Grants for Food and Beverage Guidebook
What does the Food & Beverage grant process look like?

This chapter outlines each of the fundamental stages of any grant life cycle so that you know what to expect. This is your chance to familiarize yourself with the whole process!


  • There are 6 phases to a grant life-cycle in the Food & Beverage space: preparation, submission, approval, post-approval, and post-project.
  • Draw on the applicant guide as a source of key information and regulations associated with your project.
  • Most grants require you to sign a funding agreement that outlines the terms of your project.
  • Keep all files associated with your project for 3 years after the grant is finished, in the event of an audit. 

Every type of grant program has several stages. Whether you are applying for $7,000 or $700,000, it’s important to follow each stage closely and not skip any steps. However, depending on the type of grant and the program you are applying to, the pace at which you go through each of these stages will vary. This chapter outlines each of the fundamental stages of any grant life cycle so that you know what to expect. This is your chance to familiarize yourself with the whole process!


As you may already understand, preparation and organization when applying for any grant are absolutely key. Stay on the lookout for the opening dates of the grant(s) you want to apply for and take notes of all the information you will need to complete the application. Being prepared, knowing what you are in for, and keeping track of all important dates is the best way to ensure that the submission process goes smoothly and without stress. We all know what it’s like to leave homework until the last minute. Grants are a big deal and can be life-altering for a small business; don’t let procrastination get the best of you!


Once you have read the applicant guide and prepared all the necessary documentation, you will be ready to submit your application. Based on how much we emphasize preparation and organization when applying for any type of funding, this stage should be easy, taking no more than 10 or 15 minutes. However, it’s important to note that different programs have different submission processes, and some are more complicated than others. Keep in mind that if you submit at the last moment, there might be hundreds of other applicants looking to do the same. We’ve seen submission portals crash from traffic overflow right before a deadline. Don’t be a victim of this; submit as early as possible.

Based on the program and grant type, there are different submission processes. Many programs will have submission portals attached to their websites. Others will ask that you email your application and all required documents to a listed contact address. When submitting an application, make sure your documents are formatted in the file types and nomenclature they are asking for. If you aren’t sure of the proper formatting, ask the program! You don’t want your application to be thrown out because you mislabelled your documents. 


Now that you have submitted your application, the waiting begins. Funding officials will look over your documents and determine whether you will receive funding. However, waiting for approval doesn’t always mean that you have to wait to start your project. In any applicant guide, there will be clear instructions and regulations about when you can begin project-related expenses relative to the submission date of your application. For example, some market expansion programs can take up to six months to provide a decision for an applicant. For this reason, many will allow you to start your project before you receive a funding agreement or decision on your application. However, others are not as flexible. If you’re ever trying to find this information in the applicant guide, be on the lookout for the word ‘retroactive’. This is the term that refers to whether or not you can start your project before you receive a funding decision. 

Hiring and training grants for Food & Beverage programs often take much less time to be adjudicated. These also tend to be smaller projects that require basic expense reports. For this reason, both of these types tend to stipulate that funding can only be claimed for an employee or training program after the date a program offers approval. Although, we have also seen cases where a hiring grant program allows you to claim retroactively for hours worked prior to the funding approval date. 

So how long can you expect to wait for a decision? Well, that depends. Here are some estimates for each type of Food & Beverage grants:

  • Hiring grants: ~2 weeks
  • Training grants: Up to 3 months
  • Market expansion grants: 3-6+ months
  • R&D grants: 3-6+ months 


Congrats! Your hard work has paid off and you’ve been approved for funding. But what does approval look like and what happens next? In most cases, you will receive an approval letter in your email inbox. Note that we have had clients’ approvals go to their spam folder, so make sure to check your entire inbox regularly if you’re expecting a funding decision. 

The next steps will come in your funding agreement, which is also likely to be emailed to you. This is a key document that outlines the terms and conditions of your project, and the responsibilities you have to the program as a funding recipient. Save a copy of this document! It will be helpful to reference throughout the project so that you know all the details you’ve signed up for and are not colouring outside the lines. 


Here comes the most exciting part of any project: spending the money!  Check out our other guides for a breakdown of what this looks like for different types of grants. Once again, the funding agreement will have all the details you need to spend properly. Be sure to refer to it if you are unsure about what types of activities your project covers. Remember to review the instructions in your applicant guide and funding agreement so that you know what information the program requires for expense claims and progress reports. At a minimum, the following will be required:

  • Hiring grants: Pay Stubs and timesheets
  • Training grants: Receipt for the training course and proof of payment
  • Market expansion grants: Completed claim form, receipts, and proof of payment
  • R&D grants: Rationale, receipts, and proof of payment

The funder may request additional documentation, so keep your funding agreement handy, and don’t be afraid to contact a program officer if you’re unsure about any of the requirements. Most programs will also demand a final report of some kind. For smaller grants, this could be a simple survey. Larger grants will require a more thorough summary of project outcomes. 


When operating in the Food & Beverage grant space, it’s important to think of a grant application process as cyclical, not linear. This means that the end of any project is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the impact of the funding received and think about where your business plans to go from here. How has securing this funding equipped you for other projects or grant programs? While there might be little to do after you have received your funding, keep in mind that a strong relationship with the program can go a long way to securing funding for future projects.

Funding programs also tend to conduct random audits of past recipients. The terms of the audit will be outlined in your funding agreement, which will also provide a list of all the documentation needed. Usually, the potential audit period is three years, meaning you should keep all information associated with your project for at least this long. We recommend keeping organized folders in cloud storage to ensure you don’t lose anything. As part of Granted’s service, we keep track of all the necessary information for audits for the allotted time. Even if you are no longer a client, we’ll help you navigate this process with ease!

Next Chapter – What can Food & Beverage grants NOT be used for?

Let’s have a look at the activities that different types of grants DO NOT cover.

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