Jun 14, 2024

So You Just Finished Your R&D Grant. Now what?

Finished your Philippine startup R&D grant? Don't know what's next? Learn post-grant success tips like building sales funnels & leveraging learnings. Get funded & grow with accelerators!

So You Just Finished Your R&D Grant. Now what?

Congratulations! After a year—or more—of following your work financial plan and submitting quarterly reports, your startup’s tech R&D grant is finally done and you have just completed submitting your terminal report to your grant giving agency. After thanking the Filipino taxpayers, you now have all the time in the world to run your startup.

What kind of R&D grants for startups can I get in the Philippines?

Real quick retro: why did you apply for an R&D grant anyway?

For startups, a grant can mean a lot of things, a chance to develop their product, test and validate new tech in new or existing markets, build a defensible moat and even for some, extend their R&D runway. The list goes on.

There are a lot of grants out there, both public and private. But for the purpose of this write-up, we will focus on government grants.

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) alone has two that are popular in the startup community.

These are namely Startup Grant Fund Program (SGF) and Women-Helping-Women: Innovating Social Enterprises Program (WHWISE), both of which are focused on providing R&D support to startups and social enterprises respectively.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) also has a Startup Grant Fund which is focused on early-stage ICT-based startups.

Meanwhile, the DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) even has its Startup Research Grant Program aimed at providing assistance to startups in the health sector.

All these are but some of the government grants that can assist your startup move through its R&D phase. There are more, and this is is by no means an exhaustive list.

In this article, we will highlight the SGF, but feel free to look into each of the other  for more information on other government grants that could cater to you.

About the SGF

According to the DOST-PCIEERD, the startup grant fund is aimed to provide support to startups and startup teams that are developing their minimum viable product (MVP) and require assistance in product improvement, market testing, data gathering, market validation, business modeling, IP protection, and product certification.

The SGF is an equity-free grant, with a maximum duration of 1.5 years and maximum grant amount of P5M ($91k).

According to Edward Paul Apigo, Senior Science Research Specialist and Program Manager of the SGF, applicants for the grant are often app-based (90%), while the rest are hardware-based (10%).

Since it began in 2018, DOST-PCIEERD has supported a total of 66 startups including the 9 new startups it started supporting in 2023. To date, it has provided a total of P270M ($4.9M) through the SGF.

What should you do now that you’ve finished your R&D grant?

So now that you’re done with building out an MVP or pivoting, what are some of the top things you should do to ensure your business thrives moving forward?

Check out these five top tips for your post-R&D grant journey.

1. Have an honest retrospective & plan next steps

A year of running your company focused in R&D is no joke. It can be tough and grueling at times, especially if you’re not too technically inclined.

It’s said that R&D never really ends, but the good news is the R&D phase *does—*meaning, after doing all the research and testing work, you still have to run your startup, develop relationships, hire people, convert customers, manage stakeholders and more of that company-operating goodness.

So what better way to close out that chapter than by running a comprehensive retrospective?

To begin, gather your team, list down what went well, what needs improvement, and then address them in an honest dialogue between team members.

It lets everyone air out grievances and express gratitude. Let it all out, and do not hold back.

Most importantly, however, at the end of the conversation, congratulate and appreciate yourselves in how far you have gone in your startup journey.

To learn more about the What Went Well retrospective framework, click here.

2. Build out your sales pipeline or marketing funnel

You spent the past year building your product, making it nice, functional, shiny and most importantly, making it fit for the market (or one hopes!).

All this development is moot unless you ensure sustainability and customers put your product into good use—ideally after you sell it to them.

For B2C ventures, you need to create market awareness in your target demographic, build trust, communicate your differentiators, then successfully get them to buy your product after showing them you are the best solution considering their needs, budget and other personal factors. An overview of this is quantified through a marketing funnel.

For B2B startups, the general steps at this stage are identifying who your customers are, sizing their contract or deal sizes, generating leads, getting their attention, and making them see how brilliant your product is, and how it fits and solves their problems—all of which can be quantified within a pipeline.

A funnel or pipeline helps you predict revenue, plan out materials, and set effective targets to ensure your sales outpaces your burn. A word of caution, however: keep your conversion probability, time to close, and deal value estimates sane to avoid undersetting these goals.

Check out this free tool to start laying down your sales pipeline.

3. Time to operationalize

Remember all that compliance documentation that was required during grant implementation? Like progress reports, Work Financial Plans (WFP), Line Item Budgets (LIB), work plans and catch-up plans etc. that you had to submit every quarter or so?

If you thought that you did for naught, you’re wrong.

What if we told you that, like Karate Kid’s Mr. Miyagi with his wax on, wax off methodology, the (painful) compliance documentation also teaches you how to operationalize and manage your company resources?

Yes, you heard that right—you can use all that work experience during your grant compliance to enhance and improve your operations.

