Are Worthiness Issues Holding You Back?

Are self-worth issues and self-sabotage holding you back? 

Whatever you’re not happy with about your life, it's important to know that you can turn it all around. People often have issues recognizing and internalizing their worthiness, especially women, due to the messages we've received since we were young. When we realize that we have what it takes to succeed and that we're worthy of succeeding, we can let go of the negative messages we have been carrying around with us, and switch to an attitude of self-love.

Whether you internalized these messages from home, school, or society it's important to let go of this mindset that could still be affecting you. 

If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur and start your own business, whether it's as an independent contractor, consultant, coach, artist or musician, or salesperson, it's critical to let these go and step into your power – accept your worthiness now. 

Wherever you go in life, your attitude and the vibes you emit make all the difference. With an attitude of worthiness, you're far more likely to get the results you desire, whether it's getting a job, getting a raise, starting a business or nonprofit, or even getting a date – and then a second date with the person of your dreams. 

Worthiness is a mindset.

For some of us, it comes naturally, but for many of us, it takes a lot of practice. Reading books on the subject, developing your skills, meditating or working with a life, business, or transformational coach can make a big difference in reaching your goals. Millions of people turn to motivational coaches and teachers like Brene Brown, Michael B. Beckwith, Marianne Williamson, and Tony Robbins for a power boost to take them to the next level. 


Worthiness, Empowerment, and Mindset Reset

The feeling of worthiness – the feeling of being good enough, suitable, deserving – affects your ability to succeed. A sense of worthiness impacts every aspect of your life, your business, your career, and your relationships. 

Empowerment Through a Mindset Reset 

Whether you're about to make your pitch to a potential client, present your ideas at a staff or board meeting, or want to start presenting your ideas in larger forums, you are much more likely to make an impact if you give the impression that you belong – that you have a right to be there. 

If you feel worthy, you're much more likely to get your asking price for the goods or services your offer. When you value yourself, others will too, and you can ask for a higher price.

Feeling worthy requires that we speak up when we know we're qualified for the job. Looking at obstacles straight on and knowing that you can conquer them because you've done it many times before. 

Those who feel worthy are more likely to ask for and get a raise or a promotion, or the funding they're seeking when they meet with investors or donors. 

Step into your worthiness because everything in life changes once you completely accept that you are worthy. 

Feeling worthy is about believing in yourself, knowing you can keep your word, that you have integrity and will follow through on whatever you say you will deliver. Once you truly accept your worthiness it will come across to others. You will find it easier to present yourself to others in a way that they feel they trust and put their faith in you too. 

Find grants on GrantWatch and MWBEzone for women and minority business owners. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for MWBEzone and all GrantWatch affiliated sites.


Beyond Meat Brings Organic Farming, Vegetarian and Vegan, Plant-based Foods To Market

Where does milk come from?

I asked my young granddaughter an age-old question that I’m sure everyone has asked a young child at some point in their life, "Honey, where does milk come from?" I fully expected the answer to be,  “from a cow”. Boy, was I mistaken!  She explained to me that milk comes from animals like goats and cows and also from plants like almonds and soy, and from lab-grown sources using microbes to grow dairy proteins. 

Welcome to a brave new world!

Moooooo-ve Over Cows

Plant-based milk is now 13% of the milk market. These include macadamia nut milk, oat milk, pea milk, banana milk, flax milk, hemp milk, and of course milk made from almonds and soy.

Meat products are already plant-based as well. Impossible Foods announced it had raised $300 million in new funding for its delicious Impossible Burger.  The Beyond Meat, Inc.  IPO stock jumped 163% on its first day of trading. Everyone loves a plant-based burger that will taste and bleed like beef, but is it healthier?  Beyond Burger contains no cholesterol and less saturated fat than beef (which is a good thing for my cholesterol numbers), but unfortunately, it contains plenty of calories and sodium. All the big food chains are getting into the market with products like Burger King's Impossible Whopper, Carl Juniors Beyond Famous Star, and Subway's New Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub.


Plant-Based Milk Alternatives at the Grocery Store

In the era of the very popular Beyond Burger and of course the now widely adopted Impossible Burger, government and foundations are now supporting organic farming and research and development of new, innovative plant-based vegan products. One continuing small grant of $1000 is available for projects that reduce cruelty to animals and animal exploitation whether for clothing, food or any other purpose. (GrantWatch ID#: 183727);  sustainability and organic farming is supported with grants such as GrantWatch ID# 180160 for nonprofit organizations and research institutions in the US, Canada; and internationally long-term solutions for the future of organic agriculture and protecting organic farmers (GrantWatch ID# 177459).  

Maybe I’ll ask my granddaughter if she thinks plant-based milk and Beyond Meat Burger are healthier and taste better than the old-school variety. 

About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU, a wine seller and caterer and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go to travel person, father, grandfather and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart healthy nutrition, exercise and travel.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Winning Business Proposal

We at GrantWatch and Grant Writer Team and MWBEzone help nonprofit organizations and for-profits (small and midsize businesses) get grants and deal with issues related to grant proposal writing.

Here is a thorough, step by step guide to creating a successful business proposal by Mary Cullen, founder of Instructional Solutions, reprinted with their permission. 

A strong business proposal is a top opportunity to win new business. It is the ultimate sales document, a condensed version of all the value your solution brings to a client’s problem.

