Yes. He really can be. I had no idea.
About five years ago one of my manufacturing friends told me of a Federal Government Cost-Share Program for business. He said he received nearly $75,000 in grant money on various projects. I couldn’t believe it and I immediately took note.
Quite frankly, this seemed too good to be true. Who gives away free money? Really? Uncle Sam is gonna hand over seventy-five grand to my small machine shop? Well I’m here to tell you a resounding YES and it really wasn’t that difficult to get it.
So, how does your company get free money? Here are a few important things to know about this program:
The program is facilitated through Applied Strategies International LTD and their Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) Program.
First and foremost, you have to show declining sales and or a reduced workforce in a window of time. Then, you have to prove you lost those sales to overseas competition. But don’t try and figure it out yourself – it is highly recommended you contact Applied Strategies and let a seasoned Project Manager review your qualifications – they are strategic in the interpretations of these requirements.
Once you meet these requirements, you have to make a choice on the level of funding you’d like to receive. 1.) $75,000 at a 75% U.S. share or 2.) $150,000 at a 50% U.S. share. Of course, there are administrative fees that Applied Strategies collects based on the level of funding; it’s minimal and highly valuable.
For my company, I chose the smaller grant with an option to opt into the higher one at any time, which is exactly what we did about two years into it. We were already approved, so we revised our agreement, with some minimal paperwork and paid another admin fee to be transitioned.
So, what can you spend all these dollars on? Anything intangible; marketing, design, software, consulting, training, labor, etc. that will promote domestic sales and corporate advantage. As my friend explained, something you can’t kick.
We were in need of a rebranding initiative and this was ideal for our first request. We engaged with a marketing professional to design and build a new web site, design a new company logo and other consulting.
We added two ISO certifications, updated our CAM, ERP, and other software, and had our employees trained. Once we learned how to be strategic in using the money, we purchased a new machining center. Of course, not the full amount, just the isolated cost of the software, labor to build, training and warranties of the machine were cost-shared.
Has Uncle Sam been my partner marketing guy? You bet. I only wish the program was available for a second round – unfortunately it’s not – once you’ve utilized the funds the party is over, until the next program starts up.
Jim Carr | President
CARR Machine & Tool, Inc.