Ultimately, the best time to apply for a grant is when you don’t need one. Whether it’s hiring, training, or market expansion, it’s important to plan ahead and apply for a grant when it aligns with your business needs.
Ultimately, the best time to apply for a grant is when you don’t need one. Whether it’s hiring, training, or market expansion, it’s important to plan ahead and apply for a grant when it aligns with your business needs. If you wait until you absolutely need one, you risk putting yourself and your business in a tough position.
To better understand timing strategy, let’s tackle a few misconceptions about the best time to apply for small business grants.
Grants do not last forever. In fact, if the funding is readily available and there are many applicants, it can disappear in just a few days. This is why it’s important to know what opportunities are coming so you’re ready with an application. Some grants even have intakes and only open a few times per year, making it more important to plan ahead. This is more common with student hiring grants given the semester schedule, and some niche market expansion grants may only launch for a year or two.
This is a huge misconception that must be addressed. We find that most business owners are surprised by this. Many people expect that after a grant launches, the closing date is set at a later date, or that if there’s no close date, the grant will be open indefinitely. Grant programs have set budgets that could change after the program’s launch; budgets may get cut after the first round, or they could be extended to allow more applicants to get funded. Even if the intake dates are announced, they can change based on the agency in charge, and the demand for the grant. If there are 100 spots available and they receive 1,000 applications, it’s likely to close earlier than anticipated. Eligibility requirements can also change after a grant is launched. This is more common for legacy grants that run for years as they are continuously tweaking their program details and mandates. This means you could be eligible one year, and ineligible the next.
Many business owners think that the process of getting grants approved is a lengthy one. This is not always the case and varies depending on the grant type. If you’ve put forward a strong application that includes all the required information and documents, the approval process can take only a few business days. It’s important to know that although you may be approved quickly, there is a lot of paperwork to be processed before the funds are disbursed. This could include additional deadlines and administrative requirements. Failure to adhere to these can affect the receipt of your grant funding post-approval, so be wary of these requirements.
There is no “best” time to apply for small business grants because it completely depends on your business stage, and what your goals are. To assess when your business would benefit most from government funding, you need to map out your growth plan for the year and identify at which points grant funding can support your goals.
For small business owners, it can be dizzying to look for grants one by one. To support small businesses, the government of Canada has resources available to consolidate the federal grant programs.