Category: Financeinvestment

NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace, autumn 2019

UK micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million for industry led civil aerospace research projects.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Together we will invest up to £10 million in aerospace innovation projects as part of the ATI Programme.

This competition is the first of 4 rounds. We plan to open the others every 6 months. The last round is scheduled for spring 2021.

The aim of this competition is to provide help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative aerospace technologies. These will enhance your capabilities and increase your ability to win new business.

Your proposal must align with the priorities stated in the UK Aerospace technology strategy, Raising Ambition. ATI will add new themes to the strategy before the competition closes. Projects which address the new themes will also be eligible for funding.

Opens: 21 October 2019

Closes: 4 December 2019

To find out more click here


Innovate UK Smart Grants: October 2019

Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.

Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £25 million in the best game-changing and commercially viable innovative or disruptive ideas. All proposals must be business focused.

Applications can come from any area of technology and be applied to any part of the economy, such as but not exclusively:

  • the arts, design and media
  • creative industries
  • science or engineering

Whilst we welcome projects that overlap with the grand challenge areasthis is not a requirement, as we are also keen to support projects in other areas. All SMEs involved in funded projects will also be offered business growth support from the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

We may share application details with other public sector co-funders if this is appropriate.

We may consider eligible project costs over £2 million (but not exceeding £3 million), subject to the process set out under ‘Eligibility’.

Opens:  17 October 2019

Closes:  8 January 2020

To find out more click here


Agri-tech catalyst round 9: agriculture and food systems innovation, late stage

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million to work on agri-tech and food chain innovations in Africa.

Up to £5 million of funding is available from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This is for projects working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

We are running 3 strands to this competition at the same time:

  1. Early stage feasibility studies
  2. Mid stage industrial research
  3. Late stage experimental development (this competition)

It is your responsibility to make sure you are applying for the correct strand.

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of innovation in the development of agricultural and food systems in Africa. Your project must result in more use of innovations by farmers and food systems organisations such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers.

Opens: 14 October 2019

Closes: 8 January 2020

To find out more click here


Agri-tech catalyst round 9: agriculture and food systems innovation, mid stage

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million to work on agri-tech and food chain innovations in Africa.

Opens: 14 October 2019

Closes: 8 January 2020

To find out more click here


Agri-tech catalyst round 9: agriculture and food systems innovation, early stage

UK organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million to work on agri-tech and food chain innovations in Africa.

Up to £5 million of funding is available from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This is for projects working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with partners in eligible African countries.

We are running 3 strands to this competition at the same time:

  1. Early stage feasibility studies (this competition)
  2. Mid-stage industrial research
  3. Late stage experimental development

It is your responsibility to make sure you are applying for the correct strand.

The aim of this competition is to increase the pace of innovation in the development of agricultural and food systems in Africa. Your project must result in more use of innovations by farmers and food systems organisations such as manufacturers, processors, retailers, distributors and wholesalers.

Opens: 14 October 2019

Closes: 8 January 2020

To find out more click here


Application of whole genome sequencing approaches to cancer

UK businesses and research organisations can apply for a share of up to £5.4 million. This is for projects involving the application of whole genome sequencing to analyse cancers. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £5.4 million. This is for innovation projects that use whole genome sequencing to analyse cancers. This competition is funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim is to encourage the development of new approaches to targeted therapy based on the molecular signatures of cancers. Your project can develop new analytical methods or validate new targets using new and existing genomic data from cancers.

We will fund feasibility studies, industrial research and experimental development.

Opens: 7 October 2019

Closes: 22 January 2020

To find out more click here


SME support to evaluate innovative medical technologies: round 5

UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of £1.5 million to support the evaluation of innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital health products.

The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £1.5 million in innovation projects. These will support developers of innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital technology to evaluate their product in a real world clinical setting.

All projects must be led by a UK based SME. You can choose from 2 options:

  1. Planning and preparation for a study, for which total eligible project costs can be up to £100,000.
  2. A study to collect clinical performance and cost-effectiveness data, for which total project costs can be up to £500,000.

This competition provides support for micro, small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop an evidence base for products that address NHS priorities. Our support will allow companies to collect and analyse clinical performance and cost effectiveness data in an NHS setting.

Applications are highly encouraged from SMEs from across all regions of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Opens: 30 September 2019

Closes: 11 December 2019

To find out more click here


Future flight challenge: discovery workshop, phase 1

A 2 day discovery workshop for successful applicants to refine, validate and collaborate on the challenge of Future Flight against 6 problem statements.

Future Flight Challenge (FFC) is a 4 year, £125 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) programme. Individuals and consortia can apply responding to 6 ‘problem statements’ challenging the aviation industry of the future.

The aim of the programme is to:

  • demonstrate innovative ways to enable greener flight in a publicly acceptable manner leading to reduced carbon footprint for aviation
  • investigate and create new services and ways to travel
  • increase mobility
  • improve connectivity
  • alleviate congestion

This is the first of 3 phases. Individuals can apply to attend a 2 day discovery workshop and work with other people and organisations from both within and outside of the aviation sector. No grant funding is available in this phase, but we will cover the costs to attend the event. Grant funding for projects will be available for future phases, when we will ask you to apply with a detailed project proposal.