Yet, not every proposal puts your business’s best foot forward. There are a lot of aspects to consider. From the audience to the content to the formatting, each part of a winning business proposal requires thoughtful planning and development.

While it can seem daunting, we will outline the key stages, styles, and content of a winning proposal. There are also a number of helpful tools and tactics that will improve your bid and sales strategy. Incorporating these concepts will produce stronger, more appealing business proposals.

What is a Proposal?

In order to provide a productive guide to a business proposal, we need to clarify to which document we’re referring.

A business proposal is a written offer of services tailored to a client.

Perhaps not every definition uses the word ‘tailored’. However, as it is a crucial characteristic of a successful proposal, it is a keyword for our definition.

A proposal is not a business plan. Business plans present a company’s operational and financial objectives. While it’s an important corporate document, it is very different than a proposal. Confounding the two will produce either a poor business proposal or a poor business plan.

A business proposal is created for a specific request or opportunity. It is not prepared as a cold call to a client. There is always an indication provided by the client as to the business needs. This indication may come as large as a public governmental Request for Proposals (RFP) or as small as an email follow-up to an encouraging conversation at a networking meeting.

The reason that a proposal cannot arrive as a cold call is because it must be tailored to the client’s needs. The document will clarify how your services can best resolve the client’s problems.

If you do not know the client’s problem, you cannot propose a solution.


The preparation phase will make or break your proposal. It ensures that the document doesn’t just say who you are, but identifies why you are the best choice to serve the client.


The proposal audience is the most crucial factor to get right when preparing the proposal. The writer must understand the reader on the other side of the document.

Consider these questions:

  • What is their role?
  • Who is the decision maker?
  • What are their main concerns?
  • What supports or resources do they already have?
  • Which solution would provide the best value?
  • What is their industry background?

A common mistake is to write a generic proposal. A proposal written to describe your services to any audience will have little impact. The client does not want to interpret how your offerings will benefit value – that is the writer’s task. Generic proposals do not provide a clear or persuasive document.

To ensure your proposal is as effective as possible, prepare, plan, write and review with the audience in mind. Time spent understanding the reader will save time during the later proposal development stages.

Findings Discussion

A winning business proposal generally begins with an in-depth findings discussion. The writer collects information on the client’s current problem, their goals, and potential solutions. This broad discussion gathers content from the key stakeholders within the company. Participants may include a sales representative as a direct contact, a business manager with competitor analysis, an R&D researcher on new solutions, or anyone else who can provide input on the client’s needs.

Your proposal is a response to their problem. Therefore, your writer or team must have a deep understanding of their concerns, needs, and wants.

With a strong awareness of the problem, you can then propose a solution. This is the heart of the document. Your company has to pitch an offer that better suits the requirements of the client than any of your competitors.

Your proposed solution should be effective, efficient, and valuable. And each of these qualities has to be clarified within the discussion so that they can be communicated within the document. What is the overall strategy? Which features make it more cost-effective? How will your solution make the client’s work easier and better?

The findings discussion ensures the writer truly understands the client and the solution.

Ask 'Why?' 

A proposal does not highlight how great your business is. It highlights how great you can make your client's business. This is one of the first things we teach in our proposal writing course. 

A simple but important question to align yourself with this philosophy is: "Why?". 

Why should the client choose you?

Incorporating the audience and the results of the discussion of the findings, you should critically analyze your solution. Where do you add value? How does your solution increase the client's long-term success? How do you uniquely resolve problems? Which aspects verify your trustworthiness? What impact will your solution have on their business? 

Have you worked and proven yourself before? Familiarity allows the proposal to be more refined and narrow, whereas a new client requires more detail as to your capacity to solve their problem.


Your proposal will likely be reviewed with a series of competitors. Therefore, understanding what your competitors may offer will improve your own submission.

Some RFP's provide a list of all those companies who downloaded the proposal documents. Other times, your own understanding of your industry will indicate the likely competitors who will also be submitting.

If possible, review your competitor's previous work to give you context as to the solution, strategy, and pricing they will offer. Refine your proposal plan so that it is more appealing than your competitors. 


Feeling overwhelmed? 

All the guidance we've provided on this preparation stage may seem filled with questions, ideas, and content. It has to be organized in order to make a coherent and compelling document.

We recommend using a mind map tool. It allows you to capture all of the ideas, and their relationships, that need to be incorporated into one visual layout. FreeMind is a free, open-source Mind Map tool that takes only ten minutes to learn.

Using a mind map will ensure you capture all the important concepts. Then, you can organize them into the core of a cohesive proposal document. 

Mind map for business proposals

Contents of A Proposal

There is a range of formats and styles for preparing a proposal. The outline below is the content order that we have tested as the most effective. 

How to Write a Proposal Title

The title should be snappy, engaging, and be a one-line overview of the entire proposal. 

"Proposal to XYZ Company" as a title is a lost opportunity. It's boring and doesn't offer the audience any valuable information. 

Remember how important the audience is? Imagine what sort of title they would like to read.

We'll use an example of engineering services to a construction company:

Rock Solid Foundations: Geotechnical Site Assessment Offer for XYZ Construction

If you're unsure of the title, don't worry. It can be composed at the end of the writing stage. That may even be a better time to title the document as the writing process may inspire the perfect title.

