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Election Promises Translate Into Government Grants

Updated on January 15, 2017
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Nonqaba waka Msimang is a photographer, academic writer, freelance writer and food blogger. She writes about newcomers to North America.

U.S. President Barack Obama. The new administration might keep grants provided by his administration or eliminate them.
U.S. President Barack Obama. The new administration might keep grants provided by his administration or eliminate them. | Source
Donald Trump, who will be officially sworn in on 20 January 2017, as the U.S. president might not keep some of the Obama administration's grants.
Donald Trump, who will be officially sworn in on 20 January 2017, as the U.S. president might not keep some of the Obama administration's grants. | Source

Election Promises

The 2015 Canadian general election made Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party the government of the day. He made promises that have money attached to them.

Americans are going to the polls in November 2016. Candidates running for the White House are also dishing out promises, which will have a budget when the new President of the United States of America takes office.

Some of this money is straight government grants. Your organisation has an idea how it would help the government fulfill its election promises: increase reading and writing skills for newcomers or save rivers from pollution.

Government grants are available in any country but we are not aware of them because we don't read government budgets, or don't listen to what politicians say at all.

Corruption in Government Procurement

Corruption in how companies receive government tenders continue to receive bad press. What we read in newspapers and see on television give only one impression: that somebody should be bribed before getting government contracts to upgrade roads, maintain sewers or build an airport.

This perception continues despite the fact that the tendering process is more open now than it was 20 years ago. You can go online and see tenders in Russia or Saudi Arabia. Companies download application forms and go for it.

Despite all this transparency, corruption finds loopholes which makes it possible for members of the ruling party, the minister’s cousins or old boys’ friends to be awarded multi-million contracts.

This is a global phenomenon but corruption media reports tend to concentrate on developing countries, as if the problem is only in Africa or Asia.

This is how the Offices of the United States Attorneys defines corruption.

Corruption gives unfair advantages to those willing to break the law: public officials, their relatives and friends, and those who willingly pay bribes to gain public contracts and other government actions

Procurement Conditions

Although countries post government contracts on the internet, there are usually certain conditions that must be met. Governments may require for example that:

  • International companies must speak local languages in order to work in hospitals

  • Companies should have local partners, who will be able to maintain the infrastructure (bridges, electrical installations etc.) when foreign builders go back to Europe

  • International companies should form joint ventures with local companies.

Government Grants Are Not Tenders.

The government should do something about it. We hear that quite often when citizens are not happy about potholes or increase in the price of bread.

We tend to vote then forget all about the government. Special interest groups do not. They keep an eye on new politicians to see if they are implementing promises they made during the election.

It could be lowering property tax, providing more daycare centres or more immigration because of the dwindling supply of babies, that grow up to be consumers.

The government might be doing something good but we don’t read enough, so we seldom know that it has money that it gives to you, ordinary people, to help it improve your city, province/state or country.

Audit Your Skills

We tend to underestimate our skills. It is like not having a will, because you think you do not have anything you can leave behind for your family or friends.

A 17 year-old does not have any assets unless he is a trust fund baby. His Twitter, Facebook and YouTube followers do not count as assets, but you have certain skills and knowledge if you are over 30.

A good starting point would be to go online and find out the kinds of grants that are out there. Canadian provinces have all the grants under one roof for example, Grants Ontario.

What are you good at? Can you narrow it down to suit available grants?

  • Women Empowerment

  • How City Hall works

  • Conservation

  • Culture and Heritage
  • HIV/AIDS awareness for all races, not just one race

Dentistry as a Marketable Skill

Health Education is very wide. Take dentistry for example. You have been in business for 20 years and observed certain bad habits. You have an idea that can nip tooth decay in the bud, before it destroys gums.

Rural areas are mostly affected because they don’t have dentists at the mall or down Main Street. You can sell the advantages of early flossing to the provincial government and your proposal will have the following:

  • How you will travel across the province educating schools about flossing

  • How you will develop visual teaching aids that show kids how brushing teeth alone is not enough

  • How you will give statistics from your dental practice to show how kids that floss early have fewer dental problems

  • How you will work with the private sector to source floss samples, kids will take home for parents, who never use floss

  • How you will use local languages to put across the message about flossing for the future. Hire assistants who speak local languages and pay them well. It is criminal what consultants in some countries pay people who speak indigenous languages.

  • You will get some of the money back in tax breaks through your accountant.

This is one example to help you tailor your skills to any grant.

Filling In Grant Application Forms

Most government forms are online. Print them out, then study them carefully. Rushing is self-defeating because you will make many mistakes that will put off the person deciding who will be on the short list.

  • Use terms in the grant specification e.g. wildlife theft, cultural products etc. and demonstrate how your project will help save, let’s say, the rhino.

  • Type extra information that cannot be accommodated in the application form boxes. This is the place to shine, to show how ground-breaking your project is. You can include newspaper clippings to show that you have been following the subject being funded. Maybe the minister of director general was quoted in the paper.

  • Call the government department and ask to see a grant officer. It is their job to explain the jargon used in some of the grant forms.


I wish all grants can be as simple and straight forward like this one from Ireland.

Culture Ireland creates and supports opportunities for Irish artists and companies to present their work at strategic international showcases, festivals, venues and arts markets and support artists right across the creative spectrum including visual art, theatre, literature, music, dance, opera and film. SOURCE: Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht website


  • The whole preparation should take about a year because provincial and federal government wheels move on their own snail pace. They are not in a hurry to go anywhere.

  • Register the company that will be applying for the grant.

  • Pay all outstanding taxes. The government does not do business with people that owe it money.

  • Prepare a business plan.

  • Do your research, for example which companies got grants in the past? You might find that one company has been getting the same grant for the last five years, because they are the only one in that field.

  • Prepare facts and figures and statistics should be as recent as possible.

  • Do you have office space? The government does not give grants to people who operate from The Second Cup or Tim Horton’s.


You will find the grant application process less intimidating if you are already in business, because you know what kind of information the government normally wants from registered businesses.

You will need more time if you are going to work with other people. Joint ventures usually require detailed legal documents in case things go sour.

Whether it is a sole business or partnership, the fact remains that government departments have money that you can use to help them implement their policies, to make them look good. Apply for grants.


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