one's heating bill. Although these kinds of programs are not available to everyone they are available to those who are low-incomed and/or have a medical condition.

You should also check with your local utility company to see if they have any programs available to help assist you with your heating bill.

There are also organizations that are non-government affiliated that have programs that provide financial assistance to help with one's heating bill. One organization that I know of provided a $100 check paid to the person's utility company and all it took was a phone call and a faxed copy of the utility bill to them. The utility company received the check within a week!

To find out more information about heating bill-related grant/financial programs just visit my Grants Related page at:


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ill. gunman felt cheated over invention

You can read the full story by going to:

Ill. Gunman Felt Cheated Over Invention!

It's not a very pleasant story and it doesn't go into detail about why the guy felt cheated about his invention. I won't go into details as far as what his invention was but you can read the news article by clicking the link above.

The reason why I posted the link here is because inventors feel a real need to keep their inventions private until they find an investor or a grant for it. They worry about their idea being stolen and/or about being short changed as far as receiving ample compensation for their invention. The whole process of getting your invention made is not a simple one and it is better that you plan for it well in the beginning so that you know exactly what it is that you want to achieve with your invention - and that includes financially as well. Although people think that its a waste of time or they simply don't want to do it - one should make a business plan - even if its for an invention and not a business.

You should plan out exactly what it is you want to achieve with your invention, the basic specifics of your invention and it is very important that you read over any contract or agreement that has to do with your invention! Get your invention patented! If you can't afford to get it patented then I suggest that you find a way simply because once your invention is patented there is an official record of it and an official record of you being the one that invented it!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Scholarship For White Students Only?????????

BOSTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) -- A Boston University student group is offering a scholarship for white students to protest financial aid programs in the United States that select by ethnic background, university officials said on Tuesday.The group, Boston University College Republicans, told campus publications the $250 Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship was intended as a statement and they had raised funds privately for the award, which does not have the backing of the university."We think giving out a scholarship based on any race is crazy," Joe Mroszczyk, president of the group, told the college's BU Today Web site.Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore said he believed the move was misguided."Our goal is to try to increase diversity on the campus, and that usually means diversity from an ethnic and racial standpoint," Elmore said. "This scholarship does not further that goal."U.S. colleges commonly use financial aid packages, which include grants and loans, to attract students with diverse characteristics, from sporting abilities to ethnic backgrounds.Tuition at the private Boston University, which has more than 31,000 students, costs $33,330 per year, and with room and board a student's expenses can top $44,000.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The "Working-at-home" opportunities are growing.....

For the last 2 hours I have been at websites that talk about the different work-at-home opportunities that are out there.

Did you know that there are openings for professional bloggers? One job post that has been filled was for a blogger needed to post on a blog for one of the tv shows on the Fox Network! And they are offering a salary!

There is another website that lets you earn money by writing reviews on almost any subject out there - there is a special interest on writing reviews about places in your own local area.

You can also earn money by playing games online!

Unfortunately the sites that I have seen don't offer a lot in the way of payment. Some you het paid by how popular your posts, articles or reviews are - but they are offering to pay you. And you may even be able to find that hidden gem that will pay you more!