It took just a few hours to burn through the £10,000,000 Digital Boost fund. The programme was overwhelmed with applications, and was quickly suspended:
"The current levels of applications are in excess of the available budget for the DigitalBoost Development Grant, therefore new registrations have been suspended. Please check back for regular updates".
The expectation is that not all of the applications will meet the eligibility criteria, and once those have been accounted for, the pot will open to new submissions again. It's hard to say when this might be or if it will happen at all.
Within hours of the programme going live, eight of our clients had been in touch to say they were interested in applying. We quickly put together the proposals for the work in question, which amounted to nearly £250,000. Thankfully, a number of clients managed to get an application in before the programme was suspended.
We've seen so many different kinds of funding programmes, each with their own unique mix of formats, publicity, and eligibility criteria. It can be difficult for folk to keep up with the constantly changing world of funding, so we've put together a couple of pointers to help businesses be prepared for funding opportunities like this in future.
If you see a funding opportunity and you think “I should come up with an idea to get that funding”, then it’s unlikely that it will take off. The best projects and the most successful funding applications are for projects and initiatives that solve real problems, rather than something that’s been shoehorned in.
It takes time to pull a proposal together. The most common question by far that we get from prospective clients is “roughly how much does it cost to build an app”. We get this question so much that we built a calculator to help give people an estimated range. The truth is it’s impossible to pull even a ballpark figure together without getting an understanding of what’s involved. So, if you have a project in mind, don’t wait for the right funding opportunity to come around. Get the conversion started with a development team so that you are prepared.
We’ve seen more funding applications than any individual applicant will have ever written. Lean on the experience of your suppliers, whether it’s your accountant, solicitor, PR professional, or your friendly dinosaur-obsessed app development agency. We know what works and what will trip you up, and most importantly, we really want you to succeed.
It’s hard to navigate the world of fundraising. There’s a lot of noise to cut through, but you need to be listening to the right sources to hear about opportunities. Make sure you’re subscribing to (and reading!) newsletters from relevant bodies. We’ve added a list of some of the ones we’re tuned into below.
If you quietly follow the right hashtags, accounts, and newsletters, you’ll start to hear about funding opportunities, but if you really want to be on the pulse you need to get involved in the conversation. If a friend of yours talks about wanting to make her own ceramics often enough, then you’ll be very likely to let her know if you see that Lidl are stocking pottery wheels in the middle aisle. It’s the same with funding. The more people you talk to about it, the more likely you are to find out about funding (and much more). There’s a vibrant and supportive startup community in Edinburgh, so get stuck in!