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:
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 8 will close on 8 March 2023.
In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.
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.
To receive an innovation loan for a new project you must:
We 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.
More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.
Only single businesses can receive loans, so collaboration with other organisations cannot be funded in this competition.
You must only include eligible project costs in your application.
Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.
You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.
All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.
Number of applications
Your business can only submit one application per round of this competition. If you submit more than one application, only the first application will be considered for assessment.
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:
Your project can include:
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:
We will decline applications for loans for businesses which:
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies and markets, with a particular focus on future economy areas set out in the Innovate UK plan for action. We call this a portfolio approach.
Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes or sub-themes:
Health and Wellbeing
Next generation digital technologies