Grant Management | Case study
Facilitating organisational change at the Cork City Local Enterprise Office
Cork is a city on Ireland’s southwest coast and is the second most populous city in the Republic of Ireland. It has a thriving small business sector thanks in no small part to the work of the Cork City Local Enterprise Office (LEO).
There are 31 LEOs across the Republic of Ireland, and their primary functions are twofold:
- Delivering a range of business support packages to small-scale enterprises including business information & advice, mentoring and, training
- Providing direct financial assistance to qualifying businesses including but not limited to; Priming Grants, Business Expansion Grants and Feasibility Study Grants.
The Cork City LEO aims to promote entrepreneurship, foster business start-ups and develop existing micro and small businesses driving job creation and providing high-quality support for business ideas, particularly in Cork city.
In other customer success stories we explored how the South Cork LEO and the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown LEO leverage our platform to enhance their workflows.
A manual paper-based system
Before Submit.com, the Cork City LEO was primarily using a manual paper-based system to manage its grant applications. A process which Adrienne Rodgers, Head of Enterprise at the Cork City LEO, knew lacked efficiency.
“Our legacy system presented several challenges. It had become dated, and it was becoming increasingly costly and time-consuming to administer,” noted Adrienne. “We recognised our time would be better spent maximising our clients’ success and making sure applications were completed promptly.”
To deliver the project, not only did Submit.com’s Solutions team work in close partnership with the Cork City LEO’s Grantmaking teams, but further collaboration was required with their IT team, as well as paying careful attention to the needs of the organisation’s fellows – which were of paramount importance.
On top of this, several teams worked within the different types of grants within the department – and they all had different processes to administrate grant applications.
This was in stark contrast to the Cork City LEO’s desire to increase their grant spending but, do it more efficiently. They wanted to do more with less, and so they needed a better way of doing things.
A big challenge in the public sector is staff moving between departments. Like in any organisation as staff moved on, this knowledge wasn’t always adequately transferred and often became lost. To help combat this, Submit.com and the Cork City LEO collaborated on a universal formalised workflow.
“Implementing a comprehensive formalised workflow ensured that the transfer of knowledge was easily managed,” recalled Adrienne. “If staff moved to other jobs or organisations, it was suddenly a lot easier to work on projects and bring on new team members.”
Migrating data securely
Because giving never stops at the Cork City LEO, Its old system could not simply be switched off without impacting existing applications. This issue was solved by using a tapered approach to data migration – only moving it over once a grant had been awarded.
“Because the data was coming in such vast volumes from our old system, it had to be reconstructed to work with Submit.com,” said Adrienne. “The upside of this was that Submit.com was then able to automatically handle a wide variety of administrative and reporting tasks that had to be done manually using the old system.”
It was also essential that the Cork City LEO can assure their clients of complete confidentiality. By moving their grant application process online and using features such as multi-factor authentication it gave the team additional layers of compliance and security for the collected data.
Key Features Used
Facilitating organisational change
The Cork City LEO knew that their existing paper-based system, combined with non-standardised workflows, meant that they weren’t working as efficiently as possible.
“The team at Submit.com were great,” said Adrienne. “They helped us make improvements by challenging the way we were operating and identifying the common ground between grant programmes.”
One of the biggest challenges that organisations like the Cork City LEO face are managing the change to a new system for all key stakeholders. The issue here wasn’t whether the software met their needs, but how to smoothly adapt to the workforce’s existing workflows for the benefit of their client base.
To achieve this, the Solutions team at Submit.com took a direct approach to building trust and enthusiasm in the change from the start. This meant stakeholders weren’t forced into a system and instead were encouraged to think differently about how they work and where improvements could be made.
Our Solutions team implemented a ‘quick win’ for the staff by running an existing grantmaking scheme on our platform in tandem with their previous process. This allowed them to see how easy and efficient it was to use. This was then followed up with tailor-made training programmes and the inclusion of personalised stakeholder onboarding as a crucial part of our delivery plan.
As part of the Cork City LEO’s drive to do more with less, they wanted to understand their newfound efficiency when using Submit.com. To do this, they leveraged the system to produce metrics reports measuring things like how long it takes on average for an applicant to apply, or how long it takes to process an application.
When the Cork City LEO decided to move to an online grantmaking system, they didn’t just want a third-party software supplier, as Adrienne noted,
“We wanted a partner to help us standardise our processes, streamline our workflow and manage the transition to a new platform. That is why we chose Submit.com.”
Working with Adrienne Rodgers and her team as the Local Enterprise Office Cork City to plan new processes, implement their new system, and migrate their data was a project that took almost two years.
Our Solutions team built an ongoing, long-term, genuine partnership that enabled them to impart both technical and grantmaking experience onto the organisation, while also taking away significant learnings for future clients.
At Submit.com, we believe that developing a successful partnership is not just about delivering new software. It’s about standing alongside the client, facilitating business transformation.
Get started today
If you think it’s time to streamline your grant submission process or you’re interested in more ways to modernise your current workflow and review process, talk to one of our senior solutions specialists today.