We hope this clears up your doubts and gives some insight into what we're looking for.
How do you prove the business has existed for a year?
Your company does not need to have been registered on Companies House for a period of a year or more; however, you will need to provide financial accounts including a business bank account in the name of your business with transactions for a period greater than a year.
If your company and business accounts have been dormant in the last year, then your company was not actively trading for the last year, and so would not be eligible.
Why do you require companies to be operating for more than a year?
We are not looking to fund business as usual or a brand new start-up company, as this award is designed for an up and running company which is looking to make a step-change and would use the award to scale up and grow their innovative company, or looking to carry out an innovative project which would make the company a market leader.
The award is designed to help business women achieve their vision for their business and become a leader in their field.
Can I apply if I operate a charity?
Yes, but only if your charity has a registered business arm or business side, and this has been operating for a year or more. This would need to be registered as a company on Companies House. If your charity does not have a business operation then you would not be eligible to apply.
How will you receive the money?
The individual will receive the money into a business account. Therefore, it is advised that you apply only if you can make decisions about the money and have control over this and the business e.g. CEO, someone in a senior decision-making position.
How do you define a senior decision-maker?
You shouldn’t have to ask permission to apply and implement the project and access the funding. We are not looking for specific job titles, but you will need to clearly explain in your application that you have the authority to access and apply the funding to the business should you be successful.
Do I have to use the non-financial element of the award?
Yes. This an essential part of the support on offer.
We want to know how you will make use of the full award package: financial and non-financial and this will be assessed under Question 5 on the application form: Plan for the award. For example, you can use the money funded through the award to pull in more support and make money from this money. Leverage other investments; it’s not just the money that makes the scheme important but the advice you receive as well.
If I’m not eligible for the competition, can I get involved in another way?
Yes, absolutely. The Building Success events are open to all female innovators.
If you aren’t able to attend one of the events, the best thing is to make contact with Innovate UK and we will advise on what else we can offer you.
Can you apply in conjunction with other Innovate UK schemes?
Yes, you can put other Innovate UK applications in, however, not for the same project.
If the scheme is not for women that are already a huge success, how would you define huge success?
We are looking to support women who will gain maximum value from an award. We are looking for evidence that the support on offer will help them to achieve their ambitions for their business, for example launch a new innovative product to market.
You will need to demonstrate how the award is going to generate a difference to your business in a measurable way.
Are you eligible if you’ve been successful in another field unrelated to your business e.g. academia?
Yes, you can be successful in other areas, as long as you can prove the business you are entering is still on the road towards success and fits the criteria for the scheme.
Are you at a disadvantage if you’ve previously been awarded Innovate funding?
There is no reason (from an eligibility point of view) why you should not put in application. However, it’s worth considering the following:
- In terms of added value from the award, how will you make a really strong case compared to someone new to the awards?
- How would you benefit from full support package – over and above what you have already got from Innovate UK?
- We do want to build the pool of amazing women innovators that we can support and promote with our awards.
Are devices favoured?
There are no favoured applications. Products and services are given the same consideration.
Does the project supported by the scheme have to run for 12 months?
Yes, the intention of the award is to support activities over a 12-month period, and so the funding is released in three parts throughout the year (20%/60%/20%). You could not obtain all the funding up-front, however, you could run multiple small projects or initiatives over the year period, which all combine to produce a step-change in your company.
If you want to carry out a project which lasts more than 12 months, you would need to demonstrate how you would fund the remaining work of the project and the impact the award had on your business.
Is the £50,000 award 100% funded?
Yes. We do not require match-funding because the funding is de minimus.
What level of impact do you expect from £50,000?
Examples from the 2016 award holders include: employing new members of staff, accessing new markets, increasing market share, finding new partners, proof of concept, demonstrators, product testing, leveraging significant levels of additional investment.
Can I use the award to obtain more funding?
You cannot use the award as matched funding for other competitions, as this award would be counted as State Aid, and could not be used to secure more state aid.
The award should help to strengthen your position to secure additional investment.
Can I claim less than the full £50,000?
The award is designed to be fully awarded in order to make the biggest impact on the business. If you have already claimed close to the maximum level of de minimus funding allowed in a 3-year period then you should not apply.
Please check with your finance or accounting department, as de minimus is a specific type of state aid and has different rules.
Can you have collaborators?
Yes, however, the application should be about you as an individual, and should be written and submitted by you. You can mention how you plan to work with collaborators, but the award is for you.
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