If you want to start winning grants, you need to play bigger. I learned some valuable lessons this week, and I want to share them with you. Read on if you want to win a grant. Time to implement.
- My absolute goldmine worthy tips
- Give before taking from politicians
- Meet the bureaucrats most of you have never heard of: Trade Commissioners
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Do you want to win a grant?
In this post, I am going to share with you my top grant-writing secrets.
Please do not take what I am about to say as bragging. I’m not.
But in the past 18 months, we have won a number of important grants:
- Alberta Innovates r&D Associates
- Export Support Fund
- And a few others
I truly want you to win grants. So many grants exist; I’m giving you my best tips this week.
This post is rooted in my “why,” which is clear and strong:
“HELP BUSINESSES GROW, EXPAND, AND CREATE JOBS. WE HELP KEEP CUPBOARDS AND FRIDGES FILLED FOR MANY ALBERTA ENTREPRENEURS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES.”
My full why story is here if you want a deeper understanding of grants: https://albertabusinessgrants.ca/our-why/
These tips are grounded in this experience:
Everything I’ve learned from a first-class honours degree in political science.
Everything I learned during my master’s degree in political science.
And everything I’ve learned in the Ph.D program in political science at UBC (which I left to start my own business; I’ll do a blog on that someday, but it was one of the best (and first real) decisions of my life.
Four years studying money at the Alberta Legislature.
Here is how I teach my clients to win grants:
They are just normal people given a tremendous responsibility.
They need your expertise (e.g. environment, agriculture, technology).
They need advisors.
They NEED YOU!
Here is your take away: become a trusted advisor to politicians.
Don’t ask for money. Don’t talk about grants.
Give. Just give.
Ask them how you can help. Ask what you can do for them.
TAKE AWAY: INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OR MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ALBERTA.
You do not need a degree in political science to meet your MP or MLA. You do not even need to know how government works.
If your MP or MLA is worth their salt, they will know about all the grant programs available to you. And if they don’t know the key grants, call me and I’ll tell you.
Here is a very sad but TRUE story.
I know a business that submitted a grant in Premier Notley’s riding. Instead of walking down the street and introducing themselves, building a relationship, and then inserting her testimonial into the application, they “worked hard on the grant application and submitted it.”
You know how this ends up: denied.
Read this sentence loud and proud: When the Premier endorses your grant application, you are daring the grant agency to reject you.
Politicians are responsible for taxpayer’s money, but the bureaucrats implement all the grant programs.
You need to know which bureaucrats are key to winning a grant.
Here is an example.
One of my clients is exporting around the world.
Who are the key bureaucrats? Trade commissioners!
If you are exporting, you need to build a key relationship with your local trade commissioner. They can send an email to their colleagues at the CanExport Grant program.
Do you see what I’m doing here?
Take away: You need to build a grant key stakeholder plan. You need to line up the key stakeholders and schedule time to meet them.
You don’t want to just submit a grant and cross your fingers! That is crazy risky. So many people do that and absolutely bomb and never want to touch grants again.
Here is a great story.
Now what I’m about to tell you is absolute ELITE NINJA grant writing. ELITE LEVEL!!
One of my clients won an export grant.
Now most people would be happy, but not this grant writer.
I want my clients to win that grant every year. Year after year.
GRANT TIP: YOU CAN GET MANY GRANTS YEAR AFTER YEAR. THE SAME GRANT!
When the president of the company was in this country, I gave him one task:
SEND A POSTCARD TO THE TRADE COMMISSIONER FROM THE COUNTRY YOU WON THE GRANT FOR!
Can you imagine?
What is the trade commissioner going to do with such a thoughtful gesture.
Wait for it: PUT IT ON THEIR OFFICE WALL!!!!!!
You (the client) are making them (the bureaucrat) feel like a ROCK STAR.
That is how you win people. That is how you win grants.
GRANT TIP: It’s all about the relationships!
You got time for one more TIP OF THE YEAR?
You’re not even going to believe what I’m about to tell you, but it’s true. You can call my clients and ask, but here it is.
Sit down for this one. Don’t have coffee in your mouth when you read this next sentence because you will spit it out on your desk.
WHEN YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH POLITICIANS AND BUREAUCRATS, THEY WILL CALL YOU AND GIVE YOU A HEADS UP WHEN NEW GRANT PROGRAMS ARE COMING OUT!
That’s crazy because grants are FIRST COME FIRST SERVE.
And here you are being a good entrepreneur with your head down working hard. Meanwhile your colleague or competition is about to catch the same flight as you, except they are paying half price on hotels, half price on the air fare, half on taxis, half on meals.
Isn’t it time to stop the madness and start winning grants? You pay taxes don’t you?
This month (March) I’m finishing up two major grant projects, which means my team and I will have some bandwidth in April to take on a new client or two. April is the beginning of the government fiscal year, and grants are flush and ready to fund.
If you are a company in agriculture, technology, or environment, or ideally two of these three sectors, you can fill out an application here: https://albertabusinessgrants.ca/needs-assessment.
Only two maximum will be accepted.
Don’t let that stop the rest of you from pursing grants. Download our three-step to winning a pdf grant here:
Have a great week.