You can apply for future phases of this competition even if you do not attend the discovery workshop.

Opens: 30 September 2019

Closes: 13 November 2019

To find out click here


Deadline Approaches for £1m Floating Wind Technology Competition

The Floating Wind Technology Acceleration Competition is providing grant funding for projects that support technologies to help the floating offshore wind industry reach its full potential.

The floating wind sector, where turbines are constructed on floating structures, is at an earlier stage of development than other offshore wind, and a number of challenges need to be overcome in order to allow large scale deployment of this technology.

According to the Carbon Trust, the scale of opportunity in floating offshore wind is significant. By 2030, it estimates that a further 12GW of floating wind capacity could be built globally, requiring around £32.4 billion of capital investment.

For this competition, £1 million of grant funding is available, with up to £250,000 being provided for individual projects taking place in 2019 and 2020. The Carbon Trust expects to support between four and ten projects in total.

Funding can be used to support technology development across a range of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) from early stage proof-of-concept or lab testing, to supporting the delivery of an operational prototype or full-scale demonstration (TRLs 3-7).

The competition is open to private companies, not-for-profit organisations and academic institutions, both in the UK and internationally. Entries from single companies and consortia are welcome.

Deadline:  5 November 2019

To find out more click here


SME Leaders Programme Launches Second Round for 2019

Provided by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, the SME Leaders Programme supports promising leaders of high-growth engineering and technology SMEs. By improving the skills of these leaders, the Academy wishes to encourage the pursuit and growth of excellence in UK engineering.

The aim of the programme is to support the development of leadership skills, through a number of channels:

  • A grant of up to £10,000 towards training courses.
  • Masterclasses and workshops delivered by senior business leaders held at the Academy.
  • Mentoring by an experienced person from the pool of Academy Fellows and partners of the Enterprise Hub.
  • One-to-one coaching.
  • Public relations support and networking opportunities.
  • Access to co-working space and meeting rooms in London.
  • Travel and accommodation costs.

Leaders of high growth engineering and technology small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK will qualify for assistance.

Deadline: 18 November 2019

To find out more click here


£100m Initiative to Help UK Firms Capitalise on Offshore Wind Market

The UK is said to be well suited to exploiting wind power, with turbines having been erected in over 30 locations. However, it is widely accepted that the sector has produced too few jobs. By 2030, the offshore wind power market is expected to be worth £30 billion per year, with the UK generating a third of its electricity from wind.

The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) is a £100 million initiative designed to help UK businesses maximise opportunities in the global offshore wind supply chain market.

Activities will initially focus on helping supply chain companies with strategy and leadership, project management, people excellence, process excellence, health and safety culture, and quality management. It will also work with the offshore wind developers to provide greater long-term visibility of project pipelines that will help supply chain companies to plan and, if necessary, to invest in new capability or capacity.

Support will include a range of services, such as expert advice on manufacturing and commercialisation, as well as funding for innovation. This will:

  • help UK companies currently in the UK offshore wind supply chain;
  • enhance the ability of UK companies to export products and services around the world;
  • enable companies from other sectors to enter the offshore wind supply chain; and
  • inspire companies to develop the next generation of innovative products and services to meet specific industry requirements.

The programme is expected to support over 650 UK companies to access the domestic offshore wind market.

Industry Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Counci, Benj Sykes, said:

"The offshore wind industry is offering multi-million pound opportunities to hundreds of innovative companies throughout the UK in the years ahead – including new entrants to the market, as well as firms already working in this area.

"The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership will provide practical help for UK companies so they can compete successfully for contracts in this thriving global market."

Companies will be invited to apply for support on a regular basis, with the first pilot opportunity anticipated to be launched in September 2019.

To find out more click here


Applications Open for Offshore Wind Hackathon

The Offshore Wind Hackathon is a two-day event, centred around an industrial data-led challenge set by ScottishPower Renewables, with the aim of developing a prototype solution for use in wind farm operations.

Teams of up to six people will be working with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to develop their solution further, along with the opportunity to pitch that solution to senior managers from ScottishPower Renewables.

The problem statement for the hackathon will be: "Provide an accurate wind farm Power Available (PA) measure using data that is already available at operational wind farms". PA is the electrical power that can be provided by a wind farm at any given instant and is influenced by both the wind resource in that moment and the status of the assets, including any on-site curtailment.

Entrants are encouraged from all backgrounds, including UK-based small businesses, academics, students, consultancies and specialists from data-led sectors. The Hackathon is open to both teams and individuals.

The team that develops the ‘Pitched Concepts’ which are judged to be most compliant with the specific criteria shall be awarded a prize of £10,000 to allow the development of the best technical solution.

Registration for the Hackathon is now open. Applications should be made at the earliest opportunity.

The event takes place 28-29 October 2019 at the Glasgow Science Centre.


