Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is inviting investors to partner with us for the Foundation Industries Investor Partnership programme (IPP). Together we will align Innovate UK’s grant funding of relevant late stage R&D projects alongside your investment in UK micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) concerned with one or more of the themes of reducing resource and energy consumption.

We are seeking investor partners that want to invest in high growth potential SMEs. The SMEs must aspire to finding solutions that make the foundation industries more competitive through reducing resource and energy use. They will be selected in a later competition.

Investor partners must provide wider business skills and experience as well as financial investment.

We seek investor partners to invest in high growth potential micro to medium enterprises that aspire to:


  • develop internationally competitive products, services, or business models by reducing energy or resource consumption
  • make the foundation industries more competitive through the use of cleaner energy or reduced consumption of materials and resources
  • address the transforming foundation industries themes in the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.


The ISCF definition of Foundation Industries includes cement, ceramics, chemicals, glass, metals, and paper.

The SMEs will be identified by the investor partners and selected in a later competition.

Your organisation must be an equity provider with the potential to act as lead investor in investments from £50,000 to £2 million.

We aim to appoint several investors, interested in making investments aligned with Innovate UK grants. Investments must be either direct equity or convertible loans.

You must also be able to offer other commercial acumen to SMEs, such as leadership, market access, skills or resources.

You do not have to make any funding commitment at this stage. We will need your commitment to provide aligned investment where Innovate UK offers grant funding to successful applicants in the SME competition. No aid is made available to the investor from Innovate UK.

We are looking for a mix of UK established investors with an interest in foundation industries, including venture capital, angel networks, and corporate venture investors.

The objective of this programme is to support SMEs to carry out projects that reduce energy and resource use in the foundation industries. SMEs can be from the sector itself, or from the sector supply chain.

During the SME competition, businesses will identify their total funding requirement which will include Innovate UK grant funding aligned with equity investment.

If your organisation is selected to be an investor partner you will be expected to identify potential UK micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). These can be:

  • new investments for your organisation
  • opportunities currently under consideration by you
  • SMEs already in your portfolio who are looking for further investment and grant funding for a specific project element

These SMEs will be required to submit applications for funding to the Transforming Foundation Industries IPP: SME competition. The SMEs seeking support will be required to carry out projects that meet the objectives of the ISCF Transforming Foundation Industry Challenge.

If the SMEs are successful, you will be required to make an investment into the SME business that is the same as or exceeds the value of the Innovate UK grant.SMEs seeking support will be required to carry out projects that reduce energy use or minimise resource use in the foundation industries.

An online briefing event will be held on 4th November: details will appear here once available.