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Proposal

The executive summary should be exactly that: a summary for a busy executive. 

It should synthesize all the key information on the proposal. This information is presented in a compelling and digestible way so that an executive can quickly understand the entire proposal. 

It should introduce relevant information about the proposal and highlight how it solves the client's problem. The summary should be persuasive, clear, and include only concepts from the proposal. (No new information introduced here.)

We have an entire course (see other courses here) dedicated to how to write an executive summary. 

Overview or Opportunity Statement

This section dives into the client’s problem and your solution.

Here, you can present your thorough understanding of the client’s problem. It may or may not take the shape of a full analysis. The depth of analysis depends on the specific proposal.

Some clients may have already clarified their exact problem. Others may simply have a goal or KPI (Key Performance Indicator) they want to meet and are unsure of their current barriers. Whether brief or in-depth, the first goal is to indicate your knowledge of the problem. The client needs to feel their issues are understood to trust that a proposed solution will be successful.

Your bid should then neatly and effectively resolve their problem. Clarify how each facet or stage of your proposed strategy will add to the overall solution. The reader should be able to draw a straight line from your solution to their problem.

Use specific and jargon-free terminology to outline your offer. No matter how technical the solution is, the writing must be accessible and audience-focused. In the engineer services example, the document would be written differently if the reader, i.e. the construction company executive or manager, is totally comfortable with geotechnical work or undertaking it for the first time.

If you’re unsure if your technical writing is accessible, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Technical Writing for a refresher.

This section also defines the scope of the solution. It’s important to clarify where the solution begins and ends. For example, a website revamp may include the site design, graphics, and hosting, but does not include developing the copy or images.

A proposal can offer additional services beyond the requested ones if your experience deems it valuable to the client. It is an opportunity to show your knowledge of successful implementation and the potential to increase the budget. Most importantly though, clarifying the scope will ensure both parties are on the same page, alleviating future misunderstandings.

Deliverables and Timeline

Following the overview, your proposal should clarify the specifics of ‘what’ and ‘when’. This section offers the client with specific details of how the solution will unfold.

The deliverables should be clearly identified as to what the client will expect to receive or have accomplished. These should be specific and never over- or under-promise.

The timeline indicates the client when the deliverables will be completed. The timeline may be strict, based on client specifications. It may be flexible, based on your anticipated timeline or contingent on the offer acceptance date.

Having a clearly defined and realistic timeline is key. Often projects take longer than expected. Make sure to identify potential weaknesses of the timeline and address them directly. A detailed timeline will show a clear understanding of the project scope and implementation.

Creating a Proposal Budget

The all-important budget. Some readers will skip through the document and read the budget first, then return to the rest.

Therefore, it should be accurate, competitive, and easy to understand.

While both project and hourly budgets are common, we recommend using a fixed-price quote where feasible. Hourly projects can be difficult for a client to estimate for overruns. A fixed-price bid allows you to estimate the entire project’s cost and clearly compete on value.

No matter which type of budget, the total bid value should be broken down into smaller items.

For example, public relations services for a book launch may submit an offer for $3,500. This one number may seem reasonable to some clients and shocking to others. To ensure all clients understand the number, break down the costs.

In this case, break out the $3,500 into copywriting for $700, media liaison for $800, media training for $1200, book launch logistics preparation for $500, and administration for $300. The additional details allow the client to understand your solution and your value.

Separating the costs also allow clients to understand the higher investment areas. Your overall proposal should support each budget item by a clear client benefit.

About Us

Many people might be wondering: “Doesn’t this section come first?”

Putting the ‘About Us’ section at the beginning of the proposal is the most common mistake we see in proposals.

Think about it: if you’re the reader, what are your first questions?

The client is generally concerned with ‘what is the solution?’ and ‘how much does it cost?’ If these items are agreeable, then the client looks into the company background.

This order keeps the audience in mind. The proposal tells the story of why your solution is the best, and the About Us section is the compelling last line, not the opener.

You can be creative in this section. It should provide contact information, background on your company, the key personnel on the project. It can also include previous statistics, case studies, or sample work that would provide convincing evidence of past success stories in similar projects.

Graphics & Design

Graphics can make it easier for the reader to understand your proposal. They can also be poorly so designed or flashy that they detract from the project proposal. Graphics can help make a positive first impression. If there is a graphic designer at your company, you should ask them for advice before you start writing. They may have a template or guidelines to follow. 

Here are some ways graphics can make your proposal better.

Here are some common mistakes to look out for when creating graphics.

  • Cheesy stock images
  • Images that are disproportionately scaled
  • Widows and orphans (in typography)
  • Using too many colors that are not part of your brand
  • Using too many typefaces (stick to two or three)
  • Not compressing PDFs for export (don't make your file too large)
  • Low-resolution images that are pixelated
  • Not using transparent PNG logo files (ask around for the .png version)

Terms and Conditions

The fine print falls at the end. Many companies have a standard proposal T&C to insert. Other companies may not require this information as the details will be negotiated upon selection. The client and the industry will define the content included in this section.


In-house or online, proposal templates can be a big time-saver.

So long as they’re good templates.

You can read a critique of our favorite proposal templates in this blog post.


