Though there are varied ways of receiving funding for small and large businesses, grant funding is a very lucrative way to gain the money you need without having to repay it. Grants can frequently be the difference between speeding up the release of a new project with a competitive edge and having to sit on your hands for a longer period of time, waiting for the funds to trickle in.
We are so fortunate to live in an age where there are so many research and development (R&D) grants available which will help businesses further their innovation and company growth.
Grant Funding: What Are the Benefits?
It may seem obvious, but the main benefit of grant funding is receiving money straight into your pocket which can go towards your company’s innovative growth. This is a great asset, particularly if you are a start-up or a smaller business. Those who are successful in ‘securing’ or rather ‘winning’ a grant will have a huge leg up in the industry.
There are various types of grants offering smaller and larger amounts of funding. Many grants can cover R&D costs including staff wages, subcontractor and freelancer costs, and varied expenses including travel, materials, labour and other R&D-related overheads.
Innovate UK: What Is It and How Can It Help?
Innovate UK is the go-to place for an R&D grant funding opportunity if your company is needing financing to pursue technological and/or scientific projects. As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK is looking to provide funding for various innovation projects that help the UK competitively grow both nationally and globally. Innovate UK grants and other state aid and relief are available to any UK registered business, regardless of the size or sector.
As beneficial as these grants can be, the competition is fierce. These grants are run like competitions where ultimately, only the best ideas will win. The application is no picnic either, as Innovate UK will choose who wins the grants based on a very specific assessment process. Putting together your application with the criteria in mind and ensuring that you tick all of the relevant boxes is key.
Other Ways in Which Innovate UK Grant Funding Can Be Used
Innovate UK grant funding can also be used to help companies with:
*Research and development (R&D) for company projects to create or improve on the products, services or processes in the business.
*Testing out new ideas to see how feasible they could be.
*Collaboration with other organisations including colleagues or businesses in the same field.
Applying for Grant Funding
So, how can you put your best foot forward when applying for grant funding? When starting your grant application, it’s important that you give your business the best chance at success. Here are a few things to think about.
Finding the Right Competition
One of the great things about Innovate UK is that it regularly launches new competitions. One of the first things you need to do is to assess which grants are right for your business. There is no point in wasting time and energy in applying for a grant that your company would simply not qualify for. You want to choose the grants that you strongly feel you have a real shot at winning.
Planning ahead is always a crucial step to ensure you have thought of every aspect of your application. This process needs to truly reflect your company and share the innovation you are aiming to pursue. It could also be helpful to research organisations with previously successful applications to have a point of reference.
Be Clear and Concise with Your Objectives
The more clarity and concise information you have, the better. You don’t want people to have to search through your application to find the relevant parts. Make sure you communicate your objectives in a clear and well thought out way, to ensure the best result. Ask yourself the hard-hitting questions: How much grant funding will you realistically need? What are the challenges that you will be addressing? How will you use the funding? How will you ensure your project is successful?
Show Your Knowledge of The Market
One of the most important factors in any new venture is figuring out who your audience is. As frustrating of a question as this can be, everyone will be expecting you to answer it. Whether you are looking to create a new product, service or process or are wanting to improve an existing one, you need to know who your consumers will be.
What is the age range? What is their socio-economic status? What is the size of the target market? How do you plan to get into this market successfully? What will your company and the wider field gain from this new innovative venture? By answering these kinds of questions you will have more insight into the project and can then communicate more effectively.
Utilise Free Resources
Innovate UK, alongside its partner, Knowledge Transfer Network, offers a wide range of free resources for companies to use to help them get funding. Businesses can get a better understanding of whether their application has a chance against other competitors, and can also receive feedback on their application as they are creating it. The resources also include briefings and workshops, so it’s a great way to learn more about how you can create a successful application.
Try to Collaborate with Others
Unfortunately, it is less likely that first-time applicants will gain funding from Innovate UK. That’s not to say that it is impossible! The truth is, the more you do it, the better you will be. Don’t be disheartened if your first application isn’t successful. One way to boost your application is by collaborating with other companies in the field. This gives you a bit of a safety net in the application since two heads are likely better than one.
If you can secure collaboration with a company who has already applied several times or has even won a grant, that will increase your chances of also getting recognised by working alongside them. Another reason why it can be good to collaborate is that you could gain intel into why previous applications succeeded or failed. It’s hard to know exactly what will impress the judges, but having a reference point on what the judges were truly inspired by, would be an added boost.
How Can TBAT Innovation Help?
At TBAT we aim to help give you the best chance of accessing the most suitable grant funding for your organisation. With a team of highly experienced bid writers, our company has a proven track record and a 76% success rate across a wide range of funding schemes.
Our team can not only perform market research for you, help with the application process by reviewing your application before submission, but we can also review previously unsuccessful applications, giving you advice and annotations to maximise your chance of success.
If you are a business planning to undertake R&D in future projects, there are also several schemes offering grant funding and tax credits as a way to support company innovation. The main streams of funding are administered by Innovate UK and Horizon 2020.
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