An AssessorsViewpoint onTSB Funding Applications Barney Craggs
Why Listen to Me?● ~18 years in data driven industry● >14 yrs innovation consultancy● experience in large multi-nationals● and itty bitty startups● raised private equity● tried and failed to raise public funds...
TSB Assessor Experience● across all of ICT since 2010● 24 plus competition rounds● hundreds of applications● panel moderator > 5 times
Heads-Up● NO secret recipes for getting it right● assessors are human, were subjectively objective● it is a competition, where you are pitted against each other● the application is a business plan
Pre-Flight Checklist● re-read the competition brief● read ALL of the guidance notes● make sure your project fits FIRST● check your business plan thinking then and only then...
Ten Golden Rules (1-5)● answer all questions to the guidance● dont assume common knowledge● grammar, spelling & punctuation matter● you are space limited, so check it● appendices; supporting & to size
Ten Golden Rules (6-10)● avoid the cliches● if evidence is king,● the queen is awareness● get it proof read● right documents BY the deadline
Abstract● brief summary of application● set the scene● what, why, how● keep language at high level● please dont just cut & paste from Q1
Gateway● state exactly how your project fits competition scope● if it meets more than one aspect then state it● dont get carried away, simplicity counts● again please dont just cut & paste from Q1
Gateway Example"We are looking at the feasibility of building acloud based analysis platform for white-labelling to the agricultural sector based uponreal-time weather data collected & distributedby/to farmers using a mobile application.This directly addresses the challenge scope ofthe competition in being an enabling platformfor hyper-local crowd sourced data analysis.Additionally it meets the scope in being amobile location aware input / output device."
Q1 - Business OpportunityDO● clearly & simply articulate the business opportunity● what problems must be overcome?● define a customer need● show how project meets that need
Q1 contDONT● explain everything about project● waffle● assume everyone knows the industry
Q2 The MarketDO● define market shape, size & changes● segment & explain● quantify & justify targets● say how will you get to market● give a suggested RoI for project
Q2 contDONT● forget to align market with project● quote meaningless, inappropriate or nothing but figures● be scared of being ambitious
Q3 - ExploitablesDO● clearly state exploitable outputs● describe how you will exploit them● highlight research & dissemination● discuss potential impact on YOUR business
Q3 contDONT● confuse impact with internal benefit● forget to project upto 5yrs out● assume that there is nothing to disseminate
Q4 - BenefitsDO● cover all 3 required areas,● from both internal & external angle● describe how you will address benefit● highlight & explain negative impacts not forgetting to include in Q7 Risks
Q4 contDONT● assume an implicit benefit (esp Environmental) - explain them● hide/forget negative impacts● give vague claims
Appendix A● 5 pages to SUPPORT section 1● dont over run or repeat yourself● support customer needs & market● benefit justification / evidence useful
Q5 - Technical Approach● no hard & fast rules here● avoid screeds of technical data● summarise project plan, milestones, work-packages & allocations● briefly justify choice of PM approach● UTILISE appendix B
Q6 - Innovation● describe evidence you have used to assure yourself of novelty (web, patents, academic)● state your expectation of freedom to operate (or any restrictions)● remember you have to prove novelty
Q6 contFOR EACH CLAIM OF INNOVATION● briefly & clearly describe innovation● clearly align to scope● succinctly define innovation type (technical or commercial) & level (incremental or step)
Q7 - Risk● risk analysis is critical● mitigate, dont omit high risk● think laterally esp. on commercial risk● include negative impacts from Q4● utilise full risk register in appendix B● include likelihood & impact analysis
Appendix B● 5 pages to support section 2● suggested use being; ○ project gantt plan (1pg) ○ work package descriptions (2pgs) ○ risk register (1pg) ○ any innovation support (1pg)
Q8 - Applicant Capability● summary of applicant(s) background & how it is relevant to project● use Appendix C for more detail● justify partnerships & sub-contracts● be cautious of ex-UK labour
Q9 Financials● remember we are looking at VFM● assessors ONLY see summary● fully complete financial tables● ensure figures tie up with response● give brief breakdown of costs by work packages and allocations
Q9 cont● justify extreme costs (esp capitals or sub-contracts)● common queries include; ○ capital cost apportionment ○ marketing / sales activities & ○ patent / legal costs
Q10 Additionality● easiest points in application● guidance is very explicit, so follow it● do not waffle ...
Q10 contFIRSTLY your response MUST clearly state how support will increase your R&D spend in UKYou need to demonstrate this project is NOT somethingyou would normally be doing in course of your business
Q10 contSECONDLY answer either, or both;● "Why you are not wholly self funding."● "How TSB support allows the project to progress differently."Answer both for belts & braces butdont waffle.
Recap● Read brief, scope and guidance● Follow it!● Keep it readible● Proof read● Submit on time