Friday, 28 September 2007

Mark Saunders - Leeds Inventors Group 19/9/2007

Mark Saunders of Yorkshire Forward came to talk to the group about the “Grant for Research & Development” He began by explaining the role of Yorkshire Forward, the Regional Development Agency which is largely responsible for the regional economic strategy. Business growth is obviously important and innovation is a big part of this.

Mark said that there is quite a lot of funding and support available for new ventures – to such an extent that it can all be quite bewildering. What is important is to ensure that you go for a grant / support that fits what you are doing rather than trying to force your idea into an existing grant.

The Grant for Research & Development was set up in 1987 by the DTI to encourage R&D as it was felt that as a country we don’t spend enough on it. Yorkshire and Humberside spend about a third of the national average. The grant is available for SMEs and individuals planning to start a business. The business must involve something which is technologically innovative – something which is new and just as importantly, you must be able to show that there is a market for it. You also need a strong argument as to why you believe you should be given financial support from this source as oppose to any other.

If your bid is successful, in most cases the money is not paid up-front. You spend your money first and then claim that amount back from the grant. It is match-funded ie Yorkshire Forward normally supply around 50% of the funding with the other 50% coming from yourself. Mark went through the features of a successful application – including innovation, presentation, management skills and commercial potential.

Feedback is given on all unsuccessful applications and Mark pointed out that Yorkshire Forward are keen to give support through the application process. More details of Mark’s presentation can be found via this link:-