Why apply for grants

Grant funding is available from a wide range of sources to support SMEs in the development of new products and services. Some grants can be substantial. However, grant funding is competitive and significant effort is required to make submission – so, why would an SME do this?

Firstly, SMEs operate in a competitive environment where bigger players can identify an opportunity, an unmet need in the marketplace and invest significant R&D funds in developing a solution. A grant allows an SME to compete by underwriting the cost of some of the R&D necessary to develop new technology and new products.

An SME may already have developed the basic solution to a market problem, but cash will limit the time taken for commercialisation and market entry of the final product. There is a risk that your market lead will be eroded by later entrants to the market with the resources to enter the market more rapidly. Grant funding is a great way to accelerate an R&D programme and ensure early market entry.

Many grants fund collaborative projects or allow the engagement of sub-contractors; in both cases the grant provides a relatively risk-free opportunity to work with other organisations and test how the relationship works in commercial terms. International grants not only support technical collaboration, but also provide the chance to access and understand foreign markets at low risk.

Successful grant submission is a discipline which requires a thorough understanding of your technical and business objectives, the management processes you use and the market you seek to address. The bid writing process can sharpen your business planning and provide the basic plan for other types of investment in the business as it grows.

When raising funds from banks, business angels or venture capitalists successful grant bids are often taken as external validation of the claims made. The grant raised acts as a piece of “low cost” due diligence for a potential investor. By bidding for a grant not only do you get to funds to advance you technology and products, but you put yourself in a stronger position when seeking future investment.

From a different perspective by funding R&D via grants you avoid the need to seek investors who will want a share of your business. You advance your business and technology without dilution, thus maximizing your benefit from your efforts.

MSC R&D can help you through the entire grant funding process – contact us on 0114 230 8401