There’s no need to re-invent the wheel each time you submit a new proposal. The core of your business doesn’t change, so generic information can be compiled in an industry-effective order for reuse.

A well-organized template can save valuable time for similar projects.

In-house Templates

Many companies have developed in-house templates for standard industry proposals. Previously successful proposals are generally used as the basis for company templates.

Rise of Online Software

Online proposal software is growing in availability and popularity. There is a range of providers who bring the in-house template into the online space. This format allows for cloud-based proposal editing, pre-designed templates, and interactive proposals.

Potential issues

Templates can be dangerous because they may tempt the writer into creating a generic proposal.

Each bid must be crafted to meet the client’s specific needs. Language or content that worked work for one client may be unimpressive to another. Yet, it can be too easy to re-use template information without revamping for the new audience.

Use templates with caution.

The template can be a tool, but it should not always be used. Some proposals will fall easily into an existing template. Some proposals will need to be started from scratch. The preparation phase will allow the writer to determine if a template is appropriate.

Ensure that you have multiple individuals proofread the document. An easy way to lose a bid is by having text that is clearly copied from a previous proposal.


RFP Response

A major consideration for template modification is request for proposal (RFP) response. Many RFPs indicate the desired order and details of the proposal. The document should then match the RFP so that the client can easily find the appropriate information.

This response may mean that the Overview may use headers that match RFP specifications. RFP codes or numbers may be incorporated into the Deliverables text. A careful review of the RFP for formatting information will ensure this step is completed properly.


Choosing a Writing Style

Business writing overview

All business writing is purposeful. Its goal may be to persuade, educate, or advise, depending on the audience and the document. It is a formal style that maintains accessibility to the reader. All proposals are written using a business writing style.

Be persuasive, positive (and realistic!)

Your proposal is intended to sell your company so it must be persuasive. The text should be crafted to elevate your solution above others. Use strong, convincing language as you present your concept.

Including positive words or phrasing will add to the appeal of the proposal. Clients want to see positive results and successful projects. The positivity from the proposal itself reads well.

While persuasive and positive, the text must also be realistic. Only accurate information that can be completely delivered should be included.

Vague statements will damage your chances of winning as they do not provide the client with clarity or confidence. Over-promising may win a bid, but the results will likely be under-delivered. Failing to meet deliverables will damage the long-term relationship with the client and tarnish your reputation in the industry.

Be precise and concise

To ensure your language is realistic, be precise in your text. Use specific terms to identify the strategy and results. These details allow the client to clearly understand what they will receive upon accepting your offer. Ensure your proposal makes the image of your winning solution crystal clear.

Imprecise: The design work will be successfully delivered.

Precise: The website header and logo design work will be provided in both web-ready and editable files within one month of offer acceptance.

Be concise. Everyone is busy. Assume your audience is really, really busy.

Your proposal should include all the required and useful information, without any fluff. Remove extraneous words, sentences or even sections that do not add value to your reader.


Use active voice and simple wording

The active voice is stronger and easier to read. It is the natural choice for business proposal writing.

Passive: The materials will be delivered to the site by our trained operators.

Active: Our trained operators will deliver the materials to the site.

Another common mistake in proposals is writing to sound impressive. Of course, a proposal needs to impress the reader, but for the right reasons. Extravagant or highly-technical text actually causes the reader to be less engaged with the text. It is more difficult to understand and therefore less effective at communicating the information.

Simple wording will ensure the text stays accessible. As always, keep the audience in mind and write in the simplest terms appropriate for the reader.

Avoid jargon. Terminology specific to an industry is confusing to an unfamiliar reader. Use common terms or thorough explanations to ensure the audience can understand.

Complex: Our website review will ensure great UX through implementation of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript revisions.

Simple: Our website review will ensure great user experience throughout the site by revising the design and organization.



A business proposal’s tone is always professional. However, the level of formality depends on the industry and the existing relationship with the client.

If the client is entirely new, maintain a formal but friendly tone. If the document is for a repeat client, allow the existing relationship to guide the level of formality. It may be more relaxed or personal, if appropriate.

Proposal Formatting

All business readers skim documents.

Often, the proposal will be given a first quick review. If it meets certain guidelines, then it will be read more thoroughly in the next phase of evaluation. Another process may be that a thorough review is completed and the top bids sent to an executive for a fast review and decision. Or, perhaps the client needs to quickly check a strategy detail to discuss amongst colleagues.

While you won’t know your client’s exact assessment process, clever formatting creates an enjoyable and effective experience for the quick reader. The ease of reading your proposal may be a differentiating factor from a competitor.

Great content needs a great stage. The following general guidance will create an accessible and inviting document.


Tiered information

Headings and subheadings are your friends.

Divide your text into appropriate sections and craft a clear, guiding title for each heading. Add a division wherever the proposal text naturally changes topic. These changes need to be documented with headings for the reader for easy reference.

A table of contents provides the complete outline of a lengthy document including all headings and subheadings.


White Space

White space is pleasing to the eye. It appears as sleek and modern and makes the text accessible.

Large blocks of text or content without white space makes a document feel cluttered. The reader gets overwhelmed with information and can start to skim.

White space allows you some control of your reader’s focus within the proposal.

There are many ways to add white space to a text document. Adding additional spaces between paragraphs or headings, adjusting margins, and even font change are useful tactics. Another highly valuable tactic is:

The single paragraph sentence.

