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Grants and Proposals

Company / Industry Research

Get started with your research by exploring the following library databases. Click on the Database / Articles tab, or visit the library homepage at and click on the icon “Databases A-Z.” Choose one of the following from the list.

Company histories

  1. Business Insights: Essentials: Type in your company’s name and then click “Company Histories” and "Company Profiles" on the left.
  2. Business Source Premier: Click on “Company Profiles” at the top and then type in your company’s name. Each report has a 1-2 page history.

SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) analyses

  1. Business Insights: Essentials: Type in your company’s name and then click “SWOT Reports” on the left.
  2. Business Source Premier: Click on “Company Profiles” at the top and then type in your company’s name.

Industry information

  1. S&P NetAdvantage: Valuable reports and detailed analysis about the state of various industries. Click on the 'Markets' tab, and then chose a large industrial sector from the pull down menu. For eg. Energy. On the next screen, look at the bottom of the left column and choose Industry Surveys. In the resulting screen, browse the Headline column for the list of available reports (the default is to sort them chronologically, so you'll see the most recent reports first). When you find a report you like, click on the Adobe Acrobat PDF icon in the right-hand column to open the report. The search looks like this.
  2. Business Insights: Essentials: Type in the name of a company doing business in the industry you are researching. Click on the matching company in the list of search results. On the next page, click on one of the industries listed at the right that you consider most relevant. Finally, choose one of the “Industry Essays” on the next page.
  3. Statista: Statistical data about various industries in the United States and internationally.

Small or Private Companies and Not-for-Profit Organizations

Due to various federal disclosure requirements, the amount and kinds of information may be limited for some companies and organizations. As a result, less information is available in the library’s databases about small or private companies and not-for-profit organizations.

Research strategy #1

If you are researching a private company, try searching the library databases PrivCo and S&P NetAdvantage. The amount of information available on companies covered by these databases varies significantly.

Research strategy #2

Synthesize information you find researching the industry (see the above box) with information you can gather from visiting the company or organization’s website. Also glean what you can from the information available about your company’s competitors or organization’s partners.

Research strategy #3

Search for news articles about the company or organization.

For Minnesota companies and organizations, search for articles written in the local newspapers Star Tribune and Pioneer Press, which are archived in the library database ProQuest Global Newsstream. Follow these directions:

  1. Go to the library’s homepage:
  2. Click on Databases A-Z.
  3. Click on the “P” tab.
  4. Click on ProQuest Global Newsstream.
  5. Click on the “Advanced Search” link.
  6. Type your company name, like “Andersen Windows,” in the first search box.
  7. Type “Pioneer Press” in the search box on the second row.
  8. Click “Add a row” and then choose “OR” from the dropdown menu on the third row.
  9. Type “Star Tribune” in the search box on the third row.
  10. Choose “Publication title—PUB” from the dropdown menu on both the second and third rows.
  11. Click the Search button.

Research strategy #4

For not-for-profit organizations, search GuideStar databaseFollow the same steps above, but choose the “G” tab and click on GuideStar. Once inside, search the name of your organization in the search box. This database contains nonprofit organization financial information (including the IRS Form 990), mission statements, lists of board members and senior management, and more. The information available for an organization will vary.

Research strategy #5

Identify (through a Google search, for example) relevant national, regional, or statewide associations. Browse their websites and look for research reports, statistics, or periodicals that may be useful. 


This information is also available in a handout formatted for printing. See the Handouts page.