Grants for Food and Beverage Guidebook
When is the best time to apply for a Food & Beverage grant?

When should you apply for a grant for your Food & Beverage business? This may sound counterintuitive, but ideally not when you need the funding. 


  • The best time to apply for a grant is when you don’t really need it.
  • Plan ahead to identify funding opportunities that align with your business goals. 
  • Stay informed by subscribing to funder newsletters so that you aren’t caught off by changes to program deadlines or rules.

When should you apply for a grant for your Food & Beverage business? This may sound counterintuitive, but ideally not when you need the funding. 

While grant funding can certainly help small businesses operate and even grow, the best time to apply for grants is when you don’t really need them. Plan ahead, and identify projects and your hiring timeline with the assumption that you won’t have the support of government funding. Then, you can identify funding opportunities that are in line with your business strategy and goals. 

If you’re looking to grow your team, consider whether or not you need the grant to support the hire. This will influence your hiring process as some roles (and some candidates) are more grantable than others. If you absolutely need the grant to grow your team, be sure to communicate that to your candidates in the event that you don’t receive funding. 

We don’t recommend starting a new business initiative because you’re hoping for an approval that hasn’t yet arrived. Remember, nothing is guaranteed until you sign your funding agreement, and even then it can take longer than you think to see the money come through. To get a better idea of how timing plays into grant strategy, let’s tackle some common misconceptions about Food & Beverage grants. 

Misconception 1: Grants are available all the time

While business loans can be applied for at any time, grants don’t work in quite the same way. There may be grants open at any point in time, however, the specific grant you need probably isn’t available year-round. Most grants have application deadlines, and we’ve learned from experience that these deadlines change (and they change often!). It’s not uncommon for a program to exhaust all funding before the deadline, and sometimes, programs receive a top-up that allows them to extend their application window. Food & Beverage grants are particularly seasonal. Grant programs that are catered to food businesses are familiar with the busiest times of year in the industry, and they’ll plan their intakes with this in mind. Stay informed by subscribing to funder newsletters, and checking program websites regularly for updates. 

Misconception 2: Grants do not change

Business owners are often surprised to find that the rules for grant programs can change, but believe us, it happens all the time. Grantors are constantly adjusting their targets, processes, and evaluation criteria, and this can mean new rules for each intake. This is why you never want to dive into a grant application without reviewing the program documents. For Food & Beverage grants, we often see changes in eligibility criteria. You don’t want to waste time building an application around a project that turns out to be ineligible, and what was eligible last time might not be eligible this time! 

Misconception 3: It takes a long time to get grant funding

If you’re submitting a major R&D or market expansion grant, it could take months to find out if you’ll get the money, but not all grants have such lengthy turnaround times. Some hiring grants can be processed in just a few days, as long as you’ve filled in the application form correctly and provided the necessary documents. Be prepared for some post-approval paperwork (ie: expense claims), but know that in some cases, the funds could start flowing relatively quickly. 

Ultimately, the “best time” to apply for Food & Beverage grants will depend on funding availability and your own business goals. To maximise your success with grants, you need a long-term business plan that helps you identify relevant opportunities when they arise. 

Next Chapter – Where can I get a list of Food & Beverage grants?

Have you considered what your grant search strategy is? How effective is it? Are you looking in the right places?

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