One sentence on its own draws the reader’s attention. It is clearly important as it stands alone. This formatting trick should be used carefully to emphasize only the most essential elements.


Lists and Tables

List and tables should be added to your proposal because:

    • they are easy to read
    • they provide an eye-catching change on a page of text
    • they emphasize the listed or tabled information as important.

As demonstrated above, lists and tables add value to your proposal. There are many natural places where lists or tables can be used. A list presented within a sentence and comparative data would be best presented in these formats.


Our Facebook campaign fee includes advertisement design, Facebook Ad charges, and staff administration.


Our Facebook campaign fee includes:

  • advertisement design
  • Facebook Ad charges
  • staff administration

The list or table can be followed by narrative text to provide additional context to the reader.


Visual appeal

When your client receives your proposals, they should want to open it up right away. The look of the document must be professional but striking.

Visual appeal can be added through the use of color, images, fonts and layout design. These features are like the proposal’s outfit. They make an important first impression before any word is read.



A thorough review is crucial to the document’s success. Proposals need to be audience-focused, accurate, persuasive, competitive, well-formatted, and more. A review catches issues or errors that could either lose the bid or cause costly future misunderstandings in a winning one.

Each company has its own proposal review process. They will include an iteration of the following review phases.


Writer’s review

The writer’s review should ensure that the text is error-free.

Obviously, it must be free of grammatical and spelling mistakes. This check can be assisted through the Spelling and Grammar tools in Microsoft Word or the free online tool Grammarly.

The proposed solution must also be accurate. Triple-check timelines, budget values, material amounts, hourly estimates, and other specifics. This verification ensures that the proposed solution is clear and correct as to what you can offer the client. An incorrect statement could cost your company millions of dollars.


Internal review

An internal review should be completed by a colleague or supervisor. This check provides another audit of the writer’s review items.

In addition, the reviewer has a fresh look at the document and its ability to persuade. This removed examination ensures that the proposed solution and supporting materials are understandable and appealing.

Overall, the proposal must make a clear and convincing ask for business. Sometimes, this core task can be hidden when a proposal writer is too close to the document. The internal review ensures the sales pitch is obvious.


Client review

The client review phase may be applicable depending on the client’s wishes. Some customers may want to review an initial version and upon selecting one or more top candidates, request revisions to the proposal. When their comments are accepted and incorporated, a final version of the offer can be signed.

Having a client’s feedback is ideal, as it provides direct insight into their needs. This review enhances the writer’s understanding of the audience, which benefits the current and future work.


Proposal Submission Tips

Once the review process is complete, the proposal needs to be submitted to the client. It may appear as an easy last step, but it should not be taken lightly.


Review submission details

Each RFP and most clients have a specified or preferred submission process. Ensure your document is provided to the client on exactly those terms. These details may range from an online document upload link to directions on the number of hard copies to the formatting of the document itself.

These details are provided to ensure the client’s ease in handling a volume of documents. They also highlight your company’s attention to detail.

For example, an environmentally-conscious client may that request all hard-copy proposals be printed double-sided. This request may seem simple. Yet, if missed, a one-sided proposal is a glaring sign of ignored instructions.

A perfect proposal can lose a contract if submitted incorrectly. Double-check that each of the submission requirements and processes is met.


Transmittal email or letter

A covering letter is a nice touch for both online and offline submissions. It can be the text of a submission email or the top sheet of paper in a mailed hard-copy of a proposal.

This letter, though brief, must be well-written. Using business writing principles, it introduces the proposal document. It should include any key names or codes associated with the proposal for sorting purposes. It also creates a space to indicate the next action. Company contact information for quick reference should also be provided.


Client Follow-up

Client relations are an important part of each business. The document represents the value your company brings. Yet, they do business with people, not documents.

Follow-up with the client appropriately after the submission of the proposal. Each client relationship will define the timeline and depth of the inquiry. Some clients may expect a call to dig into the proposal details and negotiate the work. Other clients, especially government offices, may stipulate on the RFP that no follow-up is allowed.

Appropriate follow-up is the final step in proposal development.


A winning business proposal is your opportunity to showcase your business’s skills and your unique strategy to meet a client’s needs. Developing a strong proposal is not a quick or easy task. But, when done well, it is the key to business success.

The grant writers on GrantWriterTeam can help you with your business proposal, it's budget and all aspects of your grant proposal. Find a grant writer on  

About the Author: Mary Cullen is the founder of Instructional Solutions, where this article was originally published. She is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing.

Essentials for Starting a Minority or Women Owned Business

Do you have an idea for a business but don't know how to make it a reality?

Don't let it overwhelm you. Take a deep breath, relax and focus. There are many available sources and resources online and in your community to help you get started. 

One such resource is the Small Business Administration and the local office in your area. They often provide classes, consultations, reading materials, and sometimes even have some funding to help you get started or grow your business to the next level once you're a going concern.

What is the MWBE certificate?

MWBE stands for Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises. In some states, the two may actually be separate, and you may see MBE or WBE instead. In either case, it’s a legal certification issued by the state that provides developmental benefits to these businesses. At least 38 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, have state-level MWBE development programs. The MWBE certificate can help your business get government contracts that may not have been accessible before.