HSBC UK Announces £14 Billion Loan Fund for UK SMEs

HSBC UK has announced a £14 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The bank’s dedicated SME Fund has increased by £2 billion, following a £12 billion package of support in 2018.

The increase in funding this year reflects HSBC’s commitment to supporting businesses through economic uncertainty. Since launching the SME Loan Fund in 2014, HSBC has committed more than £60 billion to UK SMEs to help businesses innovate, evolve and grow.

Ensuring the Fund remains UK-wide in its support of ambitious companies, it will be split and allocated to specific regions across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

For those companies exploring opportunities overseas, a ring-fenced pot for international businesses, which forms part of the overall offer, has been doubled to £2 billion this year.

The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply.

Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK, said:

"Our SME Fund will help companies seize new opportunities for growth at home and overseas.

"We’ve always supported ambitious businesses, and we see it as our responsibility to be there for our customers whether conditions are benign or challenging.

"This year’s Fund is therefore part of a broader range of initiatives that we have in place to support British business as they navigate Brexit in a fast-changing world."

Applications can be made at any time.

To find out more click here


Launch of the 2019 Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants

Through the Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grant (T-TRIG), the government is looking for innovative projects to tackle carbon emissions, further improve air quality, increase infrastructure resilience and make the transport system more accessible for all.

This year, the competition has three themed elements: Decarbonisation, Age-friendly and Accessible Transport, and Potholes and Resilient Infrastructure, reflecting the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges and core issues facing the UK’s transport network.

Issuing targeted investments of up to £30,000 for each project, the fund aims to help start-ups and academics propel their ideas to market more quickly.

The Minister for the Future of Transport, George Freeman MP, said:

"This government is committed to improving the UK’s transport network, from tackling air pollution to fixing potholes for good.

"We now have an exciting opportunity to stimulate the brightest thinkers in our universities and small business networks to try out novel solutions to fix legacy problems across our transport system and realise their visions for the future.

"Schemes like this grant will ensure the UK retains its reputation as a world-leading innovator, and I encourage early-stage businesses in the transport sector to apply for the funds available."

Deadline: 29 October 2019

To find out more click here


Nesta Reopens Collective Intelligence Grants

Nesta is once again offering grants for projects that generate new knowledge on how to advance collective intelligence as a means of solving social problems.

Although there is an emerging academic discipline of collective intelligence and a field of promising practice, it is small compared to artificial intelligence. Nesta wants to focus more resource and build greater knowledge on the potential for innovation when human and machine intelligence is combined by working with others around the world.

As a first step, Nesta is offering grants for organisations to do this through practical experiments that will provide actionable and generalisable insights into good collective intelligence design.

For the current round, £500,000 is available to be awarded through individual grants of up to £30,000. Nesta is especially interested in proposals related to education, the future of work, government innovation and health. It is also open to ideas that do not fit within these areas, such as the environment and climate change, urban development, or international development.

Nesta welcomes applications from registered organisations based anywhere in the UK or internationally. This call is relevant for applicants already combining human and machine intelligence, and that wish to test a variety of approaches or a new approach to better understand what works in designing/applying collective intelligence for social good.

Deadline: 25 October 2019

To find out more click here


The Rural Connected Communities (RCC) competition

The Rural Connected Communities (RCC) competition will fund up to 10 5G research and development projects to run over the course of two years.

These projects will trial innovative use cases and technical solutions to build the business case for investment in rural connectivity and explore the capabilities of 5G to benefit rural communities. They will also help demonstrate demand from a variety of economic sectors and rural communities for 5G technologies.

Connectivity applications are expected to show a combination of societal and economic benefits that will together create a stronger case for investing in the deployment of 5G infrastructure for rural areas.

This​ ​competition​​ ​is​ ​open​ ​to​ applications from consortia​ ​from​ ​across​ ​the​ ​UK. Consortia are likely to consist of a mixture of organisations including the public, private and third sectors, and academia.

Deadline:  25 October 2019

To find out more click here


Funding for more customs experts announced

The Treasury and HMRC have announced funding of £16 million to help more businesses become customs experts. The funding will be used to help exporters and importers train staff to enable them to make customs declarations, and for smaller businesses who act as customs intermediaries to invest in IT. Funding applications will close on 31 January 2020, or earlier if all the funding is allocated.

To find out more click here


Gigabit Voucher

Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit-capable connection. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme with a voucher worth £500 as part of a group project. 

Closing date - ongoing

To find out more click here


Interreg VA France

The France (Channel) England Programme has five Specific Objectives. If your project idea falls under one of these objectives and is in the eligible region, then please contact us with your idea to see if we can help.

Objectives are : Innovation, Social Innovation, Low Carbon Technologies, Natural and Cultural Heritage, Coastal and Transitional Water Ecosystems.

Closing date - ongoing

To find out more click here


CITB Grants

Apply for a grant or project funding, and learn how CITB supports training for the construction industry.

