With intense competition for government funding meaning that only 5.5% of companies have successful applications in the Smart scheme, entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to funding specialists to ensure that they secure cash for their innovative projects. Funding specialist PNO Consultants have a success rate of 79% for the Smart scheme and have successfully secured funds for projects across a range of sectors, including biotech, energy and high value manufacturing.
PNO is regularly approached by start-ups and more established SMEs that have a great idea but need to identify funds to develop their technology and roll it out to market. They may have heard about government funding and been directed to Smart, Collaborative or Catalyst grants from Innovate UK, but have found that this is where the hurdles begin.
In a recent Guardian article, a number of inventors and businesses expressed their frustration with the government funded Innovate UK schemes. Despite being hailed as supporting businesses of the future by David Cameron in 2010, securing government funding is often found to be time consuming and difficult, so that many applicants give up before they submit their application.
PNO has much experience with these funding streams and the application processes involved. PNO is often called on by these startups and SMEs who have neither the time nor the experience to successfully complete the application. PNO understands that in addition to the questions about the innovation, markets, benefits and the team’s experience, the assessors also want to see risk registers, Gantt charts, finance forms and information on subcontractors.
PNO utilise their Consultants’ extensive experience to streamline the process, bringing the time to prepare and submit an application down from months to just four weeks. The applicant only needs to provide information via a telephone call and a checklist to allow a PNO Consultant to write the application and the required supporting appendices. The applicant can then review and comment on the application before PNO deals with all the administrative requirements during submission.
Once the application is assessed and approved, PNO then continues to support the applicant during contract negotiation with the funding body to ensure that the project can be started as soon as possible, which is a critically important aspect for fast-moving startups with limited resources.
PNO have worked with projects across the spectrum, from proof of market through proof of concept to development of prototype. Often companies are not ready to apply for funding, so PNO can help them to understand how to prepare in order to improve their chances of success when they are in a position to apply. This advice can also put the company in a good place to secure interest from Venture Capitalists or other financing arrangements.
PNO ensures that entrepreneurs can concentrate on their project and daily business activity instead of having to invest a significant amount of time in negotiating the funding landscape. A successful application may mean that the company can avoid having to release equity to fund their projects or can ‘make or break’ the possibility of getting a project to the market.