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Product development funding offers risk-free funding for prototypes and other experiments for new business ideas.
YritystehdasJun 9, 2023 3:39:00 PM

Finance new business idea experiments with Product Development Funding

Do you have an idea with business potential but don't know where to start? When advancing an idea, the initial steps in developing a product or service are often taken, utilizing personal networks and acquaintances. As things progress, the idea may require funding to conduct initial experiments, create prototypes, or even acquire external expertise to validate its viability. In this phase, Product Development Funding is a good way to finance idea testing.


What is Product Development Funding?

Product Development Funding is intended for early-stage projects and experiments related to business ideas that haven't been established as a company yet. The funding amount is between 500 and 1,000 euros (VAT 0%), and it can be applied for four times a year. The funding is available for students, researchers, and staff members of the University of Jyväskylä and Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences.

Product Development Funding can be applied for, for example, the following purposes:

  • Testing prototypes and related material purchases
  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) investigations, such as patents, utility models, trademarks, or design rights, to protect, manage, and commercialize the results of the development work.
  • Creating demos

The team should possess the necessary expertise required to implement the idea, but external expertise can be hired for smaller sub-areas. The funding cannot be used to pay salaries and cannot be granted to applicants who already have a business ID (Y-tunnus).

Please note that funding can be applied for experiments or issues, that are stalling the progress and would be difficult to execute without the funding. However, the funding cannot be used to purchase equipment or supplies that would remain with the project team or the applicant. Limited equipment purchases can be made in collaboration with the applicant's home educational institution under certain conditions. However, it is recommended to examine the existing facilities and equipment of the institution in advance, as they are widely available! Feel free to ask your contact person at your own educational institution - you can find the Product Development Funding team there!


How does the application process for Product Development Funding work?

Here is a summary of how the application process proceeds. If you have a business idea in mind, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the application form on the Startup Factory's Event page. On the same page, you can see the dates of upcoming panels where you can present your idea to the panel members. The panel members consist of staff members from Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, and the Startup Factory, who evaluate the feasibility of your idea.
  2. Approximately one week before the Product Development Panel, you will receive confirmation if your idea has been accepted, along with a detailed schedule and presentation tips.
  3. Prepare your presentation. The more realistic and detailed your plan is, the more likely you will receive a positive funding decision. Each presenter is allocated approximately 10 minutes to present the idea, explain their realistic plan for progressing with the idea, outline the timeline, describe the necessary purchases (what, from where, and at what cost), and so on. Instructions for preparation will be provided to each panel participant via email. The better you have thought through the steps to progress with your idea, the easier it will be to convince the panel about its potential. Download detailed instructions for preparing your presentation.
  4. Funding decisions are communicated to all applicants approximately one week after the presentation day.
  5. Please note that the possible granted funding will not be transferred directly to the applicant for their use. Instead, purchases will be made through the applicant's home educational institution (Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences or University of Jyväskylä) by ordering, paying for the items, and reimbursing the expenses to the applicant as agreed upon. Larger purchases are usually handled by the applicant's home educational institution.

The panel does not reject ideas without providing reasons. A negative funding decision may be based on the following reasons:

  • Insufficient expertise within the team or the applicant to advance the project
  • Unrealistic budget or insufficient information provided to explain it
  • Lack of market and target group analysis for the idea
  • Seeking funding for purposes that cannot be financed through Product Development Funding, such as equipment purchases for the team's use or funding existing operations without including new development or experimentation.

Each applicant receives tips for areas of improvement, regardless of the funding decision. You can always come back to present your idea to the panel again if it doesn't gain traction the first time!


Where has Product Development Funding been applied for?

Nina Nurmesviita, studying at JAMK's Team Academy, used Product Development Funding with her team to cover the costs related to developing and testing the Hoofin market platform. This allowed the team to focus on developing and marketing their operations.

"We had to take a moment to wonder that we could actually apply for completely risk-free funding, which helped us get our operations up and running smoothly," Nurmesviita rejoices.


Antti Löppönen, a doctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, applied for Product Development Funding to build a prototype of an intelligent seat for competitive rowing training:

"Product Development Funding gave me the courage to take the project to the next level, and we made significant progress. I don't think I would have a testable prototype ready without the Product Development Funding from the Startup Factory," Löppönen explains.


Marjo Varjoluoto, working at JAMK, applied for Product Development Funding while participating in the "Idea to Business" coaching program. The funding helped create the first packaging for the PIMME reflector.

"In the early stages, I had to consider packaging and production to be able to offer the product for sale. Then my goal was to cautiously explore the potential of the product. I was aware that the operation needed to become more professional. For that, I needed guidance," Varjoluoto explains.

Apply for Product Development Funding!


Tips for the future after receiving Product Development Funding!

Although the main goal of the Product Development Funding panel is to encourage the presentation of new ideas and provide funding, it is also a place where applicants can receive valuable advice for their projects. Even if your idea doesn't receive funding initially, the panel will surely provide heaps of development ideas to make your idea even better!

You can continue developing your idea through the coaching programs at the Startup Factory:

  • Idea to Business: when you need clear steps to start a business, create financial calculations, or analyze the market.
  • Business coaching: when you have already established a company and need guidance to develop your business!
  • Incubator: when the goal is international markets with a scalable business idea!