Closing date - ongoing

To find out more click here


Forward Enterprise Fund

The fund offers a combination of different type of support, depending on the needs of your enterprise. If successful the Forward Enterprise Fund will work with you to design a package of support to help your organisation develop and grow. Support could include a mix of:

Business Support : Pre-investment business support gives you the chance to work with specialist advisers to grow your business and become investment-ready.

Crowdfunder Support: You can get support to set up a crowdfunding campaign through Crowdfunder to raise capital for your business.

Loans: You can access loans to assist your business in its development.

Closing date - ongoing

To find out more click here


The Start-up Series: £150,000 of Equity Investment Funding

We aim to pick one business every month to receive investment from an EIS & SEIS fund.

Startups.co.uk are in partnership with experienced investment promoters Worth Capital. The series throws the doors wide open for companies to submit their applications from the 1st to the 14th of every month. From an initial simple application, businesses will be assessed through multiple stages and winners will be offered investment at a fair valuation in exchange for an equity stake in their business (subject to due diligence carried out by the Fund Manager).

Ongoing competition

To find out more click here


Goldman Sachs - 10, 000 Small Business Programme

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services. 10,000 Small Businesses is funded by Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Closing date - Ongoing

To find out more click here


The Creative Enterprise New Ideas Fund

The Creative Enterprise New Ideas Fund is a programme designed to help screen-based businesses move away from working project-to-project and develop more sustainable businesses.

Through the Fund, Creative England is able to offer small seed funding to sole traders, start-ups and small firms for their creative business ideas. The programme aims to support untapped talent and allow talented people to find finance for their ideas.

Investments of between £500 and £15,000 are available for emerging and new screen-based storytelling business proposals, including new business ideas, business proposals and business costs.

Date: Applications accepted on a rolling basis

To find out more click here


Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS)

Though not strictly a grant funding, we felt SEIS was very relevant to add to this list. SEIS is a tax relief designed to encourage investors to invest in UK companies. In essence, investors can claim eligible investment against their tax bill, significantly reducing capital risk. Many professional investors and business angels now require SEIS at Angel Stage before they even look at a company. You can apply for SEIS status with HMRC here.

Funding: The relief allows investors to claim back up to 78% of their investment through tax in the first year (up to £150K, as of Jan 1st, 2014). Once companies are approved for SEIS status, there’s a process you must go through with HMRC to claim on behalf of your investor.

Closing date - ongoing

To find out more click here


R&D Tax Credits

The research and development tax credits scheme allows you to claim back a significant amount of your development costs back in cash each year! If you are a startup heavily focused on development, then this scheme is well worth checking out. The paperwork itself is not too complicated to fill in; there are also a few expert agencies about who can help you with filling it out for a price. You can find guides, more information and how to apply here.

Funding: You can claim back up to 32% in development costs each year; this even includes staff/contractor costs

Closing date - ongoing

To find out more click here


Enhanced Financial Support Package for UK Exporters

An extensive new financial support package for small to medium-sized business (SMEs) exporting to fast-growing markets has been outlined by the Secretary of State for International Trade.

Overseen by UK Export Finance (UKEF), the package will include:

The Small Deal Initiative – to back exporters undertaking the smaller contracts that underpin British trade. UKEF will guarantee the loans of potential overseas buyers of British goods to make UK bids more competitive.

Extending financial support to firms in exporters’ supply chains as well as exporters themselves.

The General Export Facility – allowing UKEF to support exporters’ overall working capital requirements, rather than requiring support to be linked to the needs of a specific export.

Dr Liam Fox said:

"These announcements are potential gamechangers for our export industry, and will help us to tap a fresh vein of potential from within our economy.

"Building a truly Global Britain takes real investment. It cannot be done on the cheap.

"If we want to become an exporting superpower, with greater influence, selling more goods and services abroad and encouraging more British investment overseas, then we will have to invest in the capabilities required.

"UKEF’s work would be at the very forefront of this investment strategy."

To find out more click here


2019 World of Opportunity Grants Programme Opens to Support SMEs Exporting

The World of Opportunity SME Grants Programme has been established to provide funding for growing businesses in order to help them begin exporting and reaching new markets.

Through partnership with the Exporting is GREAT campaign, the sponsor can help prepare each successful applicant for international trade.

The programme is offering 20 SMEs the chance to each win a grant of £2,000 to fund trade missions. The money can also be used to help fund a trade show or research into new markets.

All residents in the United Kingdom who are aged 18 years or over may apply. Participants should enter the programme for and on behalf of an SME, being a small or medium-sized enterprise with fewer than 250 employees.

Closes : Friday 18 October 2019

To find out more click here


Horizon 2020: what it is and how to apply for funding

Horizon 2020 is the largest ever European funding programme for research and innovation. It has a budget of 79 billion euros and will run until 2020.

It aims to:

  • ensure that Europe produces world-class science
  • remove barriers to innovation
  • make it easier for public and private sectors to innovate together

This guidance is designed to help people in the UK understand and access the funding opportunities available, in order to innovate and grow both in the UK and abroad.

What is Horizon 2020?

The Horizon 2020 programme was established by the European Union (EU) as a collaborative financial instrument that would help secure Europe’s global competitiveness in research and innovation.

