The UK Government has announced its biggest boost in R&D funding investment since 1979. By 2020 spending on R&D will grow to an additional £2bn above existing spending, an increase of over 20%. The investment ramps up year-on-year to reach this level and means a total boost of £4.7bn by 2020-21.
How can you, as a business tap into this? Its not only difficult for businesses to get traditional forms of investment, it can also be very time consuming and expensive. However the opportunity to receive public funds and resource support, if your solution fits the criteria for a government grant, is a powerful enabler.
The benefits of getting one of these government grants can be a real game changer for your businesses growth. As many of the successful bidders we have helped secure funding will say, a grant can be an effective equity free way to grow a venture.
From our experience the questions in the applications are usually well-targetted, concentrating on the commercial nature of the business and the market opportunities of the proposed concept. Basically, 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.
Innovate UK invest around £250 million a year into business projects. Like an equity investor, Innovate UK vet and advise companies looking for funding. In this light, businesses should look at gaining grant funding in a similar way to approaching investors or a bank. Innovate UK want to know how big the market is, what the problem is and whether the innovation being pitched provides an adequate solution.
It is worthwhile spending some time getting to know the areas of strategic interest and importance that the government are looking to significantly grow and innovate within, such as health and wellbeing for an aging population. These are the areas that capital is being funnelled into. Many companies who may have innovative solutions to these focus areas, forget to succinctly describe the use case and business case of their solution and get wrapped up in the specifics and technical aspects of their technology. It is important to remember that the assessors are looking for results beyond simply new gadgets. They expect to see a clear understanding of how Impact will be achieved. You need to show them how your technology is innovative, why funding is necessary and the use and business case of the solution your offering.
Its worth at this stage mentioning, if you don’t already know, that funding winners aren’t handed the cash up front. The project is overseen and monitored throughout, there is regular review by Innovate UK 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.
What is exciting is that there are many grants out there, however it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. We provide services in helping you decide which grant is best for you and filing applications. Part of winning funding is having an understanding of the governments agenda, then assessing whether your solution can innovatively and uniquely deliver the biggest advantage possible.