Category: Financeinvestment

Government Extends Customs Grants Deadline Through EU Exit Transition Period

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs support funding. The scheme, first announced in September 2019, had been due to close at the end of last month. To date, applications have been made for around £18.5 million out of a possible £26 million, meaning there is at least £7.5 million left to claim from HMRC.

As well as supporting recruitment and improved IT capability, the money applied for so far could potentially fund nearly 15,000 training courses to help traders submit customs declarations.

During the transition period following the UK’s departure from the EU – from 1 February to 31 December 2020 – there will be no change to the way businesses trade with the EU.

Businesses that complete customs declarations now have until 31 January 2021

To find out more click here

UK Seafood Innovation Fund Launches for Second Round

The Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF) is a three-year, £10 million research and development (R&D) fund, designed to boost innovation in the UK fishing and seafood industries.

The programme focuses on delivering longer term, cutting-edge innovation across the seafood sector, helping to take innovative ideas from early stage research to commercial viability. It will foster, encourage and financially support innovative technologies and methods to support more sustainable and productive fisheries and seafood production.

The programme has an overall budget of £10 million. There are two funding options for applicants; either smaller feasibility studies or larger, full R&D projects.

Feasibility studies are designed to test new ideas (proof of concept) and can be up to a maximum £50,000 over three months in duration. Applicants will be expected to apply for full R&D funding if a successful outcome is delivered at the end of the feasibility stage. Full R&D projects are for more developed ideas that can be delivered in up to a maximum of £250,000 over 18 months.

This is an open competition, with UK businesses from all sectors invited to apply. Applications for collaborative projects that include both seafood sector organisations and technology businesses are encouraged. The applicant’s products must benefit the sustainability and productivity of the seafood industry.

Closes: 20 April 2020

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Final H2020 Call for EIC Pathfinder FET Innovation LaunchPad Open

The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Innovation LaunchPad aims to turn results from FET funded projects into societal or economic innovations. Up to €100,000 is available to support short actions focused on the non-scientific aspects and the early stages of turning a FET result into a genuine innovation with socio-economic impacts.

The FET Innovation LaunchPad encourages activities such as defining a commercialisation process, market and competitiveness analysis, technology assessment, verification of innovation potential, consolidation of intellectual property rights, business case development.

Proposals can include activities with, for instance, partners for technology transfer, license-takers, investors and other sources of financing, societal organisations or potential end-users.

For the last Innovation Launchpad call under the Horizon 2020 framework programme, beneficiaries will declare costs based on lump sums of up to €0.1 million for each grant.

Support is available to innovators from all EU Member States, countries associated to the EU Horizon 2020 programme, and to innovators from all parts of the world who establish their activities in Europe.

Closes:  14 October 2020

To find out more click here

Cyber security academic startup accelerator programme year 4: phase 1

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, to invest up to £800,000 in innovative cyber security ideas coming from an academic research base.

The aim of this competition is to identify the best commercial opportunities. Your proposal must include the area of your research, the problem that you are solving and your proposed solution.

You must be based in a UK academic institution, have a cyber security idea and be interested in commercialising it.

CyberASAP is a 1-year programme. Phase 1 will last up to 4 months, split into 2 stages:

  1. An initial 2 months for value proposition development activities, followed by a presentation to an independent judging panel who will select teams to go to stage 2.
  2. A further 2 months for market validation activities.

Phase 1 will determine the value of the idea and, if appropriate, identify the best commercial route to progress. The programme will be supported by industry experts, including some from cyber security.

Opens: 10 February 2020

Closes: 4 March 2020

To find out more click here

UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability

The UK and Canada are running a joint funding competition to support collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects, to develop new products, processes and services. Projects must target improvement to the productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems.

We want applicants to deliver integrated precision approaches and data driven solutions to support the transition to a net zero-emission industry by 2040.

We welcome proposals:

  • combining digital technologies, artificial intelligence, the application of big data and engineering solutions with biological, environmental and/or social science to drive productivity
  • developing technologies and solutions that connect farms and supply chains
  • transferring technology from another sector into agriculture, providing this requires innovation

The national funding bodies (NFBs) will fund their respective participants in the projects.

