Why should we give you a grant?
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
It always amuses me that it takes until question 9 out of 10 questions for Innovate UK to ask you if you really need a grant and why public funds should be used on your project rather than you funding it yourself.
Has anyone ever slogged through the previous 8 questions and gone, you’re right what was I thinking? I don’t need public funds my mistake!
If you aren’t that person and you do need public funding, then you will have to grapple with an answer. Innovate UK aren’t the only funding body to ask this question, all of them somewhere ask a question along the lines of, if you want our money justify why you can’t fund it yourself and explain how you will be funding your costs on the project.
Some ideas on how to answer the question:
Why you can’t fund the project yourselves?
Be honest, don’t be afraid to say you are pre-revenue, pre-customers, have trial customers but no revenues, pre-profit. It is ok if your current investors think that this project is too risky or dilutes the work of the existing team (as long as you have put new team members in your proposal). That your current investors want their financing directed towards development or sales of an existing solution rather than R&D work on a new product is all ok.
How you are funding your part?
Existing revenues are fine as is investment received via a third party. At this point the assessor is seeking assurances that you can meet your commitments. The more detail you can give here the better.
Impact of receiving / not receiving a grant
Typical impacts to consider in your answer include,
speed to market
approach to R&D and the project and how funding does / doesn’t impact, e.g. lower tech solution deployed
impact on your competitive position in the marketplace e.g. competitors will have developed a solution within 12 months
impact on overall business strategy e.g. funding would allow additional functionality to be added to your product to access a particular country or industry
A word of warning
What on the face of it seems like a simple question can often be quite hard to answer.
You must be mindful of how the answers you give to this question aligns with the strategy, costings and other information elsewhere in your application.
This question is typically part of a much larger submission document required to apply for an innovation grant. If you would like someone to work with you on your submission or even draft the application for you do get in touch here. We also offer a review service for applications that you have written.