Innovate UK Innovation Loans Future Economy: Round 10
UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.
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:
- need public funding
- can cover interest payments
- will be able to repay the loan on time
To receive an innovation loan for a new project you must:
- be a UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
- carry out your project from or in the UK
- intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
- give evidence that your business is suitable to take on a loan
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. Only single businesses can receive loans, so collaboration with other organisations cannot be funded in this competition.
You can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million to fund your project’s eligible costs.
Your proposal must demonstrate:
- a clearly expressed and compelling innovative idea
- a robust and deliverable business plan that addresses and shows evidence of market potential and needs
- a team with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time, and take the outputs forward
- awareness of all the main risks the project and business will face, with realistic plans to manage, mitigate and minimise the impact of each of these
- sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money and ability to repay the loan
- why you are unable to fund the project from your own resources or other forms of public or private sector funding
- a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion
Projects can last up to 5 years, including both the R&D and commercialisation phases. Projects are expected to start by 31 March 2024. Your exact project start date and first innovation loan drawdown will depend on the timing of the final credit committee decision and completion of loan documentation.
Your project can include:
Your project must focus on one or more of the following themes or sub-themes:
- impact of industrial processes and use of materials
- agriculture and food and other sources of emissions
- capital intensity
Health and Wellbeing
- tackling ill health
- enhancing wellbeing
- diet and food
Next generation digital technologies
- advanced materials and manufacturing
- artificial intelligence digital and advanced computing
- bioinformatics and genomics
- engineering biology
- electronics, photonics and quantum technologies
- energy and environment technologies
- robotics and smart machines
URKI, Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN have produced financial submission guidance and a guide to a Good Project Application: click here to view the available resources, including the round 9 video briefing, blogs and advice.
An application for an innovation loans competition needs different information from one for a grant application. Even if you have applied for funding from Innovate UK before, you are strongly advised to read the innovation loans guidance before you start.
Financial Submission guidance and guide to a Good Project Application: access the resources website
We will hold an online briefing for potential applicants on Thursday 20th July, 10am-noon. Click here to register for a place. This webinar will provide essential information on innovation loans, including the scope of the programme, the application process (both the project and financial aspects), the assessment process and the approach to our credit decision making process. This webinar will also be recorded.
Applicants in this round will also have the opportunity to join an online financial submission ‘deep dive’ workshop: see below for details. At the briefing link above you will also be able to register for the deep dive workshops.
These workshops will not repeat the information provided in the applicant briefing webinar (which provides an overview of the future economy innovation loans programme and detailed information about the application process) or in the recorded financial submission webinar (which focuses on the mechanics of completion of the business and financial submission, especially the mandatory financial spreadsheet). We expect all participants at the ‘deep dive’ workshops to have already reviewed the content of these webinars (as well as the recorded webinar on completing a good project application). Please click here to find these recordings. These ‘deep dive’ workshops will replace the ‘credit drop-in’ sessions that we have run in earlier rounds of the programme. These ‘deep dive’ workshops will not be recorded, so that participants can discuss their funding strategies freely.
Prior registration is mandatory for these workshops and applicants will only be permitted to register one participant at one workshop. Since each applicant will only be permitted one participant, we recommend that this should be the Chief Financial Officer or another member of the Board or Senior Leadership team with responsibility for developing the funding strategy for growth through innovation of the business.
Deep dive workshop 1: Wednesday 2nd August from 12.00 – 13.30
Deep dive workshop 2: Wednesday 16th August from 12.00 – 13.30
Deep dive workshop 3: Wednesday 30th August from 12.00 – 13.30