The innovation of new technologies and research is a pivotal part of building sustainable business models and improving lives through an advancing economy. Innovation, however, can be both expensive and time-consuming, especially for small businesses and individuals who lack the necessary funding to see their projects to fruition.
In order to combat the issue of funding, many unique innovation grant funds have been established across Canada in an effort to provide promising projects with the required funding to see them through to completion. Funds can range from focusing on advancing health and sciences, to creating Canadian media, or the development of unique new products. These funds often emphasize projects that have the potential to improve Canadian lives, whether by providing job opportunities, developing advanced technologies used for saving lives, or enriching day-to-day living.
Applying for an innovation grant can be a daunting task, but with perseverance and a great deal of preparation, small businesses and innovators can benefit substantially through successfully completing the process. In order to successfully reap the benefits of one of the many funds available, it’s important to take several preparatory steps to demonstrate a projects worth and your capabilities as a business or individual to see it through.
1. Compile research and explain the development process
One of the key pieces of information required to substantiate a grant request is the research and development processes behind the project. Innovation funds require a substantial degree of verifiable research to support a project, and in the case of products, a detailed development plan is necessary.
Compiling research and development plans into a single cohesive resource isn’t always enough on its own, however. It’s important to understand the language innovation funds are looking for and to communicate a project’s ideas in a way that utilize it. Outside of presenting information using the correct terms and language a fund is looking for, its vital to provide the information in as concise a form as possible, without sacrificing important details.
2. In the case of products, develop a prototype
Demonstrating the possibilities of a product is most effectively accomplished through a prototype. While prototyping can prove difficult for some technologies without initial funding, providing a tangible prototype is perhaps the best proof of concept an innovation fund could ask for. Prototypes not only demonstrate the possibilities of a product, but also the ability an innovator or business has to follow through on an idea.
3. Explain the merits of the team or individual behind the project
All too often, businesses and individuals develop an interesting concept but lack the required skills to make it a reality. Innovation funds encounter a lot of requests throughout any given year, and many are deemed unsuitable for grants based on an inability to demonstrate the skills required to complete the project. Breaking down the skills and abilities of each member participating in a project is important, and will help present the project in a better light.
4. Exemplify the sustainability of a project
Before being approved for an innovation fund, it’s important to prove that a project is sustainable. A detailed breakdown of how resources will be allocated, as well as goals and deadlines, and a detailed business plan are all integral to successfully showing innovation funds that their investment will not be wasted.
5. How does a project benefit Canadian lives?
As previously mentioned, one of the key criteria innovation funds examine is how a project could benefit Canadian lives. It is important to highlight and focus on the unique ways a new product or technology could enhance Canadian living. While sometimes difficult to quantify, providing as much detail as possible will dramatically increase the odds of an innovation fund seriously looking at a project.
While these are just a few steps commonly shared between innovation funds, it’s important to examine how each fund operates and their individual criteria. With time, effort, and a lot of innovation, these funds can help make an idea into reality.