With the latest round of Innovate UK SMART grants opening this week (28th August), I thought it would be worth revisiting the issue of eligibility.
It is safe to assume that a lot of companies hesitate approaching UK grant funding opportunities because they are unsure if they are eligible or not.
Clear as mud?
Using Innovate UK as an example, the information provided around eligibility is never as clear as one would like. This might be purposeful, in order to encourage applications from a wide variety of businesses with different solutions. The ambiguity might also work as a demand management exercise, turning off those companies that are unsure and subsequently reducing application numbers.
Believe it or not, at Grant Starter we sometimes have to turn potential business down! The most common reason? The idea they’re presenting simply isn’t innovative enough.
We don’t purport to be experts across all markets but when we usually ask a customer to answer a few questions in the first instance:
1. Why has the challenge you are addressing arisen / why has it been so poorly addressed to date?
2. What is the market crying out for that the innovation (your technology) can provide?
3. How is your solution truly challenging the status quo?
The first question (well, it looks like two questions actually) is important because this creates a narrative that underpins your whole proposal. Without it, the proposal flops.
The second question should be easy to explain and is your key to demonstrating that your solution could capture a big market share.
The third question should be simple. You have to know what the nearest state-of-the-art is and how you will radically improve on it (or totally blow it out of the water through market disruption).
I feel that these should be straightforward questions for any business. Let’s face it – if you don’t know your value proposition, how has your business case been built?
To be (eligible) or not to be...
If you feel you can answer the questions above, the chances are that you are probably eligible to apply for Innovate UK funding.
If you are still having doubts, or would like to have a general chat about applying for Innovate UK funding, get in contact with us directly and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours to book a call in.