Jump Start Your 2017: 5 Reasons Your Business Should Apply for an Arch Grant

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It’s no secret that to get a business started, one needs cash and a superior support system. But what many startups aren’t aware of are the grant opportunities available, such as Arch Grants, that can provide exactly what they are looking for.

Every year, Arch Grants gives away $1,000,000 in $50,000 equity-free grants, but their giving doesn’t stop with the money. Arch Grants Recipients have access to many pro-bono services including marketing, legal, accounting, HR and more. And while only a select number of companies receive the award annually, all of the companies who move through the application process are well-groomed by Arch Grants staff who act as ambassadors to the entrepreneurs, even providing key feedback to encourage multiple applications if necessary.

Arch Grants companies
Founders of Arch Grants companies at the 2016 Arch Grants Gala. | Photo by Red Carpet STL

Have you been thinking about applying but haven’t pulled the trigger? We spoke with Dalychia Saah, Arch Grants Global Startup Competition Manager, to come up with five reasons you should.

  • You’re interested in having an interdisciplinary community with various skills and expertise around you. Because Arch Grants is industry agnostic, your cohort will consist of people from various industries to help you work through your business’ growing pains in the most innovative way.
  • You want brand recognition and validation from your community. The Arch Grants evaluation process involves community members from around the St. Louis area. The community, not the staff, selected you to be an Arch Grants Recipient, so the community is already ready to support you. Saah also noted that Arch Grants hosted its annual Gala in November to celebrate entrepreneurship in St. Louis and to welcome Arch Grants’ newest grant recipients saying, “We had about 1,000 guests – if that isn’t validation and community buy-in, I don’t know what is!”
  • As a startup, you’re looking for someone to meet your needs. Look no further than what Saah calls Arch Grants “concierge services.” Arch Grants works with each company to get its business needs met to the best of their abilities. “We like to say that we can be as involved or as uninvolved as you want us to be in your business. We want for you to come to us with a request, and we do our best to meet your needs.” Who couldn’t use this kind of service at their side?
  • You want to align yourself with an organization that is committed to diversity and inclusion. Arch Grants believes that diversity is a key driver of innovation. A 2015 research study by McKinsey & Co found that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” About 67 percent of Arch Grants Recipients are either led or co-led by a woman, person of color or immigrant, and their data shows that those companies are all still in business and generate proportionally 15 percent more revenue than the other startups.        
  • Nothing beats the social culture created by entrepreneurs. Once you’re an Arch Grants Recipient, you are a part of a larger family. Arch Grants has a strong commitment to St. Louis and has a high retention rate. In total, Arch Grants has funded 96 companies, 85% of which are still active, and 95% of the active companies maintain a presence in St. Louis. This means that not only do Arch Grants Recipients have access to the other entrepreneurs in their cohorts, but also to all of the others in the larger Arch Grants family. Former Arch Grants Recipients are available to new Recipients for business advice and also work to maintain a social community across cohorts. Arch Grants’ past Recipients take turns hosting monthly happy hours for all Recipients to stay connected.

Applications launch next week on March 1. To learn more about Arch Grants or the application process, visit archgrants.org or contact Dalychia Saah at dalychia.saah@archgrants.org.

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Erin Vehige has more than 15 years of experience in the writing field as an instructor and tutor of writing as well as a freelance writer and a member of a blog editing team. She has written for several different markets from entertainment to education and many others in between. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Eastern Illinois University and went on to complete a Masters Degree program in English from University of Illinois Springfield. In addition to writing, she also teaches a variety of yoga classes around the metro area, an activity that has turned into a passion over the last few years. Originally an Illinois girl, she's called South City STL home since 2007.