Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition: Round 7

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

Funding Details
When

Registration Opens

10/11/2022

Registration Closes

11/01/2023

Award

Loans can be between £100,000 and £2 million.

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 innovative 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.

Your project must focus on one or more of 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. Round 7 opens 10 November 2022 (This competition), and round 8 opens 12 January 2023.

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 31 July 2023.

Eligibility

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.

Scope

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 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.

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clearly expressed and compelling innovative idea
  • a robust and deliverable business plan that addresses and shows evidence of 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

These can be in environments that represent real life operating conditions.

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.

Your application will be evaluated on:

  • the quality of your project proposal
  • the suitability of your business to take on a loan

Specific themes

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

An online briefing will be held on 21st November: details will appear on this page when available.

Click here for further information on Innovation Loans, and to see recordings of Innovate UK KTN’s briefings for previous rounds.

Related programmes

Innovation Loans Future Economy

Innovation Loans Future Economy

UK registered SME businesses can apply for loan funding for innovative late-stage research and development projects with strong commercial potential that will significantly boost the UK economy.

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