Innovate UK is offering up to £210 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing, completing or following on an innovation project. Loans are for organisations that find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are two parallel strands for innovation continuity loans:

We are looking to support highly innovative late stage projects with a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Your project must aim to develop new products, processes or services which are significantly ahead of anything similar in the field. You can also propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy.

Your project must focus on commercialisation, growth or scale up. We will give priority to proposals likely to lead to growth and gains in productivity.

You must be able to show that you:

  • are facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • can cover interest payments
  • will be able to repay the loan on time
  • need public funding

We expect to open one or more further competitions monthly to allow applicants the opportunity to apply at a time that suits their organisation’s needs. Innovation continuity loans will be available for commitment until 31 December 2020.

Loans of between £250,000 and £1.6 million are available to fund your project’s eligible costs. We may consider further reasonable costs arising from an increase in the cost of delivering your R&D activity as a result of COVID-19 that are not already covered by other government support.

Projects must last up to 4 years and are expected to start by 31 December 2020.

To take on an innovation continuity loan for a follow on project you must:

  • be a UK registered SME or third sector organisation
  • have successfully completed a project supported by an Innovate UK award in the last 36 months
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • give evidence that your organisation is suitable to take on a loan

Individuals, academic institutions, research organisations and large companies are not eligible for innovation loans.

Only single businesses or third sector organisations can receive loans, so collaboration with other organisations cannot be funded in this competition.

A briefing event will be held on 16th September: details will appear here when available.