Government spending on R&D in 2021 to 2022 is £14.9 billion, its highest level in four decades. This increase across areas such as innovation, health and science, demonstrates huge progress towards their target to increase total public and private R&D investment.

Whilst grant funding opportunities support the government to meet their policy objectives, they simultaneously give SMEs a platform to develop their innovative idea, which they likely would have struggled to do so without funding support. In a nutshell, these government grants are a real game changer for growth.

Do you want to win a grant competition this year? We’ve written a fair share of applications in our time. Here’s our top tips before you put pen to paper…

#1 choose your opportunity wisely

It’s always worth taking the time to familiarise yourself with the areas of strategic interest and high importance, that the government are keen to grow and innovate within. Delivering the Green Industrial Revolution and achieving net zero for example, are both areas capital is being funnelled into. Could your solution innovatively deliver the biggest advantage possible?

#2 don’t get too technical

There are many companies with innovative solutions to government focus areas, but they forget to succinctly describe the business and use cases of their solution. Instead, companies get wrapped up in the specifics and technical aspects of their technology without realising that the assessors are looking for what results you can bring, not shiny new gadgets. Assessors expect a clear vision of what you can achieve. You need to show:

  • how your technology is innovative
  • why funding is necessary
  • the use and business case of the solution you’re offering

#3 do your research

It’s important to show off your skills and stand out amongst existing ideas. If you want funding for an original idea, why is your idea so important? How will it make an impact? If you want help to launch a new product, see what’s out there already and list what makes you different.

From our experience the questions in the applications are usually well-targeted, concentrating on the commercial nature of the business and the market opportunities of the proposed concept. The assessors of public grants want to be sure that this spend has the potential ROI to grow and provide benefit to the UK economy, so ensure you have all this nailed down first.

It pays to look at who the funder, ie. Innovate UK, has previously awarded funding to, so you can get a sense of what they are interested in. Explore their topics and ideas, do they align with yours? This can really strengthen your chances of winning.

#4 take your time

We find it’s worth looking out for an opportunity 2-3 months prior to the closing date, to give us plenty of time to write the application to the best standard. It’s important to take your time and plan every detail of the project and your application, so you’re confident you’ve given it everything. Proposal writing is like a story, it needs to flow but have structure and must demonstrate that you’ve put some real thought into it.  It’s always worth having someone check it over too, to see if they understand the scope of the project. If they don’t, how will the assessor?

#5 don’t expect the funds straight away

In the excitement of winning, it’s easy to forget that you’re not handed the cash up front. The project is overseen and monitored throughout, there is regular reviewing by the funding body and most critically whether the taxpayer is being delivered good value for money. Funding is given post-project as a form of reimbursement for the project.

How we can help you

There are many grants out there, however it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. At Tenshi, we provide services in helping you decide which grant is best for you and filing applications. Get in touch and see what we can do to help you.