The programme – running from 2014 to 2020 – is seen as a means of putting Europe at the heart of world-class science and innovation, making it more competitive, creating economic growth and new jobs. It offers an open, simple structure for accessing funding in order to remove barriers to collaborative innovation, get new projects off the ground quickly and achieve results faster.

Funding calls are based on 3 areas:

Excellent science

This area focuses on raising the level of excellence in Europe’s science base by:

  • supporting the best ideas
  • developing European talent
  • providing researchers with access to a research infrastructure

Industrial leadership

This area stimulates the growth potential of European companies by:

  • offering access to risk finance
  • encouraging private investment in research and development
  • offering support for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Societal challenges

This area aims to tackle the biggest challenges facing modern society. It reflects the policy priorities of the European Commission and covers all stages of research and innovation, from concept to market.

To find out more click here


Commercialising quantum technology: large collaborative projects round 1

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £27 million to collaborate on developing quantum products and services. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim of the competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK through the investment of up to £27 million in innovation projects. Projects should focus on one or more of the following technical challenges:

  • connectivity
  • situational awareness
  • computing

The projects must exploit second generation quantum techniques.

Projects must demonstrate how the technology can be brought to market (as hardware, software or a service) in the UK and how it fulfils an end user need. Projects must include the development, manufacture (if applicable) and application of the technology.

Applications are expected from consortia led by a business but in exceptional circumstances applications from consortia led by research and technology organisations (RTOs) will be considered.

Opened: 5 August 2019

Closes: 30 October 2019

To find out more click here


Commercialising quantum technology: feasibility and industrial research projects round 1

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £6 million for quantum technology innovation projects funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim of the competition is to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK. This is achieved through the investment of up to £6 million in innovation projects which address one or more of the following technical challenges:

  • connectivity
  • situational awareness
  • computing

Projects must:

  • exploit second generation quantum techniques
  • demonstrate how the technology will contribute towards the commercialisation of quantum technologies in or from the UK

Applications can be single or collaborative and must be led by a business. All applications must include a micro, small or medium sized enterprise (SME).

Opened: 5 August 2019

Closes:  30 October 2019

To find out more click here


Backing Youth Ambition - New Support for the UK’s Young Entrepreneurs

Almost two thirds of young people have, or would consider, starting their own business but many say a lack of funding and experience is putting them off, according to research commissioned by The Prince’s Trust and Lloyds Development Capital (LDC). Following the publication of this research, the two organisations have come together to launch Backing Youth Ambition, an initiative designed to support youth enterprise across the UK.

The three-year programme aims to help over 1,200 young people explore and launch their own businesses through start-up grants and additional funding for The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme. LDC is also providing support through fundraising, volunteering and mentoring activity across its regional offices, employees and investee companies.

Young entrepreneurs from across the UK may be eligible for support through the programme.

Nick Stace, UK Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust, said:

"Starting a business can transform a young person’s life and is a brilliant way for them to fulfil their potential and gain a greater stake in our society.

"Together with LDC, we will help to break down the barriers these young people are facing and give as many of them as possible the confidence and opportunity to become their own boss."

Martin Draper, CEO at LDC, said:

"Young entrepreneurs are essential to a thriving economy.  What is clear, is there is no shortage of ambition amongst young people to be their own boss.

"We’re excited to join forces and support their mission, helping to back the ambition of young people and create a new generation of entrepreneurs."

Applications can be submitted at any time.

To find out more click here


Launch of £3m Fund for Businesses Redistributing Surplus Food

The FareShare Surplus with Purpose Fund is aimed at offsetting the costs faced by food producing companies seeking to redistribute their edible surplus comestibles to charities and community groups helping vulnerable people.

The programme has an overall budget of £3 million. Businesses could be eligible for up to £50,000 worth of funding. Greater sums can be negotiated, where appropriate, for high volumes of surplus food.

The money can be used to cover the additional staff costs needed for packing and sorting edible surplus food, or in building, implementing and managing new processes. It could also cover packaging and transportation costs, or lost income from the sale of surplus to animal feed or anaerobic digestion.

Food production businesses in the UK that are seeking to redistribute additional surplus food items may qualify for support.

FareShare CEO, Lindsay Boswell, said:

"This fund will be instrumental in making sure companies who want to do the right thing with their surplus can quickly and safely divert their surplus to frontline charities, in a way that’s cost effective.

"It's a win-win for industry – tackling the issue of food waste at the same time as making a real and measurable impact in the communities they operate within – putting good food on the plates of people who need it."

Applications may be submitted at any time.

Interested parties are asked to complete a form on the funder’s website. They may also email foodoffers@Fareshare.org.uk or call the funder on 020 7064 8911 to discuss participation in the programme.

To find out more click here


CELTIC-NEXT autumn 2019: innovative 5G infrastructure and applications

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest up to £2 million from the CELTIC programme, which is part of the EUREKA Network. This will be in collaborative R&D projects.

The aim of this competition is to encourage the development of 5G in an international collaborative environment by helping UK organisations take part in the CELTIC programme.

