An Assessors Look at TSB Competition Applications

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An Assessors Look at TSB Competition Applications

  1. 1. An AssessorsViewpoint onTSB Funding Applications Barney Craggs
  2. 2. 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...
  3. 3. TSB Assessor Experience● across all of ICT since 2010● 24 plus competition rounds● hundreds of applications● panel moderator > 5 times
  4. 4. Quick Overview● heads-up points● pre-flight checklist● golden rules● application walkthrough (again)● recap / q&a
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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...
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. Application Walkthrough
  10. 10. Abstract● brief summary of application● set the scene● what, why, how● keep language at high level● please dont just cut & paste from Q1
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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."
  13. 13. Q1 - Business OpportunityDO● clearly & simply articulate the business opportunity● what problems must be overcome?● define a customer need● show how project meets that need
  14. 14. Q1 contDONT● explain everything about project● waffle● assume everyone knows the industry
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. Q2 contDONT● forget to align market with project● quote meaningless, inappropriate or nothing but figures● be scared of being ambitious
  17. 17. Q3 - ExploitablesDO● clearly state exploitable outputs● describe how you will exploit them● highlight research & dissemination● discuss potential impact on YOUR business
  18. 18. Q3 contDONT● confuse impact with internal benefit● forget to project upto 5yrs out● assume that there is nothing to disseminate
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. Q4 contDONT● assume an implicit benefit (esp Environmental) - explain them● hide/forget negative impacts● give vague claims
  21. 21. Appendix A● 5 pages to SUPPORT section 1● dont over run or repeat yourself● support customer needs & market● benefit justification / evidence useful
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. 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)
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 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)
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. Q9 cont● justify extreme costs (esp capitals or sub-contracts)● common queries include; ○ capital cost apportionment ○ marketing / sales activities & ○ patent / legal costs
  30. 30. Q10 Additionality● easiest points in application● guidance is very explicit, so follow it● do not waffle ...
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 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.
  33. 33. Recap● Read brief, scope and guidance● Follow it!● Keep it readible● Proof read● Submit on time
  34. 34. Any questions?
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