11.04.24 Know-how

Accelerating SME growth with funding

The world thrives on innovation. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) creating high-risk, high-reward research and development (R&D) projects can be the key to unlocking groundbreaking solutions that can disrupt markets and propel businesses to new heights. However, the path to turning visionary ideas into tangible reality is often paved with financial hurdles.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of R&D grant funding, exploring its benefits, challenges, and strategies for success. We’ll also shed light on an innovative solution that addresses one of the most significant hurdles in grant funding—cash flow constraints.

Research & Development Grant Funding

Amidst the excitement of innovation lies the daunting reality of funding constraints. R&D projects, by their very nature, entail high risks and uncertain outcomes. Research & development grants offer substantial financial support to mitigate the risks associated with ambitious R&D projects.

Often referred to as “non-dilutive” funding, these grants provide a critical injection of capital without requiring businesses to relinquish equity. Beyond the financial boost, R&D grants play a pivotal role in expediting project timelines, accelerating time-to-market, and establishing a competitive edge in the marketplace.

However, navigating the R&D grant landscape can be complex and the competition is fierce. To maximise your chances of success, seek a funding expert who specialises in securing and managing these grants.

Post-Funder Decision & Ongoing Compliance

Once a funder has assessed an application and approved funding, a rigorous process of post-award management and compliance entails. This can take many forms but usually involves a mix of project and company financial verification and validation.

When the Grant Offer Letter has been rewarded the project can officially start. Most funders actively monitor activities during the grant project, often tying funding tranches to the accuracy of ongoing company reports and achievement of agreed milestones.

By enlisting the help of a professional organisation, such as Granted, to assist with post-award due diligence and administrative project management, you’ll benefit from:

  • Streamlined pre-project set-up
  • Expert reporting support
  • Seamless project closure
  • More time to focus on innovating
  • Advanced Grant Funding

While R&D grants offer invaluable support for innovation, they often come with a caveat: the timing of the payments. Typically, grant payments are made quarterly in arrears meaning that businesses must first incur expenses before receiving reimbursement. This delay can create substantial cash flow challenges.

For example, if a company secures a £500,000 grant for a 12-month project, they would need to cover £125,000 in expenses each quarter, with a percentage of this amount (e.g. 70%) reimbursed by the grant award body after a waiting period.

With the timing of payments on UK grants, a company may need to fund the first quarter and then two-thirds of the second quarter before receiving funds back from the grant award body. In our example above, that would be nearly £210,000 of cash outlay before receiving £87,500 back in grant award.

SPRK Capital – cash flow solution

Enter SPRK Capital R&D Advance Funding, a pioneering solution that addresses the cash flow gap inherent in grant funding.

SPRK Capital is a leading UK innovation finance lender to SMEs through the SPRK Innovation Term Loan, SPRK R&D Advance Funding and SPRK Grant Advance – and a Granted partner. SPRK provides advanced funding options that empower businesses to access a significant portion of their expected quarterly grant payments upfront, easing the burden of upfront expenditure.

Here’s how it works: SPRK finances up to 80% of the anticipated quarterly grant payment at the beginning of each expenditure period. This infusion of capital allows businesses to bridge the gap between expenses and reimbursement, providing much-needed liquidity to fuel innovation initiatives. In the example above, the company would receive £70,000 at the start of each quarter, significantly reducing their peak spending requirement and alleviating cash flow pressures.

Importantly, businesses repay the advances and any accrued interest upon receiving the grant funds, minimising the impact on cash reserves. This flexible repayment structure ensures that businesses can leverage their grant funding effectively without compromising their financial stability.

R&D grants vs Advance grant funding

Research & Development grants

  • R&D government grants provide significant financial support for high-risk, high-reward research and development projects, mitigating funding risks and accelerating project timelines.
  • These grants are non-dilutive, meaning businesses retain full equity ownership, and they contribute to reducing time to market and establishing competitive differentiation.
  • Specialist firms, such as Granted, offer expertise in navigating the competitive grant landscape, guiding from application to post-award management to maximise success.

Advance grant funding

  • Advance grant funding solutions, such as those offered by SPRK Capital, address cash flow challenges associated with R&D grants by providing upfront financing for a portion of expected grant payments.
  • With advance funding, businesses can access a significant portion of their grant funds at the beginning of each expenditure period, reducing the burden of upfront expenditure and alleviating cash flow constraints.
  • Repayment of advances and interest occurs upon receipt of grant funds, minimising the impact on cash reserves and enabling businesses to optimise their financial resources for innovation and growth.

In essence, R&D grant funding and advanced grant financing represent powerful tools for SMEs to drive innovation and growth. By leveraging these resources effectively, businesses can unlock new opportunities, disrupt industries, and shape the future of technology and business.

If you’re ready to embark on your innovation journey, contact us to explore the possibilities of R&D grants and advanced funding solutions.


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