We are looking for proposals that develop:

  • innovative 5G infrastructure technologies that make use of artificial intelligence (AI) in network operation or multi-access edge computing (MEC)
  • applications and services that use 5G networks to offer new or improved user experiences
  • 5G features in satellite networks or 5G applications and services that use satellites

Applications and services must focus on one or more of these use cases: the Internet of Things (IoT), the tactile internet, mission critical applications, infotainment and/or immersive technologies.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £400,000 and £2.5 million.

Opens: Monday 14 October 2019

Closes: Wednesday 11 December 2019

To find out more click here


Enabling data access in accountancy, insurance and legal services: CR&D

The aim of this competition is to speed up the responsible adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and data technologies and solutions in the accountancy, insurance and legal sectors by enabling better access to data. UK Research and Innovation will invest up to £3.5 million to this effect.

This is the second stage of a 2-stage competition. It is only open to proposals for research and innovation projects that were developed during the first stage, the Innovation Lab.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects across 3 sectors:

  1. Accountancy
  2. Insurance
  3. Legal services.

We will fund projects covering a range of technological, service and process maturities.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Any project you develop at the Innovation Lab can have a maximum grant of £1.15 million. Consortia are expected to contribute at least equal funding to the grant amount claimed.

Opens: Monday 14 October 2019

Closes: Wednesday 20 November 2019

To find out more click here


October expression of interest: ATI programme

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme represents a £3.9 billion joint government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace.

This programme is co-ordinated and managed by:

  • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation
  • the Aerospace Technology Institute

We work in collaboration to deliver a portfolio of projects to meet the objectives of the Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Raising Ambition’.

This is an expression of interest competition. There are 3 stages and the whole process takes at least 6 months.

1. Expression of interest (EOI): opens monthly and is reviewed by ATI only.

2. Full stage application (FSA): invite only, if successful in the expression of interest stage, with proposal development on the Innovation Funding Service by applicants. Independent assessment by Innovate UK, value for money (VfM) and policy review by BEIS, and strategic assessment by ATI.

3. Final approvals by BEIS and contracting through Innovate UK.

More information is on the ATI website.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Total eligible project costs and project duration must be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

Opens: Monday 7 October 2019

Closes: Wednesday 23 October 2019

To find out more click here


Innovation loans: September 2019 open competition

Innovate UK is offering up to £10 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Loans are for highly innovative late stage projects with the best game changing and/or disruptive ideas or concepts. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Your project should aim to develop new products, processes or services which are significantly ahead of anything similar in the field. You can also propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services.

Your proposal can use any technology from any part of the economy.

Your project must focus on commercialisation, growth or scale up. We will give priority to proposals likely to lead to growth and gains in productivity.

You must be able to show that you:

  • can cover interest payments
  • will be able to repay the loan on time
  • need public funding.

Opens: Monday 23 September 2019

Closes: Wednesday 27 November 2019

To find out more click here


 


ISCF healthy ageing trailblazers: stage 1

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is to invest up to £1.5 million in stage 1 of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Healthy Ageing Trailblazers.

The aim of the Trailblazers is to encourage businesses and public sector led collaborations, including social enterprises, to develop and demonstrate how products, services and business models which support people as they age will be adopted at scale.

This is stage 1 of a 2-stage competition. You can apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to conduct research and develop a business plan. For stage 1 of the competition you can apply as a single applicant. Stage 2 proposals must be collaborative.

In stage 2, the delivery stage, we will invest up to £36 million. This is to develop and implement the products, services or business models, with individual eligible project costs up to £6 million.

Only projects successful in stage 1 will be invited to apply for stage 2.

In stage 1 your project’s total eligible costs may be up to £100,000.

Opens: Monday 23 September 2019

Closes: Wednesday 27 November 2019

To find out more click here


ISCF Future food production systems

Up to £20 million of grant funding is available for projects that disrupt the traditional land-based models of food production.

Projects must create integrated, data-driven solutions to drive agricultural productivity as well as target net zero emissions. We will consider a broad range of technologies and systems.

Your project must aim to determine the transformation of future food production systems. It must be ambitious, multidisciplinary and systems-focused rather than dedicated to developing a single technology.

We are particularly looking to support large-scale, ambitious projects.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be greater than £1 million but less than £10 million.

Opens: Tuesday 17 September 2019

Closes: Wednesday 22 January 2020

To find out more click here


SBRI: innovation in automated tunnel examination

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £1.5 million, plus VAT, for projects that develop and demonstrate innovation to automate the examination of tunnels.This is a single phase Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition and is open to organisations of all sizes based in the UK, EU, EEA, USA or Canada.Network Rail to invest up to £1.5 million, plus VAT. This will support the development and demonstration of new capability in automated tunnel examination. The competition process is managed by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

The competition supports the objectives of Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (CP6) funding strategy for research and development. The aim of this competition is to improve the accuracy, efficiency and safety of tunnel examinations resulting in a safer and more reliable operational railway.Your project should reduce the time taken to complete examinations through improved automation and increased repeatability and reproducibility of data. It must also mitigate the risks associated with lower quality examinations due to challenging access constraints and human centric bias. The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £350,000 and £500,000, plus VAT.

