Grants for Small Business Guidebook
What happens if my grant application is denied?

This chapter will cover a few key takeaways to keep in mind if you are denied funding.


  • You can follow up with the program to get an idea as to why your application was rejected.
  • A rejection does not mean your efforts to secure funding are over.
  • Getting denied can be an excellent learning experience.
  • Working with Granted ensures your application is resubmitted ASAP so you can get approved for funding.

Sometimes, even after you put in all the hard work, things don’t work out. With competitive government programs, applications are denied daily. However, it is important to remember that getting a “no” does not mean your application is dead in the water. 

This chapter will cover a few key takeaways to keep in mind if you are denied funding. We will discuss the positive learning experiences that come with a rejection but will focus on how you might be able to turn a rejection into an approval. 

Following up

Most federal and provincial grant programs are adjudicated by dozens of public officers who will individually make decisions on your application. While adjudicators are given extensive criteria to look for when judging applications, judgment can sometimes be inconsistent because each officer is different. 

For this reason, it is important to follow up with the program if you get denied. The best way to do this is to send an email asking for justification for the denial. When in correspondence, it is best practice to remain understanding of the adjudication committee and respectful for the process. Keeping in good standing with the program is critical to turning an application around. 

No isn’t the end 

We cannot overstate the importance of remembering that just because you have been denied approval does not mean your project is over. For grant programs that accept applications on a rolling basis, simply resubmitting your application is the best way to turn things around. This is why it is key to get in touch with the program and ask for clarification on why your initial application was not approved. In most cases, you will be able to schedule a call with a public official who can go over your application and provide in detail what the program didn’t like. This meeting should give you all the necessary information to adjust your project for resubmission. 

Learning Experience

While our goal is to get approved for all grants, we consider any rejection to be an invaluable learning experience. Getting denied gives an applicant the opportunity to learn more about what the program is looking for. Follow up meetings with the granting program offer insight into the language and rationale that gets applications approved and gives a company the opportunity to provide exactly what the program is looking for on all future applications–a factor that first-time-successful applicants might be blind to. 

When submitting an application, you should always save a copy of the draft. Not only does this allow you to keep your project in mind during the review process, but it becomes key in the event that the application is denied. If you are rejected, by no means should you throw out your project. It is most likely that only a few components need to be changed to fit the program’s parameters. Therefore, simply making adjustments on your original application will be much more effective and efficient when resubmitting to the program. 

Granted and Rejection

It is our mission to secure grant funding for clients, even if an application is denied. In the event that an application is rejected, we make it a priority to resubmit for our clients, ensuring that it is revised appropriately and will receive approval on the second look.

Next Chapter – Can I get help securing grants?

You’ve seen that applying for grants is no easy task, and you may be overwhelmed by the process. Luckily for you, there are some great resources for help. 

Calculate your potential grant funding

Curious about how much grant funding your company can get?