In the Second Punic War, Rome needed a fleet to take the war to Carthage. They were completely without expertise and had no more money in the treasury.
They built their new ships based on a enemy ship that had run aground. The dismantled it and copied it piece by piece.
For funding, they gave the 300 richest Romans the honor of contributing a ship, complete with manpower.
The fleet launched and was immediately hit by a storm, destroying all the ships and killing 30,000 men. Bodies were washing ashore for weeks.
The Roman response? The richest 300 men were honored to build and man 300 more ships.
The Romans won the war.
Note that modern Imperial Nobles are more than happy to support the Imperium with a donation… so long as they get to keep the ships after they build them.