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SMEs transforming food production: series A investor partnership

Project Size:
£1 million- £3 million


This competition will support UK registered micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SMEs must be aspiring to transform food production through experimental development projects that are closer to market.

Your UK registered SME will receive:

  • Grant funding
  • Aligned investment funding from the programme’s pool of lead investors

The grant funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Transforming Food Production challenge.

As well as investment, the lead investors in the pool can provide you with commercial acumen, such as:

  •  Leadership
  •  Market access
  •  Skills
  •  Resources


Seeking SMEs with high growth potential that aspire to transform food production towards net zero emissions by 2040. To secure grant funding you must also secure investment of at least twice the amount of grant through one of the lead investors associated with this programme.

Your project must:

  •  Have total eligible costs between £1 million and £3 million
  • Start by 1 October 2021
  • End by 31 March 2023
  •  Last 18 months

This competition is open to single applicants only.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK.


You must develop precision technologies and data driven solutions that make a significant step towards realising net zero food production systems by 2040.

Your proposal must demonstrate the ambition to finalise a late stage innovation with the potential to grow and scale your business through successful negotiation of investment from a lead investor associated with the competition. You must provide a coherent project plan which integrates into your business strategy.

You must demonstrate how your project meets the overall aims of the ISCF Transforming Food Production Challenge, which are to:

  • Help food production systems achieve net zero emissions by 2040
  • Help produce food in ways that are more efficient, resilient and sustainable
  • Speed up the development and use of integrated precision approaches to improve productivity in agricultural systems

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

  • The development of precision solutions and systems that will make a significant step towards net zero emissions for food production
  • Improving productivity of the agricultural sector
  • Stimulating the establishment of novel high value production systems
  • Developing export opportunities

Innovate UK will fund experimental development projects only, and will not fund projects involving:

  • Equine
  • Amenity horticulture
  • Wild-caught fisheries
  • Non-food crops

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