Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition – Round Five

UK registered SMEs can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.

Funding Details
When

Registration Opens

20/07/2022

Registration Closes

14/09/2022

Award

Loans can be for between £100,000 and £2 million and must be repaid within 7 years. Interest rates can be up to 7.4% p.a.

Organisation

Innovate UK

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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

You can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million to fund your project’s eligible costs. You can get a loan of up to 100% of your eligible project costs.

Projects can last up to 5 years, including both the R&D and commercialisation phases. Projects are expected to start by 30th January 2023. 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

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.

We expect to take security in the form of a debenture. We will not require personal guarantees.

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

Your project can include:

  • prototyping
  • demonstrating
  • piloting
  • testing
  • validation

Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes or sub-themes:

Net Zero

  • energy
  • impact of industrial processes and use of materials
  • agriculture and food and other sources of emissions
  • capital intensity

Health and Wellbeing

  • tackling ill health
  • enhancing Wellbeing
  • diet and food

Next generation digital technologies

Technology families

  • advanced materials and manufacturing
  • artificial intelligence
  • digital and advanced computing
  • bioinformatics and genomics
  • engineering biology
  • electronics, photonics and quantum technologies
  • energy and environment technologies
  • robotics and smart machines

We are also particularly interested in receiving applications from diverse businesses; those involving communities that are typically under-represented, including from regions outside the “Golden Triangle” (London, Oxford and Cambridge) or with, for example, female, ethnic minority and diverse-ability founders.

Briefing events for round 5 will be announced soon (see link below). Click here to watch the round 4 briefing events.