Written by Michael Ip
After surviving the “death valley”, social start-ups reach a state where they look to scale up, or need further capital to test their idea. This is when fundings and grants come into picture – the two most popular options for founders. There are several agents providing financial support to social entrepreneurs. From SIE funds led by HKSAR, family foundations philanthropy, to multinational corporates grants, the amount and judging criterion of each program varies. How should they prepare?
Insights shared by Dream Impact partners
At Dream Impact’s 3rd anniversary, we invited three partners seasoned in grant funding – Luke Tam from Kaifong Tour, Andrew Tsui from Rooftop Republic, and Kit Wong from La Violet Education – to share their stories in applying funding to amplify their impact. At the beginning of the session, they pinpointed the importance of adhering to the companies’ vision and mission, as well as looking for a win-win situation with funding agents.
Luke specially put emphasis on the communication with project stakeholders. Open and genuine dialogues can enhance the effectiveness of the project preparation. Andrew, on the other hand, stressed on the gravity of a human resource allocation plan prior to a funding application, so as to prevent work overload and to keep the team’s morale. Kit encouraged the audience to “act first” and develop prototypes as reference, which leads to more effective funding applications.
Practical tips to help you excel in your funding application
Share the behind-the-scenes impact stories to strengthen your connection with funding committees. Invite them to participate in your events so the officials can have a better understanding of the projects, and you can share your ideals to the world.
Last but not least, three speakers also shared some practical tips. Andrew underlined that the preparation of a company data room can facilitate the process of application, as investors and funding agents will need to access these data. Luke suggested that understanding the sector landscape can help social startups to articulate a clear positioning in contributing to a greater impact, while Kit advised interested applicants should look into the theme and KPIs of the different programs, and estimate the resources before submitting proposals to the agent.
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