It is reasonable to estimate that the Western European countries make up to €2bn available to innovation-led organisations every year in the form of Research & Development grant funds. In addition, every EU organisation will be able to access a share of the €100bn of Research & Innovation grant funding under the Horizon Europe Program that will launch in January 2021. Just to be clear – grant funding is as close as any organisation is going to get to free money – there is no loan to repay, no equity to give away and can help launch your business or project.
Why then are there so few ‘grant writers in residence’ working for accelerators, incubators, innovation awards and investment portfolios? Let me share some thoughts on how it might work.
Targeting thematic R&D Grants
Calls for applications for R&D Grants are often thematic – Cleantech, Smart City, Developing Country Impact, etc – and are normally launched with between 2-4months to deadline. A good grant writer will know where to find out about thematic priorities that match well to your group of companies.
Partnering to improve chances of success
Your cohort will contain organisations that are ready-made to collaborate on R&D grant funding projects and the great news is this will improve the number of grants they will be eligible for AND the chance of success in securing funding.
Templating applications to save time
Good grant writers know what information will be applicable to every grant funder and can work in the background to collate and curate this content ready for grant applications. This content can be used again and again – and can be constantly improved based on feedback from the funders.
Taking the pain out of admin
Managing the reporting and financial claims for a grant application (once you have secured the funding and have a live project) is simple – if you know what you are doing. A good grant writer can take all the pain out of managing R&D grant administration to let your entrepreneurs focus on their business. Once you have secured 10 grants, your ‘grant writer in residence’ will be self-funding!
Leveraging other funding
Generally, grant funding for R&D projects will cover between 50%-100% of project costs. That means your cohort can stretch the investment / prize / accelerator funding they have secured with a successful grant (or two!). It is entirely possible to double or triple your funding without giving up any more equity.
Positive messages about your cohort
The power of positive funding stories being shared on a regular basis involving the organisations in your cohort is significant. It is likely more entrepreneurs will want to be a part of your brand and more investors will be interested to hear about the organisations you are supporting.
In conclusion, a good grant writer can generate a return on investment to your cohort / portfolio / accelerator in excess of 10x over every 12month period. I know this is true because I ran a grant writing business for 10years and have done the math.
If you are interested to find out more – like how to recruit, train and motivate a ‘grant writer in residence’ – get in contact.