22 November 2011

Going for Grants

Going for Grants is a double act between Tom Bathgate and Charles Lucas. Tom's background is in management while Charles is an accountant. They have joined forces to help businesses find grant funding. They operate from Manchester Science Park.

Tom and Charles visited Leeds Inventors Group last month and they are coming to Sheffield Central Library on 5 Dec 2011 at 18:00. Here is a review of their talk when they came to Leeds and here is my photo of Tom in full flow.

The team's central message was that despite austerity there are still plenty of grants and low interest loans but these funds are in no sense free money. The funds have to be identified. Proposals have to be drawn up. Once a grant is awarded or moneys are advanced there are likely to be conditions that have to be complied with. Failure or delay in complying with those conditions can slow the flow of cash or even result in a demand for repayment.

According to its website, Going for Grants assists businesses in five ways:
  • First, it looks for grant or soft loan funding that might be available to meet a business objective. Tom and Charles said at Leeds that they are often asked by businessmen what they should do to qualify for a grant. That is like putting a cart before a horse and it very rarely works. It is much better to plan the business and then look for funding whether grants, loans or even equity investment. In the talk I mentioned crowd funding and a new crowd funding venture by Amanda Boyle called Bloom VC. Tom, who is Scottish, had heard of Amanda through her work with Scottish Enterprise. Looking for available funding is not easy for a busy businessman or woman unless you know where to look. Tom and Charles do know where to look and they offer a preliminary search for £85 plus VAT.
  • Once it has reported, Going for Grants offers its clients a free consultation to discuss any funding opportunities that may have come to light.
  • If a funding opportunity is identified and the client wants to go for it Going for Grants will help him or her prepare a grant or loan application. Applications for the grant itself are usually made on a contingency basis but the company does charge for some services such as drafting a credible business plan.
  • If a grant is awarded Going for Grants helps the client meet deadlines and comply with conditions to make sure that the funds keep flowing.
  • Finally, they provide ongoing support in all aspects of the programme.
If you were not at Leeds last month it is certainly worthwhile coming to Sheffield on 5 Dec. The Sheffield Inventors Group meets the first Monday of most months and it has a good programme of speakers lined up. If anybody wants to discuss this article or any other topic he or she can call me on 0800 862 0055 or contact me through Facebook, Linkedin, Xing, twitter or through my contact form.

07 November 2011

FabLabs - Jane Keats on "Factories of the Future"

On 5 Aug 2011 I wrote about the Manchester FabLab and the global FabLab network in my IP North West blog. On 21 Sept and 3 Oct 2011 the Leeds and Sheffield Inventors Groups heard from a FabLab user.

Jane Keats, a young New Zealand designer who is principal of Studio 52, presented "Factories of the Future", an introduction to the FabLab movement and additive manufacturing. Jane's slides cover the following topics:
1. FabLabs
2. The next industrial revolution
3. Factory of the Future
4. Open Innovation, and
5. Her Personal Experiences.
Here is a review of her talk to the Leeds Group on the 21 Sept 2011 in the LIG blog.

We in the Inventors Club are very supportive of the FabLab movement and I have advised and assisted the Manchester FabLab on a pro bono basis. On 12 Oct 2011 I chaired an Introduction to Intellectual Property and Licensing where patent attorney Tom Hutchinson, intellectual property solicitor Michael Sandys and I gave presentations. I shall upload our slides to Slideshare and make them accessible through this blog in the next few days.

As the Leeds review states, Bradford City Council and others have plans to set up a FabLab in Keighley and I have been in touch with the local authority to offer it our support. I brought the FabLab movement to the attention of Councillor Mehboob Khan, deputy chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, at the LEP Summit on 9 Sept 2011 so there is every chance that the project will get the support it needs. I will keep you posted.