Just so we are clear, I’m not going to be going through the standard business plan template where you detail your goals, expected expenses, SWOT analysis, etc. You can get that anywhere. This is just a template for anyone who might be thinking about getting into the Research & Development (R&D) game as it can be extremely lucrative. I’m going to detail what you need to get your house in order so that when you pitch the government for funding (via the official channels they set up) the only reason they have to turn you down won’t have been by any fault of your own.
Legally registered business
To even be considered for R&D funding you will have to have a formally registered business with all its paperwork in order. This means it would have to be tax cleared and just be in good standing with any and all regulatory bodies governing the good conduct of corporations and businesses. This is not to say as an entrepreneur you won’t be able to qualify for R&D funding as somewhat of an individual entity, but you’re basically just taking an unnecessarily difficult road if you approach it this way.
Even the biggest of entrepreneurial figures get their R&D funding through a distinctive company they’re associated with, such as the likes of Richard Branson and his Virgin Group or Elon Musk and SpaceX.
There are lots of R&D projects in the pipeline, just waiting to be funded and the general method of operation with the R&D industry is that there is an element of uniqueness to each project that’s funded. It’s never a specific case of a specific project or idea being put out there and then having the government call for developers to take on the project. It’s more a matter of some technology which is required to solve a specific problem pretty much already being explored and perhaps developed by a certain company, so the industry knowledge you’ll need is not necessarily specific to any market. The industry knowledge you need is knowledge of the industry you choose to be in with your business.
The requirement of relevant experience in order to be in with a chance of getting R&D funding is perhaps just an extension of the requirement for industry knowledge. The only difference is that experience takes more of a practical nature. Bringing Elon Musk and SpaceX back into the fold, when he managed to secure an R&D loan from the government he wasn’t a novice in the industry. He already has a track record for having built technologies related technologies.
Ideally though you don’t want to go for a R&D loan but rather a R&D grant as this would not have to be paid back. The idea you have to provide the solution for, for which funding is to be made available needs to be viable in the market though, but fortunately an extensive set of guidelines are usually made available by the government department seeking to fund R&D projects.