Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium – sized enterprises (SMEs). Loans are for highly innovative late stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Your project must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.

We are particularly interested in projects that focus on the future economy areas included in the Innovate UK plan for action.

You must be able to show that you:

  • need public funding
  • can cover interest payments
  • will be able to repay the loan on time

The funding available will be allocated across a series of competitions with the next round opening on the day the previous round closes. The final round 4 will close on 13 July 2022.

  • round 2 opens 14 April 2022 (this competition)
  • round 3 opens 12 May 2022
  • round 4 opens 9 June 2022

Your project

You can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million to fund your project’s eligible costs. Projects can last up to 5 years, including both the R&D and commercialisation phases. Projects are expected to start by July 2022.

To receive an innovation loan for a new project you must:

  • be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out your project from or in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • give evidence that your business is suitable to take on a loan

Innovate UK will evaluate whether your business is suitable to receive an offer of a loan for your project.

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

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

This competition offers loans to help businesses overcome barriers to their innovations becoming a successful, commercial reality. The aim is to make a considerable economic impact which results in significant, sustainable business growth.

Innovate UK is looking for businesses who can demonstrate that their projects have the best potential for the future.

Your idea must lead to innovative products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available. It can also involve a new or innovative business model.

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clearly expressed and compelling innovative idea
  • a robust and deliverable business plan that addresses and evidences market potential and needs
  • a team with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time, and take the outputs forward
  • awareness of all the main risks the project and business will face, with realistic plans to manage, mitigate and minimise the impact of each of these
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money and ability to repay the loan
  • why you are unable to fund the project from your own resources or other forms of public or private-sector funding
  • a clear, evidence based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion

 

Innovate UK KTN will be holding several supporting events:

Applicant Briefing Webinar – Wednesday 20 April 11:00 – 12:30
Background information to the Innovation Loans, including the application process (both from the project and financial aspects), the assessment process and the approach to the credit decision making process.

Guide to a Good Project Application Workshop – Monday 25 April 2022 – 12:00 – 13:00
What we are looking for in your project application. These questions are different to those asked in grant applications.

Financial Submission Workshop – Tuesday 3 May 2022 – 15:00 – 16:30
Support with completing your business and financial application as well as the financial spreadsheet.

Credit drop-in sessions with the Innovation Loans Credit team – Wednesday 4 May 2022 and Friday 6 May 2022
Come and speak to our Credit Team about what they are looking for in your application and to have your questions answered.

Click here to register for our Round Two briefing events.