Many states and cities also have minority-owned business programs, which are often referred to as Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) programs. Maryland, for instance, has a legally mandated program that requires 25 percent of all government contracts to be filled by minority-owned businesses.

Type in MWBE certification and your state or city name and you will find the application.

8(a) Business Development Program

The federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

The federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.

The System for Award Management (SAM)

This an official website of the U.S. government. There is no cost to use SAM. You can use this site for FREE to register to do business with the U.S. government. Contractors interested in contracting with the government must have an active, valid, and complete SAM Registration. This Registration is good for only one year, at which time, contractors must verify their information is accurate and renew their Registration.

You might find grants you're eligible for under different categories on the business side of the GrantWatch website. Look under the category your business falls under and see what's available. If you don't find something now, don't give up hope. New grants are listed every week as they become available. 

Your Business Opportunity: 

Choose something you're passionate about that suits your personality and is in line with your skill set or what you're able to learn and become proficient at. 

If you're looking to start an online business, Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch and MWBEzone shares her thoughts on how to run a successful online business in her article What Are the Key Elements of Successful Online Businesses and Startups? 

Always remember: Every client or customer contributes to your success, just as you and the products or services you provide contribute to theirs. 

Find grants for your minority-owned or women-owned business on Our customer support personnel are available to help you, 561-249-4129. 


About the Author: The author is a staff writer for MWBEzone and all GrantWatch affiliates.

Would You Use The Coffee Cup Trick in Your Workforce Recruitment Interviews?

Job interviews can be tricky for both the employer and the employee. Some interviewers have a way of assessing their interviewees' responses and behavior in a way that they feel confident reflects whether a job candidate will be a good fit for their company. The Manchester Evening News published an article by Matthew Cooper, with what he thinks is the perfect trap for potential employees. He interviews employer Trent Innes about what he calls the 'coffee cup trick.' 

If you're an employer, GrantWatch and MWBEzone have current grant listings for business owners under a number of categories. One such category is workforce grants which can cover some of the job skills training or retraining costs for new hires in in-demand fields where the need for skilled workers is greater than the current supply.  

How do you choose your employees? Do you have any telltale signs to know if someone will be a good fit for your organization?  

Interviewer and Interviewee Have Coffee While They Chat

According to Workopolis, the best interviews include at least a few questions to get to know the following:

  • Attitude and motivation: how does the candidate accept direction, feedback, and works under pressure?
  • Loyalty and work ethic: how committed are they to the job and their career?
  • Honesty: while embellishment may be expected, lies are not acceptable. 
  • Preferred managerial style: do they like to be hand-held or do they thrive when working autonomously? 

Behavioral interview questions are designed to uncover insights beyond just technical skills. They list 3 tricks to find out if an applicant is the right fit and 7 telling questions that reveal a candidate's true potential

The Coffee Cup Trick

A job interview is essentially a 30-minute mind game between employer and potential employee.

Can one party convince the other that they are the perfect person for the company and avoid acting like themselves by any means necessary?

And can the employer set traps for the other party to navigate or fall through that will let them know if this interviewee is a great future recruit?

This employer thinks he has the perfect trap – the 'coffee cup trick'. Metro reports that Trent Innes of software firm Zero Australia uses the trick in every single interview.

Whenever someone comes in for an interview, Trent will take them on a walk deliberately past the kitchen and make sure they come away with a hot drink. After the interview is all done, Trent watches to see if the person offers or attempts to take the empty coffee/tea cup back to the kitchen.

It's an easy way to find out how selfless someone is. If they just leave their cup at the table and leave, they won’t get the job.

Speaking on a podcast, Trent Innes said: ‘If you do come in and have an interview, as soon as you come in and you do meet me, I will always take you for a walk down to one of our kitchens and somehow you always end up walking away with a drink.

Which Coffee would you choose?

‘Then we take that back, have our interview, and one of the things I’m always looking for at the end of the interview is, does the person doing the interview want to take that empty cup back to the kitchen?

‘You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience but it really does come down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of “wash your own coffee cup”.

So do the washing up. 

Nonprofit managers and small business owners can take advantage of workforce grants when they hire eligible candidates. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Career Development Projects that Benefit Youth and Veterans with Disabilities. The deadline to submit proposals is July, 15th, but a new round of funding will begin in January 2020. 

Details: Grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 to USA nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit youth with disabilities. Projects should help youth develop skills needed for successful employment, especially for work in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics. The Foundation will also consider projects that create tools to break down barriers to employment and increase job opportunities for young people with disabilities entering the workforce, including returning veterans with disabilities. 

Find workforce grants on GrantWatch and MWBEzone. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to GrantWatch or check into GrantNews for weekly updates on grant and funding related news, new grant listings, and recent grant awards. 

About the Author: Staff writer


First Amendment Grants – Journalism, Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech Grants

"Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy," according to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and the Preamble.

"Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity." 

The Society of Professional Journalists has been advocating for the rights granted in the U.S. First Amendment to the Constitution, since 1909.  These rights include freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which now more than ever are closely entwined. 

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Freedom of the Press is the right to publish and disseminate information, thoughts, and opinions without restraint or censorship as guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

The Society lists four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism, encouraging their use by all people involved in any and all types of media. 

