Investors can apply to partner with Innovate UK to invest in innovative SMEs aligned with grant funding.
Innovate UK will support growth in UK micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by aligning Innovate UK’s grant funding for R&D projects alongside your investment.
Investor partnerships are aimed at supporting SMEs that seek support for R&D projects through Innovate UK grant funding and that also seek aligned investment from investor partners.
To be an investor partner, you must demonstrate credibility, capability, capacity, commitment and alignment of interest to the scope of the investor partnerships future economy programme.
SME projects 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.
The investor partnership programme will be focused on specific themes for the future economy areas that include:
- Net Zero
- capital intensive technologies
- power – particularly offshore wind, civil nuclear, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and whole systems integration
- heating and retrofit
- resource efficiency for materials and manufacturing
- critical circular materials
- battery technologies for transport and energy storage (Faraday Battery Challenge)
- Health and Wellbeing
- innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges (Biomedical Catalyst)
- the application of extended reality for digital mental health, including immersive content that could be delivered as a digital mental health therapeutic in formal healthcare settings (Mindset)
- controlled environment agriculture and alternative proteins
- Next generation digital technologies
- projects within the creative industries which are underpinned by innovative digital technology as well as sustainable innovations, such as circular fashion (Creative Catalyst)
- adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies in targeted industries (Bridge AI)
- Knows No Limit
- innovations from diverse founders or senior decision-makers that are from under-represented groups and are role models
- innovations outside of the future economy theme areas, including those that support under-served communities and groups
- Innovate UK has allocated up to £80 million to fund innovation projects, aligned with investment from investor partners. Funding will be offered through regular rounds of the SME competition from July 2022 to July 2024. This competition does not provide funding to the applicant investor.
- Potential SME applicants will be able to apply for grant funding for feasibility studies, industrial research and experimental development projects:
- feasibility studies can have eligible project costs from £50,000 to £300,000, can last between 6 and 12 months and will have grants of up to 70%, with at least the same amount of aligned investment from or led by an investor partner
- industrial research projects can have eligible project costs from £100,000 to £1 million, can last between 6 and 18 months and will have grants of up to 70%, with at least the same amount of aligned investment from or led by an investor partner
- experimental development projects can have eligible project costs from £250,000 to £2 million, can last between 12 and 24 months and will have grants of up to 45% for micro and small businesses or up to 35% for medium sized businesses, with at least twice the amount of aligned investment from or led by an investor partner
- They are seeking investor partners who want to invest in high growth potential micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
- Your organisation must be an investor or be able to demonstrate that you can directly facilitate investment.
- To be selected you must demonstrate that you:
- are a credible investor, or can facilitate investment, with a clear investment strategy aligned to the Innovate UK plan for action for the future economy and have the ability to generate returns and add value to your portfolio businesses beyond financial support
- have the capacity to invest in companies that are successful in their application to the investor partnerships programme
- either have the capacity to follow your investment or to encourage other investors to fund further rounds of investment as and when required
- have the capability to successfully transact investments and manage your portfolio
- are in a position to lead the investment
For more information, visit Innovate UK.