Cradle’s CIP300 grant is more than free money : Page 2 of 2
By Anushia Kandasivam August 29, 2017
Cradle grants are a give-and-take
Tong reveals that there is still some misconception about the Cradle grants – some applicants tend to see it as a traditional government grant that just provides money that they do not have to pay back and nothing else, which leads to issues of accountability and what they do with the money.
The grant is actually a two-way street. The CIP300 programme does not just give recipients money but also other forms of support. Recipients will benefit from a structured mentorship and coaching programme provided by Proficeo Consultants, which also manages Cradle’s successful Coach and Grow Programme.
The coaching will include internal training to support creation, innovation and commercialisation. Recipients will also have the opportunity to be matched with potential investors and Cradle’s partners.
In return, recipients will have to meet their promised targets – the startups’ progress is closely monitored to see that they do this and, if they achieve certain success triggers, to pay the money forward through the Cradle funnel so that Cradle can continue to support other entrepreneurs.
With CIP300, as with all previous Cradle grants, recipients sign an advancement agreement and not a grant agreement. The reason it is structured in this way, explains Tong, is that the funding amount that is approved for a startup will not be given in full directly but rather in stages and upon the startup keeping to promised deliverables. The mentor will also assist here by keeping the startup focused.
“We can’t be focusing on you for the next 24 to 36 months. As a startup, you have to come up with a commercial product in about 12 months. If you can’t do that, you are no longer a startup,” says Tong.
“It is important for applicants to understand that this is not just free money and they have to be accountable for their progress. If at any point in time they intentionally do not deliver as promised, Cradle has the right to reclaim any money that they have taken,” she states.
Grants should not be taken for granted
Again, it comes back to the maturity level of the startup at the point of application – an immature startup may well feel it deserves the grant for what it believes is an amazing idea when all it has is an idea, but Cradle does not just look at good ideas.
Besides ideas, business strategy and market knowledge, Cradle looks closely at the team. “We look at whether they have passion, commitment and camaraderie, and at their overall character because a lot of the time startups fail because of conflict within the founding team and different ideas of where they want the business to go,” reveals Tong.
Because the CIP300 programme runs for 12 to 18 months, Cradle is also picking out entrepreneurs who are committed and who have a certain level of humility that will make working with them easy for Cradle.
Tong says that Cradle does not give special treatment to any applicant even if it has an incredible idea or a ‘celebrity’ founder who has had previous successful startups. “This is a level playing field. Everybody gets an opportunity to get assistance from the government.”
All this means that entrepreneurs and startups have to be the cream of the crop to be picked for the CIP300 programme.
Despite this being a grant, applicants should not take it for granted, she continues. “They should be serious at this early stage and instead of just focusing on the grant money or completing the grant programme they should work on making themselves sustainable and work towards helping make the ecosystem sustainable.”
Tong adds that as Cradle is introducing a new grant system with CIP300 after about 10 years of the old system, applicants may experience some technical glitches during the application process. If this happens, applicants should not hesitate to get in touch with Cradle to work out any issue.
“We are innovating too, which is why we’re implementing this new system to make things easier in the long run. We operate the way startups do, so we always have to innovate, grow and change with the ecosystem,” says Tong.
More details on CIP300, including eligibility criteria, can be obtained here.