When I talk with different stakeholders about grant funding, they often ask me about the true benefits it can bring.
“Can we genuinely develop our innovation through grant funding?”
“Isn’t grant funding really administratively intensive?”
In reference to the first question, the answer is most certainly ‘yes’. Let’s take the example of Highview Power, which earlier this year received a £35m investment from a global industries group. Highview, which uses novel technology to provide a way of storing clean energy and using it when it is most required, originally received a mere £20,000 from Innovate UK (IUK) to run a proof of concept study. As the technology matured through research, further IUK grants followed, including a £1.8m injection of public funds to bring the concept closer to market through demonstration. Highview was also successful in its application to an open funding call from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in 2019, receiving a £10,000,000 investment to deliver the technology at a larger scale.
Highview is a positive example and not every innovation journey would mirror their path to-date. However, the journey from a £20,000 investment to one of over £30m is highly impressive and a clear signal that it is possible to use grant funding to advance your innovation towards being commercially ready.
On the second question, the answer is that ‘it doesn’t have to be’. The administration that potential clients are concerned about is not always warranted. In many ways, the administration is only tough if you let it get to that point.
I was recently involved in an IUK funded project led by a highly experienced project manager. They got all the basics right – talking to the Monitoring Officer at regular intervals, highlighting problems ahead of time through active risk management, convening other collaborators on the project as often as possible. Whilst working with a Monitoring Officer is unique, the rest of the administrative aspects are straightforward and are likely to be things you are doing for your business anyway.
Occasionally, I have heard a few moans about completing quarterly financial claims for IUK and other funders. Whilst nobody wakes up dreaming of completing financial reports, it cannot be forgotten that your grant funding comes from the taxpayer so a little scrutiny here and there is reasonable.
If you’re considering applying for grant funding and the potential administration burden is making you think twice, get in touch with us here at Grant Starter. We work with experienced Claims Managers that can do all the heavy lifting for you over each quarter of your grant. You can keep your Monitoring Officer happy, get your payments on time and concentrate on doing what you do best – innovate!