What are grants?
Grants are funds made available for a specific project. Obtaining a grant often requires some level of compliance and reporting. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal to a potential funder which could mostly be an organization or individual.
One can send a proposal either based on the applicant’s own initiative or in response to a request for proposal from the potential funder.
Difference between a grant and a loan
The major difference between a grant and a loan is repayment. When you are given a loan, it is required that you pay back the money you borrow, however, this is not the case with a grant. A grant is fundamentally a gift which does not require repayment.
This is the reason why obtaining a grant is not a walk in the park. It requires commitment and understanding the process of obtaining a grant. This article provides you with information on grant opportunities available in different sectors and how you can access them.
Grants may be awarded by the government departments, private organizations, non-profits, individuals etc. Grants available across a wide range of sectors such as:
Journalism: Foreign agencies and bodies offer grants to journalists.
Human right advocacy: There are grants available to activists interested in tackling human rights issues. For example, the World Bank Group offers grants to anyone interested in tackling issues such as gender inequality through access to digital technology in developing countries.
Education: Grants are available to educators interested in researching literacy in the Nigerian context.
Popular Grants available in Nigeria include:
This is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with Fate foundations here in Nigeria. The orange corner supports 20 innovative business ideas which cut across key industries such as Agriculture, Education, Circular Economy, Creative and Health with the Orange Corners Innovative Fund every 6 months.
Tony Elumelu foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in by Tony O. Elumelu when he set aside $100 million few years ago for 10,000 African entrepreneurs. The foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme offers the following:
- Business Training
- $5,000 non-refundable seed capital
- Global Networking Opportunities
Criteria to be met in order to apply for the Tony Elumelu grant include:
- Being a start-up African entrepreneurs based in Africa
- Having a business at the idea stage or an innovative businesses that has been in existence for less than 3 years
- Having a business in any sector
- The applicant’s business must have potential to create jobs and revenue on the continent
The YouWin is an innovative business plan aimed at encouraging entrepreneurs and supporting them in developing and executing business ideas.
Criteria for eligibility for Youwin
- Applicant must be a Nigerian citizen aged between 18 – 45 years
- Have post-secondary school qualification
- Have a proposed business idea that will operate in Nigeria
- Applicant must employ Nigerians in his/her business
- Applicant must have a proof of identity such as International passport/Drivers License/National ID/Voters card required)
- The proposed business must not involve any activity in contradiction with the Nigerian constitution
- Applicant must prepare an innovative business concept summary
The general criterion for accessing grant funds is to have a business. It is rare for organizations to fund business ideas because ideas are not yet tested.
You must have a business and ensure that it is providing value and solution to a need in society
You must also have a bankable and viable business plan.
You must have good documentation and book-keeping in order to validate their budgets and expenditures
How to Write a Grant Proposal
You must first understand that writing a grant proposal requires commitment. Many of the funders already require that one has set up a business. Your business must meet a specific need in the community where it is founded. You must first describe the specific problem or area of interest. The need you are set to tackle might be one that needs to improved or changed. It is essential you have conducted proper research on the need you are set to meet so you will not be stuck. You must understand that at this stage, your goal is to end up with a well-conceived proposal that properly spells out a strategy to address the problem.
It is only if the funder is convinced that your business is worthy and has a positive influence on the society that your proposal will receive funding.
Describe what you hope to achieve
After describing the problem, you should also describe what you hope to achieve with your solutions.
Write in details the desired outcome of your proposed project, how you expect situations to improve or change.
Identify the key outcomes
When describing the expected outcomes of your project, ensure you list out those that are realistic and achievable. Be honest in your expectations. It is better not to exaggerate and meet up with your goals than to set up unrealistic expectations and fail.
Measure and record the result of your work
When writing a proposal, it is important you document your past records and achievements. You must also include the measurements you want to take currently and how you expect to achieve them.
Get expert opinions
There are experts in this field who will offer you professional advice concerning your business. These advices would include: Best strategies to take in achieving your goal and details to include in your proposal so as to get the grant.
Research what others have done
When writing your proposal, ensure you conduct research on other organizations who have attempted and even implemented strategies and projects similar to that which you are about to do. Learn from their successes, failures and shortcomings.
Involve all stakeholders
Stakeholders in your business include anyone who is affected by your project or who has an interest in it.
Get “Buy-In” from Stakeholders
It is important that stakeholders in your business agree on the solutions, strategies and projects you plan to embark on. This is often referred to as a buying in. When stakeholders support a project, they can show their support through letters of commitment which shows that the individual or organization agrees with your plans. These letters of commitment can serve as endorsements and further enhance the worthiness of your grant proposal.
Clearly Describe Your Solution
Clearly describe the solution you proffer to the problem. Describe what will be done, and by whom?
A clear description of how you plan to achieve your desired outcomes, with a timeline and other detailed work plan helps validate your work. This can be a great help in obtaining a grant.