So if you did the work:

  • Work Financial Plans (WFP) taught you to plan and set goals;
  • Line Item Budgets (LIB) to stick to budgeted resources;
  • Work plans to map tasks and identify dependencies; and
  • Expense and revenue reports to keep relevant accounting records.

In a sense, these documents are similar to parts of a financial model, which help you keep your budgets and give you an overview of your ventures current status and operations.

The only difference is now you’re to plan for your venture’s targets and needs. Set targets with your top level management and co-founders, and keep on top of them by setting relevant KPIs or OKRs.

Afterward, follow through and set weekly check-ins, as well as monthly reviews, with personnel to ensure that everyone gets things done.

OKRs are one of the most effective ways to manage outcomes and is noted to be more collaborative and contextual vs KPIs. Check out this article to learn more about OKRs.

4. Focus on validation and sales

Wait, what? Didn’t we just talk about this a couple of points ago?

Let me explain.

A popular saying in startup circles goes: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

This is from Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn.

You see, we’ve seen it happen again and again: ventures always looking for the next feature, the next product improvement, the next vital integration they need to do to have the perfect product.

All the while delaying validation and sales and conveniently ignoring that they are running a business leaving the startup in development limbo for too long and in the process burning precious runway.

We get it: sometimes founders will outright avoid this because of crippling anxiety. For early stage founders, putting their figurative baby out there and validating it is scary.

You could get rejected, ridiculed and bashed by your customers—invalidating your thesis, and certainly no one wants that.

What’s the alternative? Apply for another grant?

No, those require economic or social impact, and a sustainability plan.

Investors? Not with an unproven product, business model, and marginal revenue.

Without validation and revenue, it very well be your startup’s demise.

There is no detour to this. Every startup and founder needs to undergo this crucial step in their journey; from pain and discomfort of negative feedback comes growth and improvement.

If you’re not ready yet, we hope you let customers or the free markets show you the way to the right solution, product and features, this might require some adjustment(s) or a pivot in your offering and more work on your Minimum Lovable Product.

Your graduation from the R&D phase is sealed when you step into the validation and sales phase; in fact, it’s critical for your survival.

Related: What is Product-Market Fit, and How Do You Actually Achieve It?

5. Join an Accelerator

At this point, you might say, “Wow, this has been a lot.”

And it is, especially for first time founders.

The good news is there are organizations out there that could help you out with all of this, particularly accelerators.

Accelerators are specially designed to scale your startup by providing invaluable resources for growth and development to get your venture running and up-to-speed, which is invaluable post-R&D grant.

Resources usually provided include funding, education, and mentorship on a plethora of topics including fundraising, product development and growth, an investor network, and connections to industry leaders in your field among others.

In other words, accelerators are your partners in making your tech business thrive and be successful.

Speaking of which, Founders Launchpad provides a hands-on accelerator program that enables startups to efficiently scale their businesses from zero to one.

Aside from VC funding, we also deliver an individualized learning experience with a bespoke curriculum to our founders. Our team at Founders Launchpad (FL) helps you set goals and provide hands-on operational support to founders alongside a guaranteed investment. FL also provides co-founder matching should ventures need it.

We pride ourselves of doing the work together with our founders. We’re not just an investor or an accelerator—we’re the co-founder that pushes your venture forward to new heights, making your vision our personal mission.


Congrats! You've completed the R&D phase and emerged stronger. But remember, this is just the beginning. Take a deep breath, celebrate your team's achievements, and then dive into the next chapter: validation, sales, and growth.

Use what you learned from the grant process, embrace customer feedback, and don't be afraid to pivot. And don’t be afraid to consider an accelerator program to support you on your journey.


What are some Philippine government grants available for startups?

The Philippines offers several R&D grant programs for startups, with a focus on different sectors. Here are a few examples:

  • DOST-PCIEERD Startup Grant Fund Program (SGF): Supports startups developing their minimum viable product (MVP) across various industries.
  • DOST-PCIEERD Women-Helping-Women: Innovating Social Enterprises Program (WHWISE): Provides assistance to social enterprises led by women.
  • DICT Startup Grant Fund: Focuses on early-stage information and communications technology (ICT) startups.
  • DOST PCHRD Startup Research Grant Program: Aims to support startups in the health sector.

What should I do after completing my R&D grant?

We recommended conducting a retrospective on your grant experience, building your sales pipeline, focus on validating and sales, and even consider joining an accelerator program like Founders Launchpad.

How does an accelerator program help me?

Accelerator programs each can support your startup by providing funding and mentorship. Unlike many accelerators, Founders Launchpad takes hands-on mentorship to the next level by acting like your co-founder in the process. We guide founders across all sorts of areas, from product development, go-to-market, legal, and marketing support.

About the author

Nikko Guiam is Founders Launchpad’s Senior Investment Associate. He is a seasoned startup professional and a self-described startup Swiss army knife with more than 7 years of experience in the local space. Over the course of his journey, he has worn many hats including that of a co-founder, DOST-PCIEERD grant recipient, and a private grant administrator, among others.

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