Opens: Monday 16 September 2019

Closes: Wednesday 6 November 2019

To find out more click here


The Future Leaders Fellowships can help fund your most talented innovators

Future Leaders Fellowships allow early career researchers and innovators from eligible UK businesses to develop their leadership potential through challenging innovation or research projects. Funding of up to £1.2 million over a four year period, but with considerable flexibility available. Funding will be provided in line with prevailing state aid guidelines.The ability to attract in individual, or develop an existing employee, who will help create innovative solutions for their business. This could include bringing the most talented international innovators to work in their business in the UK.A new Reduced Hours Fellowship, in which fellows are able to spend up to 40 percent of their time focused on other activities within the business in order to enhance their career.The option to collaborate with other organisations (business, academic, public and third sector).

Our process requires registration to receive further information and bid writing support, so it is important that you register now to be able to apply later.


SBRI: innovation in rail security surveillance analytics, phase 1

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £968,000, plus VAT, for innovations that demonstrate security surveillance analytics in Network Rail stations.

This is a 2-phase Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition open to organisations of all sizes based in the UK, EU or EEA.

Network Rail will invest up to £968,000, plus VAT, in phase 1 of this competition. An extra £500,000, plus VAT, will be available for phase 2. This will support the development and demonstration of new security analytics for railway stations. The competition process is managed by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.

The competition supports the objectives of Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (CP6) funding strategy for research and development. It intends to find out whether security surveillance systems and associated analytics can work in a station environment without disrupting the rail network.

This is the first phase of a 2-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to apply to take part in phase 2. We will monitor changes between your phase 1 and phase 2 submissions. We will not accept unjustified major changes in the consortium or costs.

Phase 1

In the first phase you will develop and demonstrate your analytics system using pre-recorded data.

Phase 2

The successful phase 1 projects will be invited to further develop their research and development (R&D) by trialling the system in a live station environment.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Your project’s total eligible costs for phase 1 must be up to £121,000, plus VAT. For phase 2, the total eligible costs will be up to £250,000, plus VAT.

Opens: Monday 16 September 2019

Closes: Wednesday 6 November 2019

To find out more click here


GCRF demonstrate impact in meeting the sustainable development goals: phase 1

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £9.3 million to demonstrate market-creating innovations in lower income countries and emerging economies. This funding is Official Development Assistance from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) will invest up to £9.3 million in demonstration-stage projects. The projects must have the potential to transform lives in developing countries, through market-creating innovation.

We will support projects that address one or more of the global societal challenges recognised in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the development of innovative processes, products and services. These projects should lead to the deployment of those innovations within developing countries.

This funding is split into 2 phases:

  1. Phase 1 is for feasibility studies.
  2. Phase 2 is for demonstrators.

This competition is to secure funding for phase 1 projects only. Only successful phase 1 applicants will be eligible to apply for the phase 2 demonstrators phase funding.

Your phase 1 feasibility project can include:

  • activities to make sure your idea, and the means to demonstrate it, are technically feasible, and/or
  • human-centred research and design to make sure your idea meets the needs of customers and users, and your demonstration plans reflect realistic use cases

Phase 2 will then support project teams to carry out the demonstration in the developing country. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1.

The competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

Your project’s total eligible costs for phase 1 can be between approximately £85,000 and £120,000 with a maximum grant award of up to £60,000.

Opens: Monday 9 September 2019

Closes: Wednesday 13 November 2019

To find out more click here


Transforming UK construction round 2: MMC, digital and whole-life performance

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million for collaborative R&D projects that improve productivity, quality and performance in UK construction.

Innovate UK, part of UKRI, will invest up to £10 million in UK businesses undertaking collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects. Such projects should go beyond the state-of-the-art in improving productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.

This funding is from the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, part of the Construction Sector Deal.

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

  • digital information management, tools, systems and standards
  • modern methods of construction (MMC) and platform based approaches
  • whole-life asset performance, including active buildings
  • business models, procurement, analytics, benchmarking and metrics
  • financial, assurance, warranty and lending products

You should demonstrate how your project will deliver on the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund themes and the commitments detailed in the Construction Sector Deal. This must include significant industry investment (some exclusions will apply, refer to Projects we will not fund). Applicants should state how their projects will support the objectives of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) strategy or the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) as appropriate.

The competition closes at midday 12pm GMT time on the deadline stated.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £150,000 and £1.5 million.

Opens: Wednesday 28 August 2019

Closes: Wednesday 30 October 2019

To find out more click here


Transforming UK construction: demonstrator projects

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £26 million for practical, demonstrator projects in MMC, digital and whole-life asset performance.

Innovate UK, part of UKRI, will invest up to £26 million from the Transforming Construction Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to demonstrate solutions to improve productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.

Your project must show how it will deliver on the objectives and commitments detailed in the Construction Sector Deal, including significant industry investment (some exclusions will apply, refer to Projects we will not fund). Applicants should reference how their projects support the objectives of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) strategy or the Transforming Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES) as appropriate.

