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8 Tips for Exploring Grants for Startup Funding

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Securing the necessary funding for your startup is a critical component of its success. However, it can also be a significant challenge for many businesses. There are various grants and funding programs available to support startups across New Zealand. This article will guide you through seven tips for startup founders looking to tap into the grants available. 

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1. Understand the Grant Landscape

It is firstly vital to have a solid understanding of New Zealand’s grant landscape. You should familiarise yourself with the source of different funding opportunities. This might include:

Some prominent sources of grants in New Zealand include the following:

Funding SourceExplanation
Callaghan InnovationCallaghan Innovation is a government agency that provides a wide range of support for research and development. It is mainly focused on technology-based startups.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE)NZTE offers various programs and grants for businesses. NZTE is mainly focused on businesses looking to expand internationally.
Regional Economic Development AgenciesMany regions in New Zealand have regional-specific economic development agencies that provide grants and support to local startups. For example, the Central Economic Development Agency covers the Manawatu-Wanganui region.
Private sector businessesPrivate companies, incubators and accelerators also offer grants and funding opportunities. Networking is a valuable way of ensuring you are up to date with grants from private businesses.

2. Determine Eligibility Criteria

Each grant program comes with its own eligibility criteria. It is essential to carefully review these requirements for each grant you are considering and assess if it is appropriate for your startup. Common criteria include the following:

Business StageSome grants are designed for startups in their early stages, while others target established businesses.
Industry FocusCertain grants or agencies may be focused on startups operating in a specific industry, such as technology, agriculture or healthcare.
LocationSome grants are region-specific, requiring you to operate within a particular area to qualify for the grant.
Project ScopeGrants may have specific project requirements, such as research and development or market expansion.
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3. Craft a Strong Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan is an essential requirement for most grant applications. A business plan will typically include:

  • an executive summary, which is a brief overview of your business, including its mission;
  • market research, which is an in-depth analysis of your target market and competition;
  • financial projections, which include detailed financial forecasts of revenue, expenses and profit margins;
  • team overview, which includes information about your team’s qualifications and roles; and
  • marketing strategy, which outlines your approach to acquiring customers and growing your market share.

4. Align Grants to Your Goals

It is essential to select the grants that align with your startup’s specific goals. When choosing which grants are most suited to your business, you should consider your startup’s: 

  • funding needs to support its growth and development; 
  • long-term objectives, such as expanding into international markets or developing innovative products; and
  • timing of grant application deadlines compared to your startup’s growth timeline.

5. Develop a Strong Grant Proposal

Developing a strong and compelling grant proposal is essential to stand out from the competition. You should clearly articulate the problem your startup aims to solve and what your solution is to the issue.

You should also highlight:

  • the potential impact of your startup on your target market; and 
  • how you will achieve your goals in line with your budget. 

Importantly, you should show exactly how the grant funds would be used.

6. Network and Build Relationships

Networking is a crucial tool in the world of startup funding. Building relationships with potential grant providers can open doors to funding opportunities and support.

To help secure funding, you should consider:

  • joining industry events; 
  • going to conferences tailored to start-ups and the industry in which you operate; and 
  • participate in workshops or accelerator events tailored to helping start-ups with growth and investment.

7. Monitor Compliance

Most grants will be provided subject to certain ongoing reporting requirements to your grant provider. It is essential to stay across these and comply with all the requirements of your grant. Failing to comply with grant requirements can sometimes lead to you being required to return the funds. You must ensure that you have an effective system to monitor and report on your progress as outlined by the grant provider.

8. Seek Professional Assistance

Navigating the grant application process can be complex. As such, seeking professional assistance can be invaluable. You may wish to consider working with experienced grant writers who can help you prepare a solid application and ensure you meet all the requirements. Alternatively, engaging with business advisors or mentors with expertise in grant applications and startup funding can aid in the application process.

Key Takeaways

Securing the necessary funding for your startup is a critical component of its success. However, it can also be a significant challenge. Some essential tips for exploring grants to fund your startup include:

  • determining eligibility criteria;
  • crafting a strong business plan;
  • matching grants to your goals;
  • developing a strong grant proposal;
  • networking and building relationships; 
  • monitoring compliance; and
  • seeking professional assistance.

If you need assistance preparing a funding application for your startup, you can contact our experienced startup lawyers to assist as part of our LegalVision membership. You will have unlimited access to lawyers who can answer your questions and draft and review your documents for a low monthly fee. Call us today at 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

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