Writing a Winning Funding Application: Tips from the Experts June 16, 2016 RICCentre By Noor Hassan, RIC Centre’s Communications Officer What critical things should a startup have in place before approaching investors / granting agencies? What are the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when seeking funding? How can they increase their chances of success? What kind of government funding is available for early-stage startups? At RIC Centre’s recent Growing Your Business seminar, we invited David Penton, Director of the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII), and Sam Saad, the Program Manager at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to provide answers to questions like these and an overview of how to put together a winning program application. “Once again the RIC Centre has done a great job in assembling an agenda that will be a great benefit to entrepreneurs looking to fund their early stage business,” commented David. Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) SOFII offers repayable term loans with risk-based interest rates and customizable loan structures. There are no fees (except legal counsel fees), no prepayment penalties, and no equity, options, or warrants. Its primary target market is for-profit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) located in Southern Ontario that are innovating within the knowledge-based economy. Ontario Centres of Excellence OCE is a not-for-profit organization created to bridge the gap and create partnerships between Ontario industry, academic institutions and research hospitals. It is a part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). OCE occupies a unique and critical spot in the commercialization continuum helping bridge the funding gap between government-funded R&D and private investment, and helping companies complete the hard-fought journey from technology and product development through to commercial viability, scalability, and market entry. Sam stated, “OCE is here to support high potential, early stage companies who offer measurable positive economic impacts for the province of Ontario. We carefully assess and help de-risk quality early ventures, making them more attractive to the market.” The panel discussion highlighted the importance of government institutions and their resources for startup success. In fact, it went on to show that due to the abundance of government programs and initiatives available to support innovation and entrepreneurship, what serves business owners best is to seek out programs that are the best fit for them and apply to only those. Not only does this save valuable time spent in filling out lengthy and tedious applications, but it also increases the chances of success in acquiring funding through such programs.