The microgrant financing system was developed by the Grant and Experts Service and launched in August 2015 in order to expand the set of grant support instruments available for innovative startups in Skolkovo.
The idea behind the creation of microgrants came about due to the evident fact that most startups do not need to build a factory right away; first of all they need to solve their own small primary challenges in order to allow further progress. Having analysed the current state grant support mechanisms we saw that no such financial instrument existed in the Russian technology market. Consequently, 4 basic microgrant programmes have been developed for startups: “Intellectual Property Rights”, “Prototyping”, “Testing”, “Participation in Exhibitions and Conferences”.
The particular value and singularity of microgrants consist in the fact that they help startups to reach concrete measurable objectives within short periods, by way of advancement or reimbursement of expenses. For example, if a startup needs to undertake all the 4 stages of project development, from intellectual property protection to prototyping, it will be able to complete all these stages within a calendar year with the help of microgrants. Or, if a Skolkovo participant is already in possession of a tested prototype, which now needs to be demonstrated to investors, he will be able to attend several exhibitions during a year with the help of microgrants. Moreover participants have the opportunity to choose the type of funding: advance issuance of the microgrant prior to the event or reimbursement of the expenses incurred from microgrant funds.
This support means that Skolkovo participants now have the opportunity to create a prototype, patent it, reach agreements with investors at an exhibition or conference, or conduct testing of the sample, etc. Thus, by taking advantage of microgrant support, Skolkovo Foundation participants can channel any returns or money saved to their further development, which in turn will increase the number of more mature projects at the market in general.
The advantages of microgrant programmes are: