Innovate UK runs grant funding competitions that can help you develop your idea and make it successful. They are open to innovation projects led by a UK-based business or research and technology organisation, with funding awarded to the winners. You can find out more about the grants on the gov.uk website.
You can apply for funding if you want to do one or more of the following:
- test the feasibility of your idea and make sure it will work;
- create a new product, process or service, or improve an existing one, through research and development;
- work with other businesses or research organisations on collaborative innovation projects.
Depending on the competition, you may work alone on your project, or form a consortium.
These grants are competitive and may be ‘open’ in scope or may be focused on specific challenges, such as in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. If successful, you will receive funding quarterly in arrears – more frequent payments than you might receive by using R&D tax credits alone – but still always with a slight delay, so business owners need to pay close attention to the liquidity or cash position of the business.
Option 3 – Borrow money
The challenge with borrowing, or “debt finance”, for R&D projects and innovative companies, is that often the business does not have a huge amount of assets against which to secure a loan, so this funding can be harder to find.
Nigel puts this in simple terms: “The riskier and more innovative the project, the harder it is to borrow”.
Innovate UK’s Innovation Loans could be the answer. Loans of between £100,000 and £1 million are available for relevant, eligible, and highly innovative projects lasting up to 5 years. There is a competitive process to apply for funding, and the current competition will run until Wednesday 5th September 2018, so there is still time for you to enter.
If you run a small business, working on a potentially game-changing innovation with strong commercial potential, you can find out more, and apply, using this link.
The first Innovation Loans have been granted to 13 businesses working on the challenges of population growth, urbanisation, and climate change.
In June 2018, the recipients of the first round of Innovation Loans were announced, between them being offered £8 million in funding.
CitiLogik: analysing how people move to identify and analyse demand activity
G-Volution: dual-fuel engines that are cheaper, cleaner and greener
Alert Technology: the world’s first portable asbestos detectors
Alcove: assistive Internet of Things-based technology for older adults
Catagen: catalyst emissions testing and simulation
Utonomy: smart gas grid control to increase biomethane injection capacity
3-Sci: moisture monitoring system for corrosion under insulation
Lightfoot: connected car technology