Grants for Small Business Guidebook
Tips on writing small business grants

We’ve put together our top tips on writing small business grants so you can apply these and enhance your applications. 

In our years of helping small businesses in Canada secure grant funding, we’ve picked up a thing or two. We’ve put together our top tips on writing small business grants so you can apply these and enhance your applications. 

1. Plan ahead

One of the most important (and sometimes most difficult) things to do to secure grant funding is plan ahead. Whether you’re planning the next year of grant opportunities, or you’re planning a project for a specific grant, having a logical timeline with set goals will make the writing process easier. 

2. Know your limits

There may be dozens of grants that your small business could apply for at any given time, but that doesn’t mean you should. Grants are a lot of administrative work, so it’s important to take on only what you can realistically manage. Oversubscribing yourself will lead to frustration and could impact your reputation with the programs. 

3. Visualize success

If you envision the success of the project before you start writing, it will help you get a sense of what the outcomes are. Grant programs want to know the impact that the funding will have, so having tangible numbers and visualizing success will help you in this process. 

4. Use the grant resources

Ultimately, grant programs want to see you succeed. To help you, programs have resources available through their website. This could be webinars, training sessions, information sessions, contacts, Q&As, and more. The best way to find these resources is by visiting the program websites and subscribing to their newsletters. 

5. Look at the program’s mandate

Your grant proposal should always have a purpose. The best way to align your proposal with what the program’s looking for is to look at its mandate. Each program has a purpose with goals, whether it be to provide job opportunities for youth, training opportunities for undereducated workers, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, every program has a mandate. Aligning your proposal with the purpose of the program will help make your application stand out. 

6. Know your narrative

A grant application can be considered a short story about your business and your project. In writing your application, you should maintain a consistent narrative. This will help your application flow and will make it easier for the adjudicator to read. If you’re struggling to find what your narrative is, go back to where your business started, your goals, and how this project, or grant, will contribute to this. 

7. Don’t over-apply

A new program just launched and it is offering $1,000,000 for small businesses; QUICK, APPLY! APPLY!!

Wait a second. 

Regardless of the funding you could receive, you always need to be realistic. Grant programs are fully aware of what things cost, so asking for the maximum amount simply because it’s there isn’t going to help your application. Take the time to put together a realistic proposal with a budget that is realistic, and you’re more likely to get approved. 

8. Our best friend: the Applicant Guide

The ‘Applicant Guide’ has been mentioned throughout this guidebook in various circumstances. That’s because it’s the best resource to learn everything you need to know to prepare an application. Our best advice is to have the Applicant Guide open beside you through every step of the application process. 

9. Connect with the program

There’s a certain stigma that grant programs are untouchable and elusive. On the contrary! Grant programs often encourage applicants to reach out and connect with them. For larger grants with complicated applications, you’re encouraged to meet with a program representative and go over your project proposal. In some cases, it may be required to meet with the program before you apply to vet for eligibility. 

10. Ask for help

If you find yourself lost in the chaos that is navigating small business grants, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Fill out our Grant Calculator to get connected with one of our Grant Angels. 

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