We are fortunate to have quite a lot of public funding available to the games, digital and creative sectors in the UK. Accessing this money however can take a lot of time and effort; most public funding has certain requirements you need to fulfil, such a job creation or innovation. Our funding team has put together a list of tips to try to help you navigate the public funding landscape.
Understand why the grant exists
All public grants have a reason for existing and it is not to make profits. They always have a remit of some kind – the key is to understand what that remit is. Many regional grants are about creating or safeguarding jobs, so they will require you to commit to numbers of jobs you will create. Others are about making the UK more competitive in some way, e.g. innovation. Make sure you address this in your application and that your project genuinely fits their goals. Do your research; understand why the funding exists and who the organization is that administers it.
Understanding the application process
Take the time to understand the application and assessment process. It is your job to adhere to this. Do not expect the assessors to make a leap of faith if you have not properly responded to every question. Check, check and check again!
Make sure the grant is suitable
Understand whether the funding is best suited to single companies or consortiums. For example, InnovateUK SMART funding is for a single applicant that has all the necessary skills and experience at hand whereas many EU funding schemes are geared towards multinational consortiums that complement each other’s capabilities.
Make sure you are eligible for it
Understand the eligibility criteria. You do not want to spend days or weeks writing an application you are not eligible for because of geographical, sector or other reasons.
Be prepared to manage the project and admin
Public money often takes time to raise, can be a minefield and can be admin heavy. Make sure you prepare for this and have someone who is willing and able to handle the project management and administration.
Do not apply for a grant to cashflow your business
Public money is often not suitable to help cashflow a project. Almost all public money is match funded meaning that you need other sources of funding in place (e.g. angel investment, VC, loans, debt). It is often paid in arrears (you incur the costs and claim some of it back afterwards).
Understand the people who will be assessing your application
Don’t assume that the people you are applying to know your industry or market. Avoid industry-specific jargon and acronyms.
Use the right type of language
Do not use overcomplicated or flowery language. Whilst you should aim to use the entirety of the space available (many grant applications have fixed character limits) do not pad for sake of it. Assessors will spot superfluous text and your core message gets diluted.
Back up all your facts
Evidence any facts, figures and assertions with quotes and references to credible and recent sources. If your market is “growing rapidly” then you need to quantify that (e.g. “10% per annum over last 5 years”) and then evidence that with a credible source such as a trade association or government economic report.
Use a positive tone and be credible
Use a confident and positive tone (“we will enter the market in X”) but do not over-promise (“we will gain 50% market share in 3 months”)…assessors won’t believe you.
Remember that public funding comes from taxpayer sources. The funding body has a duty to protect the public purse. You have a responsibility to use the funds in the way that you said you would. Failing to do that will likely end up in you being required to repay some or all of the money.
Tenshi grants exists to help you gain access to funding for technology innovation projects such as InnovateUK SMART grants and Horizon 2020 funding, so please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with applying for these grants. We can help save you time and money.