Innovate UK Launchpads

Innovate UK Launchpads is a programme aimed at supporting emerging clusters of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

Innovate UK Launchpads

Each Innovate UK Launchpad will support a geographic cluster of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), providing innovation funding, support, and networking opportunities to help SMEs to innovate, grow and scale their businesses.

Each Launchpad will address some of the key challenges facing SMEs in the cluster, which may be access to innovation finance and collaboration. Within a Launchpad, we will support the cluster of businesses that share common interests and challenges and help them to overcome these obstacles.

A co-developed programme

Each unique Launchpad is targeted at a particular innovation cluster and centred on a named geographic area. We will co-develop the Launchpad with the local leadership. By working closely together we will develop a support offer that addresses the specific needs of the cluster and is embedded in the local innovation ecosystem.

In 2022, the first two (pilot) Launchpads were announced:

  • Net Zero Launchpad centred on Tees Valley
  • Advanced Manufacturing Launchpad centred on Liverpool City Region

How they work

Each Launchpad supports businesses on their innovation projects and to collaborate and contribute to a supportive ecosystem. Several different types of support will be offered, including funding for research and development, access to innovation specialist support, and opportunities to network and collaborate. The support will enable the development of new products or services and the testing and validation of innovations by Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs).

In addition to providing direct support to innovative organisations, each Launchpad will stimulate innovation and growth within the local economy. By supporting emerging clusters of innovate businesses, and working in co-creation with the location’s local leadership, Innovate UK aims for more places in the UK to host world-leading and globally connected innovation clusters.

Who can apply

To be eligible within an Innovate UK Launchpad competition, organisations must be based in the UK and be able to demonstrate a strong potential for growth and innovation. They must also be active or growing their work activities in the Launchpad’s named cluster, with an opportunity to support economic growth in the local area.

The most recent round of Launchpad funding closed on 29th March 2023: visit our funding pages to find other opportunities.

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