Welcome to Alberta Business Grants!
CHRISTMAS GRANT STRATEGY
- From the hockey rink to a million bucks
- Secrets from a million-dollar grant meeting
- Why Christmas is a great time to get started in grants
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On most Friday evenings I play recreational hockey. One night we were sitting around the dressing room and talking. One of the guys asked me, “hey what do you do?”
I told him that I was a grant writer. “I find businesses government grants and write their applications.”
“Seriously,” he asked.
As an aside, this person had not played hockey in years and wow did he improve quickly. If you’ve been away from the rink for years, isn’t it time you come back to the rink?
UPDATE 2 YEARS LATER – this same person later took my seminar and submitted a huge agricultural grant. Just waiting for the result!
We then met later for coffee with a non-profit organization he had been affiliated with.
They needed a new building, and it was going to cost a couple million to build.
And for that you see the Community Facility Enhancement Program Large Funding Stream ($1 million with matching funds required).
I then took them through our 15 Steps to winning your grant meeting.
The group went off to visit the grant agency.
In that meeting, they learned an important thing about grants.
The bureaucrats review all the applications. They make sure all the boxes are checked, then they make two lists: Recommend and Don’t Recommend.
Now some of you are reading this blog thinking, “I would sure want to be on the recommend list.” But that is not necessarily the case.
We will come back to this meeting in a moment, but here is something I learned on a webinar a few months ago. As the guest expert on how to win a grant, I was being interviewed on how to prepare strong applications. At the end of the interview, I had the opportunity to ask the grant agency questions. Here is the answer that raised the most eyebrows.
I asked, “If you receive a bad application from someone you know and like, are you more likely to approve that application over a great application from someone you don’t know?”
He paused and smirked.
“You wouldn’t believe some the applications we approve,” he said. “But someone on the committee will pipe up and say, ‘oh that is so and so.’ And then it’s approved.”
That key piece of advice is essential if you want to be a grant-winning machine.
Don’t confuse what I’m saying. I’m not telling you to be a life-sucking grant-hungry leech.
I want you to be a trusted advisor.
Remember grant agency staff are bureaucrats, they are not industry experts. You are the expert.
Your job is to help the bureaucrats do his or her job better.
BE A GIVER NOT A TAKER.
Another aside: I learned at a networking event this week that certain individuals are “always at the grant well.” Don’t be one of them. Be cool.
Now let us go back to the two grant lists: one list is “recommended” and the other is “don’t recommend.”
At this $1 million grant meeting, here is what we learned.
THE MINISTER WILL CHOOSE GRANT RECIPIENTS FROM THE NON-RECOMMENDED LIST.
And I believe he or she should!
Here is why: we are a democracy. We elect people to represent our interests. If we don’t like what the politicians are doing, we kick the bums out. If you know of a better form of government, please let me know.
What does that mean for you? It means two things: check your mail and see the opportunities in December.
Your locally elected officials are holding open housing in December, so you should go!
Now I’m going to share with you another way to get to know politicians.
During the summer months, politicians are always putting on pancake breakfasts or hosting golf tournaments. If you go on to any political party’s website, they have an “events” tab.
Here is the provincial NDP event page: http://www.albertandp.ca/events
As you can see on December 12, 2017, MLA Deron Bilous is in Red Deer for a $100 ticket “Tapas & Trade at Tribe featuring Deron Bilous.”
He oversees the Export Support Fund, which has a grant for companies looking to grow worldwide.
Here is how the NDP promote the event:
Come meet MLA Deron Bilous and your MLA Barb Miller to talk trade and innovation! Enjoy a delectable assortment of tapas-style treats, and your choice of any of the inspired drink pairings from the bar at one of Central Alberta’s hottest new restaurants, Tribe! Ticket includes food, one complimentary drink, and a generous tax receipt! Don’t miss this intimate networking opportunity!
Does “intimate networking opportunity” sound like an opportunity to meet the guy in charge of the grant you want?
Relationships are important.
The government is trying to help grow our innovation sector. They need entrepreneurs to be aware of their programs. And it doesn’t hurt if they know, trust, and like you.
A few weeks ago at SPARK I met the Export Fund Support folks. They indicated money is available to help your business grow.
I hope with these tips encourage you to apply and take your business to the next level.