  • Seek Truth and Report It 
  • Minimize Harm
  • Act Independently
  • Be Accountable and Transparent 

Andrew Seaman presents some wonderful advice in two articles in Quill magazine, 10 Lessons in Journalism Ethics and Journalism's Complicated Relationship with Transparency.  Seaman is the past chairman of the SPJ Ethics Committee. 

Each year, at the SPJ National Convention, an individual, group of individuals, or organization receives a $10,000 award. The Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award is a program of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. More about Mr. Pulliam’s distinguished career can be found in The Indianapolis Star’s online library. The honoree(s) also will receive transportation and a two-night hotel stay to the national convention. 

The Foundation has established an annual award to honor those committed to the same goals and as a tribute to Pulliam's professional contributions to journalism. 

Journalism Ethics, A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media

Grants for Journalists – on GrantWatch

Grants to USA and International Nonprofits and IHEs for Journalism Education and Media Training, Deadline: 10/1/19

Grants to USA and International nonprofits and institutes of higher education to support journalism education and media training programs. Funding is intended to promote college-level journalism studies and technological advances in the media industry. Preference is given to projects and programs that benefit the areas in which Gannett does business and that seek to encourage diversity in newsrooms and in coverage.

The Foundation's priorities are encouraging college students to enter the field of journalism and supporting innovative, national, and regional training for current journalists. Particular attention is given to the First Amendment and its responsibilities.

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Media Projects Addressing Political, Social, and Environmental Issues, Deadline: 7/12/19

Grants to USA nonprofit organizations for media projects to raise awareness of important political, social, and environmental issues. Funding is intended to support a high-quality, non-commercial media that is substantive, fair, and accurate. Program priorities include investigative journalism, media policy, and public broadcasting.

Investigative Journalism supports excellence in reporting on nationally significant public affairs issues in the U.S. Competitive proposals will show evidence of groundbreaking content employing multi-platform media tools with the potential to achieve broad distribution and social impact. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, and Journalists to Advance Health Care Journalism, Deadline: 7/15/2019

Grants to USA nonprofit and for-profit organizations and institutions, as well as individual journalists, for health care journalism initiatives. Funding is intended to support documentary films and related public engagement campaigns, educational opportunities for reporters, and health reporting. 

Fellowships to USA, Canada, and International Scholars and Practitioners to Develop New Research, Publications and Art, Deadline: 9/12/19 

Fellowships of $77,500 to USA, Canada, and International scholars and practitioners to support creative new projects in the fields of arts, humanities, and social sciences. Fellows will be based in Greater Boston during their fellowship and will be required to regularly share their work in progress. Applications are welcome from a broad range of fields. 

To find grants for journalists, writers, and researchers, sign up for our weekly newsletters and to search for grants on

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.


Businesses Committed to Environmental Protection Offer Recycling Grants

Every company defines corporate responsibility a bit differently. Whether they look to societal, social, or political factors, global concerns or the welfare of their employees or a combination of some of the above. For more and more entrepreneurs and their corporations, it means being committed to environmental protection – supporting, enhancing, and sustaining the environment locally, nationally and globally. 

Tom Szaky, president and CEO of international recycling company TerraCycle recently gave the keynote address at the 7th annual Responsible Business Summit New York. Szaky addressed how companies are increasingly looking towards sustainable innovations to change environmental, social and governmental risks into workable business opportunities. 

“As the corporate world becomes increasingly aware of the environment and the role they play in its preservation, responsibility falls to the luminaries of sustainability to educate businesses, large and small, on how to set and achieve environmental goals through investments, collaboration, and innovation,” said Szaky. The Responsible Business Summit held annually is North America’s premier platform where senior practitioners from across the world meet and share practical ideas on how their businesses can lead the change to a new sustainable future. The summit provides direct, actionable insights accompanied by honest discussions on the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The innovative company has set out to "Eliminate the idea of waste®." TerraCycle prides itself in "recycling the 'non-recyclable,' by collecting and recycling almost any form of waste." To do this they partner with individuals, retailers, manufacturers, municipalities and small businesses. 

Find Grants for Protecting the Environment, Recycling and Environmental Grants

Search for recycling and environmental protection grants currently on

Creating Environmental Protection Partnerships

Operating nationally across 22 countries, TerraCycle partners with leading businesses, consumer product companies, retailers, cities, nonprofits, and facilities to recycle products and packages, from dirty diapers to cigarette butts, that would otherwise end up in landfills or being incinerated. In addition, TerraCycle works with leading consumer product companies to integrate hard to recycle waste streams, such as ocean plastic, into their products and packaging.

Since it's inception 15 years ago, TerraCycle has won over 200 awards for sustainability and has donated over $25 million to schools and charities. 

Companies like Subaru, Colgate, Tide, Gillette, ShopRite, Looptworks, Garnier, Entenmann's, Brita, Bausch & Lomb, and Mountain House all partner with TerraCycle to recycle their products and reduce their carbon footprint. Some current programs include:  

A recurring initiative with Colgate and ShopRite partnering with TerraCycle is the Recycled Playground Challenge, to donate two playgrounds made of recycled oral care waste.

A partnership with Gillette to make all their razors recyclable nationwide. They announced that now "all brands of disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridge units, and razor plastic packaging are recyclable on a national scale." “Through this innovative, first of its kind program, disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridge units, and their associated packaging are now nationally recyclable through the Gillette Recycling Program,” said Szaky. “We are proud to partner with this forward-thinking company to offer consumers a way to divert razor waste from landfills.”