Where applicable, your project should use Project 13 and Gemini Principles.

This competition aims to invest in approximately 10 world-leading practical demonstrators. They must establish improvements in productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.

Demonstrators are the application of approaches, deployed at scale, that to improve all aspects of a built assets lifecycle. These will include:

  • validations of new business models
  • digital approaches to design, construction and management
  • advancements in modern methods of construction (MMC)
  • approaches to whole-life performance of a building or assets

The result will be demonstrator projects that improve on the current state-of-the-art in construction, while still demonstrating practical and close-to-market solutions.

We welcome projects by members of the CLC and its working groups and projects that involve government departments and organisations.

The competition closes at midday 12pm GMT on the deadline stated.

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £500,000 and £8 million.

Opens: Wednesday 28 August 2019

Closes: Wednesday 6 November 2019

To find out more click here


ISCF Healthy Ageing Investment Accelerator: round 1

Investors can apply to distribute grant funding from Innovate UK with private equity investment into UK businesses to deliver innovation in the healthy ageing market. Grant funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is inviting UK registered investors to partner with us. Together we will distribute a share of up to £12 million in grants to micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises registered in the UK, alongside private equity capital. Grant funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The aim of this competition is to encourage early private investment in innovative healthy ageing technologies, including products, services and business models. This is phase 1 of a 2 phase competition. The second phase will be open to SMEs to apply for grant funding and equity investment.

The investor partners we select, will work over a 2 year timeframe after we pay them the grant funding (approximately March 2020 to March 2022) to:

  • identify innovative SMEs working in ‘healthy ageing’ technology that are suitable for investment but outside your typical risk preference, which might involve changing your target market
  • help those SMEs deliver a healthy ageing project, with 50% of the total eligible project costs grant funded and the remaining 50% from equity investment into the business

Over a further year (approximately March 2022 to March 2023) the investor partners will manage any remaining grant deployment to ongoing projects.

We will only offer grant funding to SMEs with research and development projects we consider to be highly innovative.

This partnership approach aims to improve access to the financial and commercial support SMEs need to develop and market innovations in the healthy ageing market. Investor partners must provide wider business skills, networks and experience as well as capital investment.

This competition closes at midday 12pm UK time on the deadline stated.

You can apply to receive grant capital of between £1 million and £6 million to distribute to SMEs alongside your equity investment.

Opens: Monday 19 August 2019

Closes: Wednesday 30 October 2019

To find out click here


Business Basics 3: SME technology use (business led trials EoI)

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £2 million to run trials in England to test ways to encourage SMEs to adopt existing productivity-boosting technologies. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will work with Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £2 million in projects.

In this competition we will fund trials which test different approaches to encouraging micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt existing technologies. These must support business and administrative functions, such as payment practices, accountancy and human resources.

This first phase is for expressions of interest (EoI). EoI submissions will be assessed by a panel consisting of BEIS, the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) based at Nesta, and Innovate UK.

If your EoI is successful, you will be invited to submit an application for the full phase.

Closes: Wednesday 4 December 2019

To find out more click here


NatWest - Helping Women turn their ideas into reality

We want to support more women to start businesses, so we've teamed up with Crowdfunder to help you get started. Together we'll help you raise money for your business through crowdfunding, and we'll also provide free coaching, mentoring and opportunities to meet like minded women. What’s more we’re also offering up to 50% of your fundraising target (max. £5,000) in grant funding for certain successful projects.

You can read more about how this works in our eligibility criteria.

UK residents with new UK projects can apply. Eligibility (including type of project), and specific criteria apply. Fees apply, see the help centre for more details.

Deadline: Ongoing

To find out more click here


Microsoft Launches Second AI for Good Accelerator Programme

The Microsoft AI for Good UK Accelerator Programme supports inspiring and innovative organisations that want to create positive social transformation through Artificial Intelligence (AI) in four key areas: Earth, Accessibility, Humanitarian Action and Cultural Heritage.

The programme provides support across Business Development, AI and Social Impact. Successful ventures will participate in a four-month accelerator programme, starting in February 2020, and will benefit from resources, advice and one-to-one support to help them scale their purpose driven AI initiative.

Support comes in the form of in-person and online elements and other benefits and services, including:

  • Two dedicated workspaces at Microsoft for Startups for the duration of the programme, in East London's social tech scene, with access to dedicated spaces for business meetings.
  • A non-equity programme, with up to $25,000 of Azure cloud services credits, depending on previous credits granted.
  • Insights and advice from experts on AI, Technology, commercial development and social impact to take an AI for Good solution / service to the next level.
  • Spotlight at the Microsoft for Startups graduation.
  • Support to explore post-accelerator funding and investment options, and join the Social Tech Trust portfolio, gaining access to a network of leading social tech ventures and advisors.

Applications are accepted from UK-based, purpose-driven ventures with a demonstrable social impact.

Deadline:  15 November 2019

To find out more click here

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