This month The Business Clinic would like to introduce Fiona Castela of Castela Consulting Ltd

Fiona specialises in grant, tenders and investment plan writing and has agreed to share her tips on how to make a successful funding application.Fiona

With extensive experience, gained managing numerous transnational EU projects within the public and private sectors, she adopts a confident and proactive approach. Along with complex project management expertise she has an in-depth knowledge of corporate business and small business development structures, grant funding, EU methodology and programmes. In these times of uncertainty, particularly with the onset of Brexit, her network reach of over 6000 professionals across all sectors within Europe has generated over 13M Euros of grants to North West companies and charities.

Fiona’s top tips for success in securing funding are:-

• Show real innovation, prove you know your product and the science behind it
• Ensure that your opportunity does not duplicate anything already on the market
• Show your company skills and ability; why are you are more likely to succeed than a competitor
• Describe in detail the business opportunity and the business risk
• Illustrate a thorough understanding of the target market, including routes to market and competitor analysis
• A vital component is to build an effective, strong delivery team, via communication and diplomacy.

The ability to effectively manage financial reporting, create annual budgets, deliver financial targets, monitor impact and achievement against qualitative and quantitative targets under robust internal and external control is crucial in order to appraise, evaluate and recommend action on high risk projects.

Fiona can also advise on COSME, Horizon 2020, ERDF and ESF complex European funding.

Once you are confident that the above recommendations are in place Fiona goes on to offer more tips in the pursuit of a good funding application.

Applications for funding far outweigh the funds available that funders can distribute. The main aim is to give money to Companies that can evidence the impact they will make and where the greatest innovation is. There is much competition and in order to succeed, any application needs to stand out and show that you are well-managed and have sufficient people with the time and skills to manage the project. You must evidence successful project management and have good financial management along with financial accountability.

Fiona’s Top Funding Tips to Make Your Application Stand Out!

1) Understand your motivation – will it help you get to market quicker, develop a new prototype, ensure it matches your business
2) Check the closing date carefully before application completion - late applications will almost always be ignored by every funder
3) Develop a relationship - contact the potential funder; ask questions; any contact prior to application submission may give you valuable information. Help them to help you
4) Understand the criteria and funding objectives - no matter how good your project is, they won't fund it if it doesn't meet their priorities
5) Make the application form clear and concise – but still tell the story
6) Above all – answer the questions that are actually being asked
7) Do your numbers add up? – check and double check
8) Include all of the additional information/documents requested
9) Critique - ask a friend/family to review

Finally, if you fail, get feedback. Don’t be dis-heartened, you can always re-apply.

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