Through TerraCycle’s Sponsored Waste Recycling Program, individuals and companies can go to drop-off locations and earn money for the waste they recycle. Participants earn points that can be used for charity gifts or converted to cash and donated to the charities they choose. The collected packaging will be recycled into a variety of new consumer products such as park benches, bike racks, pet food bowls, and recycling bins.

In another partnership, TerraCycle partners with beach cleanup organizations to keep beaches free of rigid plastics. 

Free Recycling Programs – These programs are free, national recycling solutions for typically hard-to-recycle waste streams. Join as many programs as you like to help reduce your impact on our planet.

A Business with an Environmental Soul 

Another company dedicated to protecting the preserving the environment is Staples. Through their Staples Soul programs, they continuously invest in sustainability and being socially responsible in every aspect of a business, including environmental responsibility, offering product sourcing and recycling services to customers and for internal company use. They support organizations committed to the preservation and protection of the environment, partner with and sponsor organizations such as Earth Day Canada and the Recycling Council of Canada.  

"We work to make it easy for our customers and associates to make a difference by offering more sustainable products and services, operating our business in an environmentally efficient way, and helping our customers and associates take action to protect the environment." 

Currently available environmental grants on GrantWatch, includes: 

Grants and Sponsorships to Canada Nonprofits and Businesses for Environment, Education, and Entrepreneurship Programs, Deadline: Ongoing 

Grants and sponsorships to Canada nonprofit and for-profit organizations that are working in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, or the environment. Funding is available for grants to support programs that strengthen local communities or for sponsorships of events.

The funders proudly support organizations committed to the preservation and protection of the environment. Partnering with and sponsoring organizations such as Earth Day Canada and the Recycling Council of Canada allows us to maintain strong community relations as well as support important causes and initiatives. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits in Multiple States for Education, Environment, Community Enrichment, and Entrepreneurship, Deadline: Ongoing 

Grants to nonprofit organizations, schools, and public municipalities in multiple states for programs in education, the environment, entrepreneurship, and community enrichment. Environment focus areas include resource conservation, clean air, clean water, recycling, and environmental education.

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Schools for Youth-Led Projects that Integrate Technology and Environmental Programs, 07/15/2019 

Grants of up to $2,500 to USA nonprofits and schools for youth-led projects that employ technology to solve environment-related issues. Projects should help encourage students and educators to find creative ways to use technology in order to achieve greater or innovative environmental outcomes. 

Find grants for your nonprofit organization for protecting the environment, recycling, conservation on New grant listings are posted daily. For more information contact or call 561-249-4129. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for and

Prudential Financial to Invest $180 Million for Workforce Development Initiatives for Young Adults

Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU) announced it is committing more than $180 million through 2025 to support teens and young adults from age 15 through age 29 worldwide who lack access to school, training, or regular jobs.

This segment of the population is often referred to as "opportunity youth," and Prudential said that this is the largest financial private-sector investment in this group. 

"Businesses like ours have a role to play in ensuring that global economic progress benefits all members of tomorrow's workforce," said Prudential Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Lowrey.

Prudential said its investment will help teens and young adults across the globe gain the right skills to compete for and succeed in quality jobs. 

This population segment accounts for 350 million people worldwide and Prudential said this investment will support dedicated partnerships through grants, corporate contributions, and impact investments to improve financial security for youth in more than 70 countries. 

GrantWatch and it's sister site for small business, minority and women owned businesses, MWBEzone, both list workforce development grants for nonprofits and small businesses.  These grants are to run programs that will teach people of all ages how to gain marketable skills to increase their employability. Workforce development grants provide for programs that assist veterans, youth, displaced workers, women and immigrants to enter, remain in and advance in the workplace through career education, career training, solve workforce shortages, and promote workforce health. 

Many grants for workforce development are state specific, like the below for Texas and North Carolina. 

Grants to South Plains Area, Texas Nonprofits for Basic Needs, Education, Youth, and Social Services, Deadline: 8/01/2019 

Grants of up to $10,000 to Texas nonprofit organizations for local community benefit initiatives in Lubbock and the surrounding South Plains area. Grants may be made for programs and projects in the areas of civic, social, and economic development; education and youth; and basic needs and self-sufficiency. The Foundation's primary focus at this time is creating pathways out of poverty and alleviating the impact of poverty on individuals and families. Grants may be made for start-up funding, general operating support, program support, and demonstration programs. 

Grants to North Carolina Nonprofits for Programs that Address Issues Affecting Women in Greensboro, Deadline: 7/29/2019

Grants of up to $70,000 to Greensboro, North Carolina nonprofits for innovative programs that support local women and foster their economic independence and self-sufficiency. Applicants must submit a letter of intent before applying. Priority will be given to organizations that are working on collaboration and the alignment of services. 

There are currently 250 grants listed for workforce development on MWBEzone, as well as 25 college scholarship opportunities.  

If you enjoyed this post, please share! For more information about grant awards and grant opportunities, and funding resources go to GrantWatch, MWBEzone, GrantWriterTeam, YouHelp and GrantNews.



About the Author: The author is a staff writer for