News and Articles


6th June 2017

Successful proposal nets £1.8M award for Zeetta Networks


Zeetta Networks announced today that it has been awarded a ground breaking £1.8 million Innovate UK contract to deliver a large-scale demonstration of the capability and commercial potential of its innovative NetOS® technology to manage a complex network infrastructure in a flexible, dynamic and cost-effective manner. The University of Bristol spin-out will be working with Ashton Gate Stadium, to deploy NetOS® throughout, as a ‘first-of-a-kind’ deployment of an open networking technology managing the communications network of a modern stadium.


The SBRI contract was awarded following a winning proposal delivered by Alan Gould of Lightholm Consulting.  Alan is now working with the Zeetta Networks team to deliver this exciting project.

For more details on the project see the full press release.

To find out more about how I can help improve your chances of winning funding and maximise the business impact of the resulting project please get in touch.






2nd May 2017

Innovate UK announce "investment accelerator" pilot.


Looking for a grant, but can't find the matched funding? Want to attract the attention of leading investors? 

Innovate UK has announced a new format for R&D support combining grants with venture capital investment.

Here's the proposal:

Up to 70% of the project funds are awarded as grant in the normal way, but the matching funds are provided by nominated equity investors.





  • awards to single SME's only
  • projects last up to 12 months
  • total costs capped at £150,000 (so up to £105,000 grant and £45,000 equity investment or convertible loans). 

The pilot covers a broad scope within two of Innovate UK's core sectors: "Infrastructure Systems" and "Health and Life Sciences".

 Proposals will need to pass the Innovate UK threshold, and successful applicants will then negotiate the financing deal with the nominated investment partner.

 More details here.

The pilot programme opens on the 8th May. Closing date 5th July.



23rd January 2017

Innovation Grants don't go to the best ideas
- they go to the best grant applications

A recent article in the New Statesman magazine's supplement on technology quoted Eben Upton, inventor of the Raspberry Pi. Applying for government support to develop his idea in 2009 he received the following reply:

Thank you for your application.   … Given the widespread availability of "proper" computers, the rationale for a device that reverts to the early days of computing is not persuasive. 

 Three years later demand for the Pi was running at 700 units a second. 


The need to be scrupulously fair when awarding grants together with high levels of scrutiny and accountability drive processes which attempt to quantify selection criteria and generate comparative measures. These will inevitably introduce implicit biases which work against those ideas that are the most innovative and disruptive. 

Read the full article on LinkedIn


30th November 2016

How grant schemes work, and how to get some

Lightholm is proud to be supporting the Bristol SETsquared Centre.

On February 7th 2017 Alan Gould will be hosting a workshop at the EngineShed on UK and EU Grants and how they work for SME's.


This workshop will include:

  • How grant funding works - the intent and principles
  • The European H2020 and Innovate UK frameworks
  • The application and assessment processes
  • How to deliver a grant-funded project
  • The  benefits and constraints


Visit EventBrite for more details.


13th July 2016

Innovation funding hit by Brexit

Reports are emerging that the Brexit vote is having an unexpected and immediate impact on access to Horizon2020 funding by UK-based organisations. 


Succeeding in grant competitions is time consuming and hard, so accessing support and expert guidance is essential.   It would be a travesty if UK organisations are prevented from benefiting from the UK’s contribution to the EU during the months and years it may take to confirm our new status.


Read the full article on LinkedIn.


30th June 2016

Be More Iceland - Delivery and Success are not the same thing

The Icelandic Football Team and the Leave Campaign have a lot in common:  Both are winners; Both teams did unexpectedly well, exceeding expectations and the solemn pronouncements of experts;


However, the aftermaths of their respective successes are strikingly different.

How success is delivered is really important.  The legacy of a project and the reputation of the project manager are defined by the way in which it is delivered as much as the functionality of the outputs.  


Read the full article on LinkedIn.


25th May 2016

News from Lightholm - one year on!

After almost a year since formation I’d like to say a huge Thank You! to all those who have helped, encouraged and supported me in getting Lightholm off the ground.
Of course I’d particularly like to send my appreciation to the 7 clients I’ve had the privilege of working with to date.   It is an honour to be able to contribute to your amazing businesses and to be trusted with your exciting bids and projects.


I can help with a range of bid and project challenges:
providing resource and support to specific initiatives; overcoming delivery challenges; and driving business performance through governance, maturity assessments and process optimisation.

Remember - Flexibility is a given: a combination of on-site, off-site and number of days are determined to meet your specific needs.

Contact me at any time for a no-obligation discussion.

I look forward to hearing from you!
 Alan Gould


13th March 2016

Don't let David Cameron write your business case - some tips for proposal writers

I have written, reviewed or assessed hundreds of Business Cases, Tenders and Funding Applications. 

One of the most common problems I come across is the use of qualifiers.  This is where authors undermine their own argument by using descriptors that weaken their proposition. 

The effect on the reader is to explicitly or subliminally suggest that the claim is open to question, even in the mind of the person making it.

Read the full article on LinkedIn


23rd February 2016

10 things you need to know if considering innovation grant funding for your business

Between them the European Commission and the UK Government provide several hundred million pounds of direct funding to support SME’s.    However, accessing this support is not straightforward – dealing with government rarely is.


Innovate UK is undergoing reorganisation, and  is still in the process of developing its 2016-20 Strategic Plan - however we are promised enhanced support for SME’s, so now is a good time to consider if grant support make sense for your business.


Even knowing where to start can be a challenge given the dozen or so different schemes in operation, and the constantly changing budgets and priorities.


So how do you know what’s out there, and is it worth investing time and effort? Here is quick checklist of the common features of pretty much all the grant schemes.

Read the full article on LinkedIn


8th January 2016

Obtaining grant support for technology-led business growth just got a bit harder

Whilst central government reiterates laudable intentions to focus on support on “new and growing enterprises”, recently announced changes have made things worse – at least in the short term.
Following the Chancellor’s autumn statement there will be a restructuring of the government’s funding agencies, and there is considerable uncertainty about how small business support will operate as we move towards the 2016/17 financial year.


Grant support can provide significant financial advantage, risk mitigation and solid business impact. However, understanding and commitment are required to make them work: the offers are highly competitive, and need patience, detailed strategic business planning, knowledge of the latest proposal and delivery processes and a tolerance of bureaucratic control and reporting procedures.

Read the full article on LinkedIn


20th November 2015

Contract disputes - your project’s nuclear option

Contracts are not the end of a negotiation, they just define the boundaries for the ongoing negotiations that constitute a project. 

Contracts are the nuclear weapons of project management.   Pre-agreed definitions of remedies such as liquidated damages for delays or delivery failures sound reassuring, but only protect your project when they remain a threat.  Once invoked the project is doomed.


Read the full article on LinkedIn


21st October 2015

How to be agile when you can't use Agile

Research and Development projects for new or modified products have a number of features for which Agile, or Agile-based approaches would appear to be appropriate.  However, a project manager is rarely in a position to choose a methodology and must operate under a prevailing corporate framework and the associated sponsor model.


Agile is rarely deployed outside a software development context.

Read the full article on LinkedIn

Print Print | Sitemap
© 2017 Lightholm Consulting Ltd