Healthy ageing: investor partnership programme, round 2

Investors can apply to partner with Innovate UK to align their investments with up to £12 million grant funding in UK registered SMEs delivering innovation in the healthy ageing market. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Opportunity Details


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We are seeking investor partners that are looking to invest in high growth potential SMEs that aspire to finding solutions to address the issues associated with ageing well. The SMEs will be selected in a later competition.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is inviting investors to partner with us for this healthy ageing investor partnership programme. Together we will align Innovate UK’s grant funding of relevant R&D projects alongside your investment in UK micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) concerned with developing products, services or business models, which address one or more of the 7 themes of healthy ageing.

We are seeking investor partners that are looking to invest in high growth potential SMEs that aspire to finding solutions to address the issues associated with ageing well. The SMEs will be selected in a later competition.

The aim of this programme is to encourage investment in innovative companies with developed technologies that are working towards providing 5 extra years of healthy active life whilst also addressing social inequalities. Investor partners must provide wider business skills and experience as well as financial investment.

The Healthy Ageing investor partnership programme consists of 2 competitions:

  1. This investor partner selection competition
  2. The SME competition opens in spring 2021. This will be for SMEs to submit project applications for grant support with a clear alignment for private investment.

Your organisation must be an equity provider with the potential to act as lead investor in investments from £1 million to £3 million. Equity providers that are a charity or a trust are also eligible.

We aim to establish a ‘pool’ of lead investor partners, 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

No funding commitment is required at this stage. We will need your commitment to provide aligned investment where Innovate UK offers grant funding to successful applicants in the SME competitions. .

You must be able to demonstrate that your organisation is of good financial standing.

We are looking for a mix of UK established investors with an interest in healthy ageing markets including venture capital, angel network, charity, social impact organisation or corporate venture investors.

Your organisation must demonstrate it has the capability, capacity and investment appetite to fund individual SMEs that aim to address one or more of the 7 themes of ageing, these are:

  • sustaining physical activity
  • maintaining health at work
  • designing for age-friendly homes
  • managing common complaints of ageing
  • living well with cognitive impairment
  • supporting social connections
  • creating healthy and active places

Investors can choose to focus their innovations on a number of these themes. For example, innovations could address the combined themes of sustaining physical activity, supporting social connections and creating healthy and active places.

Our preferences

We are particularly interested in investors who:

  • are willing to act as sole investor or be the lead investor where additional co-investment is required
  • are prepared to deploy their investment with a patient and long-term view
  • can follow their investment and potentially provide more financing when required with an aspiration to fund or leverage total investment of up to 3 times the original grant funding by 2025
  • can commit to helping the SMEs with international aspirations to grow and scale up
  • have relevant sector or technology-specific expertise or social impact priorities around the healthy ageing markets.

The process for becoming an investor partner is selective. Applications will be assessed by independent assessors and considered by Innovate UK’s Investment Advisory Board.

We have allocated up to £12 million in total to provide grant funding for SME projects aligned with private investment from investor partners.

During the SME phase of this competition, businesses will state what their total funding requirement is, including the 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 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

The SMEs seeking support will be required to carry out projects that meet the objectives of the Healthy Ageing Challenge.

SMEs’ projects must start no later than 1 September 2021 . Projects must have a duration of up to 2 years.

Total eligible project costs submitted by the SME must be between £1 million and £3 million.

Innovate UK grant funding will support up to 50% of total eligible project costs for feasibility studies and industrial research projects.

An online briefing event was held on 15th September: watch the recording here.


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