How To Create A Grant-Fundable Project

There is plenty of grant funding available for innovation projects today. However, being able to access this funding depends on how you define the project before you even start the process of writing the bid. If you want to create a grant-fundable project then it’s essential to have firm foundations in place to ensure that you’re clear about the project, have a consistent narrative and can demonstrate to assessors why funding is deserved. Here are 5 specific questions to focus on if you want to avoid wasting time and ensure that you’re creating a grant-fundable project.

 

What are the objectives and outcomes of the project?

The key to getting funding for your project will be whether there is a good opportunity here that has been well researched. Equally as important will be whether you have shown a clear connection between the problem that you’ve identified and the solution that you’ve come up with. It’s going to be important to be able to include market research that shows solid knowledge of the market and a strategy to enter it, as well as how the project is going to be able to generate commercial returns once it’s up and running. Remember that even a small percentage of a big market is going to generate a big financial return. At this stage it’s useful to focus on project management too – are you going to opt for an ‘agile,’ incremental, iterative approach or a linear and sequential ‘waterfall’ approach?

 

Have you defined the human resources?

You don’t need to put all your people on the project 100% of the time. Instead, it can be useful to look at the various skills and abilities of the people in your business and use them intelligently. Assessors are going to want to see evidence of resources being applied in the most efficient way possible to meet goals, as opposed to broadly and with less attention to detail. It can also be really useful to have identified partners for your project – this can boost credibility and support the idea that your objectives are achievable. Partners can bring new skills to a project, add experience or insight and add a whole range of new solutions. When you’re choosing a project partner, focus on the area where you most need support, whether that’s design or technology or something else.

 

What are the costs involved?

When you’re applying for funding it will obviously be vital to ensure that you have a robust set of figures to base your application on. The main focus for assessors will be determining whether your project offers value for money. Depending on the grant you’re applying for there will be different factors involved in the financial side of the application. It’s important to apply for the right level of funding using the criteria of the fund that you’re applying to (for example, Innovate UK defines funding levels on factors like organisation size and project maturity). Be very specific about the costs that are involved in the project – make sure the costs are appropriate for the project but that you’re not underestimating them. Aim for the eventual outcome of what you need to achieve the minimum viable product or your idea, rather than simply opting for the maximum grant available. Check whether there are any ineligible costs that could create problems for your funding further down the line if you include them now.

 

How will you handle the Intellectual Property (IP)?

Wherever there is innovation there is a need to properly define and protect intellectual property. If IP is not protected, or it is lost, then this can have a big impact on the size of the commercial returns that you’re likely to be able to generate. This is why it’s such a key part of the project process and needs to be clearly outlined when you’re making an application for a grant. The worst case scenario is that you get to the end of the project and realise that commercial returns have been completely eliminated because the IP was not properly set up during the earlier stages. It’s often useful to work with an IP specialist if you’re not sure how to approach this – they will help you to explore all the options when it comes to IP, not just patents. Think about the outputs of the project that you’ll need to use IP for in order to protect your opportunity to commercially exploit what you create.

 

How are you going to ensure ongoing compliance?

If you’re successful in creating a grant-fundable project, the obligations don’t end with approval. So, it’s going to be essential to have the skeleton of project management clearly laid out in advance. This will not only ensure that your project is completed on time and on track but that you can remain compliant with the requirements of the grant funding. There will be specific reporting intervals during the project that come with required documentation and milestones. These include progress reporting and financial reporting, as well as being able to effectively manage any changes that you want to make to the project once it’s under way. Accurate reporting is going to be a vital part of ensuring that the cash flow of a project remains healthy and that you’re able to comply with the requirements of the grant. If you don’t have the resources to handle this in-house already then it’s always worth seeking the support of a specialist advisor. If you start to feel overwhelmed by reporting requirements, how to respond to them and manage them, there are professionals in grant project management who can help.

 

These 5 questions are key to ensuring that you’re creating a grant-fundable project. Although much of the work in innovation happens after funding has been received, it’s what you do before you even submit your application that will determine whether the project gets the funding necessary to begin. From reporting requirements to IP, human resources and costs, all of these need to be considered when you’re creating a grant-fundable project.

SPRK Capital, information sourced from Granted Consultancy – a Ryan Company.

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