Project Proponent is an individual, group or organization that submits or proposes some project for review and acceptance, and that brings in this project to the project team or mobilizes the team for the project. It is a senior member of the project team or the one who acts inside the team and thereby has a direct impact to team decisions. Project initiator is another word of project proponent.
Project proponent is often regarded as one of the key roles that determine the concept and content of a project. Along with such roles as Sponsor, Customer, Expert, the project proponent role is actively performed at the very beginning of the project, during the initiation phase. A person or organization assigned to this role is supposed to create a detailed project description and present it to stakeholders for analysis and review.
It’d be noted that project proponent and project sponsor are not the same. While the proponent submits a project concept for review and approval, the sponsor regards this project as an initiative that generates costs and thereby requires some funds for investing. Project proponent has no authority on approving or rejecting the project and has no financial interest in project results, while project sponsor is authorized to vote for or against the project and has a financial interest in the project (ROI - return on investment).