How We Won the r&D Associates $149,000 Grant
This week we are looking at one of the best technology grants in Alberta: r&D Associates.
- Awesome technology grant – r&D Associates $149,000
- The most important sections of the application
- Big tips on how we won it, and how you can too
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When I started writing grants five years ago, I didn’t know much about how technology companies work.
Then I started writing grants for them. And when you write a grant for anything, you quickly know just about everything that is going on in a business.
Because the grant application asks for EVERYTHING!
- Human resources
- Export strategy
- Market plan
- Mark pull
- Competitive analysis
And here is my big learning about technology companies: almost all the expenses are labour.
When I talk to technology companies about grants, they need funding to cover staffing costs. Plain and simple.
Enter the Alberta Innovates $149,000 r&D Associates grant (the “r” is lower case; I don’t know why).
This grant acts as a wage subsidy for a software developer.
Let’s begin with an overview of this grant:
INDUSTRY R&D ASSOCIATES PROGRAM | ALBERTA INNOVATES TECHNOLOGY FUTURES (AITF):
Value: Consists of an annual stipend of $55,000 and an annual research allowance of $7,000.
The Industry r&D Associates Program (the “Program”) has been designed to support innovation and creative problem solving in Alberta Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The purpose of the Program is to stimulate the development and commercialization of novel technological and/or business solutions, while generating material risk-weighted returns on investment to the Province of Alberta based on economic, social and/or environmental metrics. The Program provides a salary grant for r&D activities for hiring a Graduate of a Master’s or PhD program within five years of the application date. The funding term is up to a maximum of two years with Year 2 funding being contingent on satisfactory performance during the first year and upon proof of continued need.
- Be an SME or large company
- Exist as a provincially, extra-provincially or federally registered corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship which has legal status to operate on a for-profit basis in Alberta, and which retains a significant physical presence in Alberta
- Be able to provide evidence of the viability of the technology or innovation and its market value
- Is prepared to employ the r&D Associate as a Full Time Employee, not a Contractor
- Have either appropriate in-house research facilities or access to external research facilities
- Identify other sources of funding
- Relocation expenses incurred by the r&D Associate
- Scientific materials and supplies used by the r&D Associate in the Project
- Books, periodicals and journal subscriptions used by the r&D Associate in the Project
- Professional development and technical training for the r&D Associate
- Library, computer hardware and software, and minor equipment costs
- Travel expenses incurred by the r&D Associate
- Any other cost which AITF pre-approves in writing as an Eligible Expense
Contact: Dayna Misener | 780.450.5256 | email@example.com
HOW WE WON IT
Now I want to tell you how we won this grant.
Once we found the grant, we did the next important step: Meet The Grant Agency!
DO NOT EVER APPLY TO A GRANT WITHOUT FIRST SPEAKING TO THE GRANT AGENCY.
I want you to treat this meeting as if you were pitching to the sharks on SharkTank.
What I’m about to show you works so effectively, you will most likely know you won the grant EVEN before you apply! Seriously.
My proprietary 15-steps to winning your grant agency meeting is here: https://albertabusinessgrants.ca/free-resources/
The most important sections are “Product on a Page” and “Question and Answer Document.” You need to easily explain your invention or project on a page.
If you can’t do that, you should not go to the Grant Tank because they will EAT YOU ALIVE! I kid you not.
I’ve seen really smart people go in there unprepared and just get crushed.
In this particular case, the client followed our system. The grant agency came to the client’s office, and they “hit if off.”
All the details of the meeting right down to the length of meeting and agenda were thought through.
Please don’t take this as boasting, but I learned to prepare for these meetings when I was the executive assistant to Alberta’s Leader of the Official Opposition.
So many people were showing up unprepared. The few that did show up prepared were taken so MUCH MORE SERIOUSLY.
YOU WANT TO BUILD CREDIBILITY WITH THE GRANT AGENCY! YOU WANT A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP!
The Most Important Sections of The Application
Here are a couple interesting learnings from this grant win.
1. “THE ASSOCIATE MAY BE A CURRENT EMPLOYEE WITH LESS THAN TWELVE (12) MONTHS EMPLOYMENT WITH THE APPLICANT.” Going back to cover expenses in grants is so rare! What an awesome opportunity this grant is if you recently hired a developer.
How great is that?
2. Market pull. The grant agency wanted us to demonstrate the demand for this product. I spent a lot of time on the business plan – NOT THE APPLICATION – on this section. We had to go back a few times to get it right.
SECRET TIP: IF YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GRANT AGENCY, THEY WILL ACTUALLY WORK WITH YOU TO MAKE YOUR APPLICATION GREAT.
3. Any guess on the other most important section of this grant application? If you said “competitive analysis” you would be correct.
Thankfully my client had an awesome analysis done, so we had a great draft to start.
Key learning: you need a solid business plan on some of these larger grants. If you don’t have a good business plan, you need to look at the $10,000 voucher: https://fund.albertainnovates.ca/Fund/CommercializationServices/MicroVouchersVouchersandProductDemonstration.aspx
BIG TIP: We’ve covered a lot in this blog, but here is the critical piece: speak to the agency before you write. I’ve drafted a blog on the questions you should ask. Here it is: https://albertabusinessgrants.ca/six-questions-to-ask-a-grant-agency-before-you-write
Have a great week!