my name is Evangelos Kassos and am a member of team “Terminators”, the Robotics team of the 1st High School of Karditsa, Greece. During the last school year, our team participated at the FIRST Lego League Open Tournament in Thessaloniki, organized by eduACT. However, since we are not able to participate in this competition next year, due to age constrains, our team is interested in participating at the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Our team has already registered using https://my.firstinspires.org/ (temporary team number #201800024) and is currently looking for ways to afford the 6,000$ registration cost. However, due to economic hardships that our country, and hence every team member’s household, faces, is trying to find any grants or sponsorships available to cover the registration costs.
We discovered that both FIRST and NASA Nonetheless both grants are not available for international teams, thus meaning that our team does not have access to them.
Therefore I would like to ask you to inform me of any grants or sponsorship opportunities available for INTERNATIONAL teams, because it is impossible for a rookie team like us, especially from a country in such financial situation as Greece’s, to compete in the FRC competition without the help of sponsorships or grants.
As former rookies, we know what it is like to start a team if you want to PM (Private Message) us on Chief Delphi or email us at [email protected] we would be happy to talk to you and walk you through the whole process! We have a whole list of different sponsorships, and sponsors that could help your team. We have lists and documents that can help you get through the season and we can also send you some tutorials if you are interested. As former rookies, we know what struggles you are going through, so we would love to help! Let us know what you are interested in and we will be glad to help! We had an exceptional first year competing and it ended off on the Einstein Field at the Houston Championships!!! We would love to help you out, let us know how we can help you!
First of all, welcome to ChiefDelphi. Now down to business.
Honestly, I’m not sure FRC is going to be the right program for your team if you’re having trouble raising just the $6000 registration fee. In addition to registration, you will also need to raise at a minimum a few hundred dollars for the robot, plus money to travel to the competition. With Israel having moved to districts last year, the closest regional competitions to you would probably be in China or New York. That’s a lot of money in airfare just for the team, not including shipping the robot (not sure if FedEx covers international shipping to a regional). All in all, you should be expecting to need to raise at least $12,000 for one regional.
I don’t know of any international grants available to FIRST teams, but I’m sure at least a few exist. Since you are (one of) the only team in Greece, you can probably find technology companies who would be willing to sponsor your team, but you will need to work hard to reach out to them. It’s not impossible to get the amount of money you need, but it certainly won’t be easy. It will take a lot of work and dedication. You may want to reach out directly to some of the original international teams (the first teams in Israel, China, Australia, Turkey, Brasil, etc.) to see how they did it.
I don’t know how it’s structured internationally, but FTC may be a better option for teams with limited financial resources. I know of teams in the US who were unable to sustain their FRC team and have moved to FTC.
Barring a regional appearing in Europe sometime soon (not unreasonable, with the smattering of teams across Europe and in Turkey), I’d have to agree with Ari.
Teams inside the U.S. have difficulty raising enough money with these grants available. You do, however, have a few unique advantages:
You are the only team in your area, therefore businesses that are interested in STEM have very few other alternatives to sponsor.
You have a history with FIRST, so you’ve already got a leg up organizationally over other teams trying to start from scratch. This can help with convincing sponsors that you’re a worthy cause.
being the first team in your area could potentially also get some government funding, either from your town or school district or perhaps even your country. I don’t know any of the specifics, so you’d know better than I would.
tl;dr, Grant opportunities might be limited, but you may have a wealth of potential corporate sponsorships opportunities. See if you can leverage those.
Alternatively, getting involved in FTC or VRC might be more cost-effective.
I would also recommend the FIRST Tech Challenge, or the VEX Robotics Competition. Both are excellent and have many events worldwide which would allow you to negate many travel expenses.
I have a feeling the FIRST Global challenge may also be an option, so you may want to look into that? They seem to have the mechanisms in place to allow international teams to compete in the competitions. VEX may also have similar resources as they have teams from all over the world complete as well.
I wish there was more I could help you with. However, if your team needs any materials or supplies as you figure this out, please reach out and myself and friends in the community will do our best to help!
See if you can reach out to Hellenic Petroleum. Texan teams have similar corporations sponsor some of the top teams in FRC, so they may be willing to invest in you to compete with those guys. But still, I recommend FTC or VEX.