Future Flight Investment Readiness Programme

UK SMEs and start-ups can apply to join the Future Flight Investment Readiness Programme to accelerate their investment journey.

Opportunity Details


Registration Opens


Registration Closes



Up to 25 SMEs and start-ups will join a 10-week programme of workshops, 1:1 mentoring and feedback sessions, and advice from companies and individuals that have successfully secured multiple rounds of investment and funding to sustainably grow their business.


Innovate UK KTN

Share this opportunity

Delivered via the UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge, the programme will support you to hone your pitch deck to investors, gain a better understanding of the aerospace and aviation funding landscape, prepare your investment materials, and feel confident reaching out to potential investors. The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Provide a clear understanding of the investment & investor ecosystem.
  • Support the creation and development of materials to secure investor interest and partnership.
  • One to one coaching, mentoring and advisory sessions.
  • Accelerate the investment journey of future flight SMEs.

The 10-week programme is open to anyone involved in future flight technologies such as advanced air mobility and drones, and will be supported by Starbust, a leading global aerospace and defence start-up accelerator and strategic advisory practice. The programme will include a series of workshops as well as 1:1 touch-points with Starburst to provide you with the insights needed to kick start your investment journey.

  • We welcome expressions of interest from companies working in advanced/urban air mobility (AAM/UAM), drones, electric sub-regional flight, or enabling sectors.

    To apply, your organisation must:

    • Be a UK-registered SME or start-up, with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than £35m.
    • Be active in the future flight sector or related enabling technologies and services, including but not limited to:
      • Aerospace design and manufacturing
      • Communications technology
      • Cybersecurity
      • Defence or physical security
      • Electric or alternative propulsion
      • Energy generation or storage
      • Drone design, manufacture, or operations
      • Autonomy, artificial intelligence, or machine learning
      • Air traffic management or flight planning
      • Materials or coatings
      • Infrastructure design or development
      • Modelling and simulation
      • Testing or certification
      • Regulation, insurance, or legal.

    Expressions of interest from academic institutions, research and technical institution (RTOs), large businesses, not-for-profits, or public sector organisations will not be considered.

    At Innovate UK KTN, we value diversity of opinions, ideas, skills, and perspectives. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds, particularly from those currently underrepresented in aviation.

    We are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. Support for people who have a disability or long-term condition and face barriers applying can contact futureflight@iuk.ktn-uk.org for further support.

  • Participants will be selected based on responses to the application questionnaire.

    A portfolio approach will be used for this programme to ensure, as far as possible, that participants represent a range of future flight capabilities, geographic locations, company types and maturity.

    No direct funding award will be made as part of this opportunity.

  • Selected SMEs will join a 10-week programme of workshops, including 1:1 mentoring and feedback sessions. By the end of the programme, you will have developed an investor pitched, finished your proposition, and have a defendable understanding of how to finance your business.

    The programme will begin w/c 25 September 2023, and conclude by 30 November 2023. There will be one session per week, typically lasting one hour.

    Applicants must be able to commit to attending the full programme of activities, as detailed in the below timeline. Please note that dates are subject to change and, if they do, this will be communicated to applicants as soon as possible.

  • The UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge, is a £300 million programme, co-funded by government and industry, that is supporting the creation of the aviation ecosystem needed to accelerate the introduction of advanced air mobility (AAM), drones, and electric sub-regional aircraft in the UK.

    Delivered by Innovate UK and the Economic and Social Research Council, the Challenge works with industry, academia, government, and regulators to transform how we connect people, transport goods, and deliver services in a sustainable way that provides socio-economic benefits using new types of air vehicles with novel technologies.

    Innovate UK KTN is a delivery partner of the UK Research and Innovation Future Flight Challenge.

Related programme

Future Flight Challenge

Future Flight Challenge

Future Flight services and enabling technologies such as AI and electric propulsion will transform how we connect people, transport goods and deliver services in a sustainable way that delivers socio-economic benefits across the UK.


Connect with Innovate UK Business Connect

Join Innovate UK Business Connect's mailing list to receive updates on funding opportunities, events and to access Innovate UK Business Connect's deep expertise. Please check your email to confirm your subscription and select your area(s) of interest.