Need the cash to get your project off the ground? With the Ideas Fund Innovators re-launching this week we asked past winners, Bertie Watkins and Miles Hancock, for their tips on making the most of the £1,000 funding and applying in the first place…
How have you used the money?
Bertie: We wanted to make a free participation project for young people who don't usually think they have a voice. So we used the money for two things: to get the best mentors we could for the participants and to pay for an Arts Award certificate and moderation.
Miles: Over the past few months I have composed a three-movement concerto and used the money to pay a beatboxer, turntablist, laptop DJ, orchestra and conductor. I have booked a venue and a sound engineer and teamed up with a promoter.
What do you wish you had done differently?
Miles: I wish I had got a promoter involved with the event sooner. It would have given me much more time to concentrate on composing, rather than spending a lot of time trying to book venues, players and marketing the event. I also wish I had sought additional funding from other organisations sooner after receiving the IdeasTap grant.
Bertie: We missed a window for further funding opportunities, but this turned out to be the best thing for us. It meant we did a trial run of the project. So it's less about what we would have done differently and more about what we learnt from things going wrong. One thing that is a bit simpler is advertising and marketing: next time we're going to do much more in terms of outreach.
What advice would you give to future winners?
Miles: Try and assemble a team who are as excited about the project as you are. It can be very difficult to be effective when you are the only one working on your project, especially if you lack experience in certain areas. Also, try and get started on the project as soon as possible.
Bertie: Never expect anything to go as planned. Literally everything we planned never happened. Keep agile, make sure you can adapt to whatever happens and never get downhearted. If you're sat at home, don't let other people look down on it because they're sat in an office with a company that's hell-bent on making more money. Make sure you know you’re working.
What advice would you give to applicants?
Bertie: You need to know that your project is what IdeasTap want to fund. Select what money you want as well – there's no point in trying to make your project fit a funding application if it doesn't. Stick by your project and something will come up.
Miles: Try and think through your idea as thoroughly as you can. If you are awarded the grant for your project, make sure you can pull it off!
Apply for Ideas Fund Innovators for the chance to win £1,000 of funding.