Proof of Concept Fund


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Grant funding to support the development and commercialisation of innovation in the West Midlands

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Proof of Concept Fund

  1. 1. Funding for Innovation Advantage Proof of Concept Fund
  2. 2. <ul><li>The Advantage Proof of Concept Grant Fund (APoC) is being managed on behalf of Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund by; </li></ul><ul><li>University of Warwick Science Park; </li></ul><ul><li>Connect Midlands; </li></ul><ul><li>Malvern Hills Science Park/Central Technology Belt; </li></ul><ul><li>Staffordshire BIC ; </li></ul><ul><li>Wolverhampton University . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Fund is worth c. £5.9 m and designed to support the development of new technologies, products and business ideas prior to market entry. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Fund opened on 10 th October 2008 and made its first offers on 23 rd December 2008. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To date 126 formal offers have been made. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Of these 10 have been to university derived projects, the balance has been a mix of established and early stage businesses including some very early inventions of pre-commercialisation entrepreneurs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Fund will cease to make awards in March 2010. </li></ul></ul>About the Fund
  3. 3. <ul><li>Only companies from the West Midlands are eligible for the Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Applicants to the Fund must fall into one of the following categories; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A University; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Small or Medium Enterprise (as defined by the European Commission); </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Companies must not have exceed European De Minimus threshold (€500k over three years) through the award of this grant; </li></ul><ul><li>All Sectors are eligible to apply although priority may be given to: </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced materials </li></ul><ul><li>Transport technology </li></ul><ul><li>Energy technology </li></ul><ul><li>Healthcare technology </li></ul><ul><li>Digital media </li></ul>However, grants are awarded on the merits of a project assessed by both the Advantage Proof of Concept Grant Fund and an independent award panel. Eligibility I
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Fund is able to provide funding of up to 75% of project costs, not exceeding £30k, for any eligible project, whether it has been developed in a university, is the subject of a new start-up or is part of a development project within an existing company. </li></ul><ul><li>Only external costs are eligible to be funded by the grant and they are anticipated to be in the following areas; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Market Assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IPR Protection of innovative ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outline Business Planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic Prototyping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited Management support to establish whether the business concept could be commercially exploitable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Successful applications will have effectively articulated how the project advances a particular, novel innovation towards commercial reality. </li></ul>Projects must be able to evidence potential for viable commercialisation in order to be successful! Eligibility II
  5. 5. Application Process The time and effort required by an application should be commensurate with the chance of success. Four stage process that typically takes between 20 and 60 days. Step 1 30-40 minute eligibility interview 40% Proceed Step 2 Outline Application 80% Proceed Step 3 Full Application 55% Proceed Step 4 Grant Award Panel 80% Awarded
  6. 6. The Advantage Proof of Concept Fund is a competitive Fund; between 20% and 40% of all those who enquire are successful. However, the Fund is seeking to award a balanced range of grants to both pre-commercialisation entrepreneurs developing brand new innovations and established businesses with ongoing R&D. Applications, therefore, need to best position themselves to be successful. What is APoC looking for?
  7. 7. Critical Application Considerations I Innovation Projects must be innovative in the context of the whole market. They must show a differential advantage that is a step change over what is available with IP protection where applicable. They must define the concept that is being proven. Risk The more applicants can reduce the risk of a project, the easier it is for us to fund. This will not always be possible but information on the applicant’s previous successes, milestones met on the project to date, customer engagement etc is essential. Impact The Fund is seeking to support businesses that will grow rapidly and create economic impact in the West Midlands (new jobs, new businesses, safeguarded jobs etc). This is an essential part of our application process and companies should provide as much detail as possible and be prepared to defend their claims. When reviewing an application, the Fund considers the merit of that application against three critical categories.
  8. 8. Critical Application Considerations II There are some notable areas that many applications have failed on and applicants should do their utmost to address the following areas; 7. Pictures/diagrams - where appropriate, the Panel would like to see these as part of the application if it helps the assessment and understanding of the project. 6. Differentiate between proof of concept and development work. If part of a project (e.g. building a market ready web app) appears to take the project beyond proof of concept it will most likely be rejected. 5. Applicants must clearly explain what concept they are proving and how each element of the application contributes to this. 4. As opposed to Market Assessment the Grant WILL NOT FUND marketing. 3. A clear breakdown in the project plan/milestones of what individual items/services the grant will fund. 2. Either a prioritised market assessment element of the project or a clear description of the market assessment done in particular focussing on customer engagement and feedback. 1. A clear understanding of what is required to commercialised the innovation both in terms of the additional funding involved, the routes to market and some evidence of commercial engagement.
  9. 9. You will be able to lodge your enquiry at; Alternatively, you should contact the closest Advantage Proof of Concept Grant Fund office to you; Making an Application Contact Name Contact Number Staffordshire BIC 0845 074 3527 Competitiveness Centre Wolverhampton University 0845 074 3528 Malvern Hills Science Park 0845 074 3529 University of Warwick Science Park 0845 074 3320
  10. 10. Thank you