Welcome to Alberta Business Grants!


  • A rare glimpse how the best of the best lead
  • Copy them to become greater
  • Why grants and everything else seems to be attracted to the best

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In my role as a grant writer, I’ve had unique access to some of our province’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders.

I’ve worked with founders of oil companies, CEOs of the most successful agricultural businesses in Alberta, Innovation of the Year winners, and even a Entrepreneur of the Year winner. They are simply exceptional leaders, especially in business but also in life.

I’m not sure if it’s the American Thanksgiving, but this week I’m filled with immense gratitude for these clients and the privilege it is to serve them.

As a gift to my readers, I want to share characteristics that make them successful.

My hope is that you will use this information to create new exciting products, invent technologies that reduce GHG emissions, produce food that is safe and more sustainable, or improve our water system.

Here is a glimpse inside the offices of the best business leaders.

1. Continuous learning

In the last two weeks alone, I have worked with two entrepreneurs who have literally at one point in their career been recognized as the top entrepreneurs in Canada.

Both men far past the age of college years referenced continuing education. And they just don’t say it. One of these entrepreneurs was taking a two-day course. The other (well into his “retirement” years) mentioned, “you never stop learning.”

I’m amazed that these men as they age are still so incredibly sharp. Their minds are as sharp as ever. And they have already made “it.” They have built multi million-dollar businesses. Here they are at a stage in their life when most people shut down continuing to learn.

2. Unusual clarity

These business leaders are extremely clear. Unusually clear. Awkwardly clear. They are not afraid to get right down into the details of the contract. Whether it’s talking about money or terms. They are bold. They encourage you to ask.

3. Forgiving to good staff

In the grant business, we deal with literally hundreds of details with multiple stakeholders. I’ve seen a couple of times where an employee made a decision that ultimately didn’t serve the business.

But when these entrepreneurs know the employee is committed to the organization, the leaders are unusually forgiving and accommodating. They don’t point blame at them. They say, “we’ll get them next time.”

4. Character

The best have remarkable character

Entrepreneurs sometime have bad reputations. The media portray them as the “greedy 1%” – like it’s a bad club to be in. But these leaders are anything but greedy. They are caring and compassionate – to the people who earn it.

I remember in my corporate days, people say things like you have to step over people to get to the top. But the best entrepreneurs I see have remarkable character.

5. They make decisions

What separates the best is that they are clear on their decisions. They are decisive. They weigh the options and they act.

Even when the outcome might be a fail. They just act. No dithering. No waiting.

Others wait months and months and months and months to make the smallest decisions. Fearful that they might make a bad decision.

Great business leaders look at the decision, mull it over, then they decide.

6. They distinguish between uncertainty and risk

Most successful entrepreneurs that I work with are quite risk adverse, which seems bizarre. For example, all you usually hear is that “starting a business is risk.” Yet all I see is them taking steps to mitigate risk. On the other hand, the are comfortable with uncertainty. That subtle difference is significant.

7. The best leaders respect integrity above everything else

If you say you’ll call at 4pm, call at 4pm. If you say the paper will be there at 5pm, get it there. And if you can’t make the deadline, you communicate in advance.

One of these remarkable entrepreneurs said that integrity is such a rare thing in business these days. When they spot it, they want to align themselves with it.

8. They want a grant, but they are going to do the job with or without it

The best entrepreneurs and business leaders are driven by something much more than money. They are driven by a need to improve the environment or create an amazing product.

Grant agency staff want to align with people who want to improve the environment, create jobs, and lower heat bills for people.

The remarkable entrepreneurs never put grants first. Their vision and mission are always first. The mission drives them to mortgage their house and go all in. It’s just awesome. The grant agency folks love it too.

9. Givers

The best leaders are givers. I’ll give you an example. I went with one of these clients after a conference to get a meal. I expected and insisted on paying. Nope. He pays. I’m the vendor and he still pays.

I’m like wow. Givers. They just give. They want people to do well. They give you help and testimonials when you ask.

10. They really good a relationships, but they are particular about who they let in. If you’re not striving for excellence, you might as well forget getting close to them.

Have a great day!

ps. join our grant writing seminar waitlist here: https://albertabusinessgrants.ca/grant-writing/