If you would like to start a food business, one way to help fund the venture is to seek out and apply for a grant specifically intended for that purpose. Since you will be competing against others applying for the same grant, it is important to prepare a complete and professional-looking grant request to increase your chances of winning the grant funds. If your food business is unique and fills a niche, such as a food business catering to diabetic consumers, there may be grant funding available from organizations that fund diabetic programs. While the obvious grant sources are those for generic small businesses, look for grant funds from sources that relate to your niche.
Locate an available grant specifically for starting a food business. Government entities, associations and non-profit organizations sponsor available grants on a wide array of topics. Some grants are specifically intended for individuals, and others are intended for organizations, such as museums or schools. Available federal grants are now listed at the website sponsored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (see link in Resources). Detailed instructions for the application process are also included on the federal website.
Get a mentor. If you’ve never applied for a grant before, find a mentor to help you through the grant-writing process. You might be surprised at the people you know who have grant-writing experience. Individuals active with non-profit organizations and the education system would be the first to approach.
Take a course at the community college on grant writing. This will help you improve your grant-writing skills, and give you a better chance of winning the grant by preparing a professional and complete application.
Begin writing your grant. This is your request for the grant funds that are being offered. Do not apply for a grant that is not intended for starting a food business. The exception would be a grant geared towards your general niche.
Include a title page in your grant and abstract, to give a brief summary of what you are requesting.
Include an introduction and personal description in your grant, to introduce who you are and your prior experience as it relates to the food business you are trying to fund.
Include a review, project narrative and personal description in the grant application, which will outline your request. In this section, explain your food-business concept and why it is unique or worthy.
Include a budget and budget justification in your grant request, to explain how much money you are requesting and why that amount is justified. This will be the funds needed to start the food business, and you should include data to substantiate your figures.
Include a time-frame in your grant request that outlines how long the project will take to get up and running. Calculate the time needed for each step in implementing your project, such as application times with the health department or arranging a location suitable for your food business.
Read the application guideline for the specific grant you are applying. Answer all of the questions and provide all requested information.