Opens: 27 January 2020

Closes: 20 May 2020

To find out more click here

Demonstrators addressing cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things: round 2

Innovate UK is to invest up to £4 million in collaborative, business led research and development (R&D) projects. These projects should result in a new product or products, industrial process or service, which must be proven in as part of a demonstrator.

This funding is from UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).

The aim of this competition is to solve industry-focused major cyber security-related challenges in the Internet of Things (IoT). We will show preference to projects that include a plan to test near-to-market interventions and experiments in real environments.

Your proposal must address one of the following 2 themes:

  • Cyber resilient IoT systems for critical national infrastructures.
  • Secure and energy-efficient IoT systems in resource-constrained environments.

Opens: 27 January 2020

Closes: 15 April 2020

To find out more click here

SBRI rail demonstrations: first of a kind 2020

This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition and is open to organisations of all sizes from the UK, EU, or EEA. The aim of the competition is to demonstrate innovations to stakeholders and railway customers in a representative railway environment.

This competition has 4 themes: environmental sustainability, customer experience, optimised railway operations, and optimised and cost-effective maintenance.

The assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation. The contract will be awarded to the lead applicant. Other organisations can only be involved in the project as subcontractors.

Funding type: Procurement

Project size: We expect to fund projects with total eligible costs between £100,000 and £400,000, including VAT.

Opens: 13 January 2020

Closes: 4 March 2020

To find out more click here

Materials Science Venture Competition Invites Entries for 2020

The Materials Science Venture Prize is an annual competition provided by the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. The aim of the programme is to reward and celebrate the best in the field of materials science. The contest will offer a £25,000 first prize to help the winning entrant commercialise and exploit innovative early-stage research, eg producing a proof of concept prototype which can be shown to potential customers.

The competition is open to all UK-based materials scientists, whether they are linked to a major university department or private business.

Interested scientists are asked to submit an entry form and a business plan outlining their idea.

Deadline: 16 March 2020

To find out more click here

ISCF smart sustainable plastic packaging: feasibility studies and industrial research

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1 million from the Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Programme for early-stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.

Your project must aim to: help make the plastics packaging supply chain more circular, deliver the targets of the UK Plastics Pact, improve on current state-of-the-art plastic packaging, while still demonstrating practical and close-to-market solutions.

Your proposal must: show how your project supports the objectives of the Pact and delivers systemic change, clearly explain how you would reduce the UK plastic packaging system’s overall environmental impact.

We welcome projects across one or more of the following 4 areas: Materials, Design, Technology or process, Business model or behaviour change.

Funding type: Grant

Project size: Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £30,000 and £100,000.

Opens: 13 January 2020

Closes: 1 April 2020

To find our more click here

Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020

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 areas this is not a requirement, as we are also keen to support projects in other areas.

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

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

In this competition all projects awarded funding must upload evidence for each expenditure with every claim made. These might include invoices, timesheets, receipts or spreadsheets for capital usage. This is part of Innovate UK’s obligations under the Managing Public Money government handbook in relation to assurance, financial management and control.

Funding type:Grant

Project size: Duration between 6 and 18 months and total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £500,000: can be single or collaborative. Duration between 19 and 36 months and total eligible project costs between £25,000 and £2 million: must be collaborative.

Opens: 10 January 2020

Closes: 22 April 2020

To find out more click here

IUK Launches Developing the UK's Low Carbon Automotive Capability Competition (APC 15)

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is investing through the ‘Developing the UK's Low Carbon Automotive Capability (APC 15)’ funding competition, in partnership with the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK (IUK) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Projects must concentrate on the automotive market as its primary application. APC 15 is looking for: projects that support the UK’s long-term capabilities through securing long-term R&D investment; and projects that can be achieved through its associated supply chain in the design, build and manufacture of zero tailpipe emission vehicles.

Projects will preferably deliver both, to ensure the UK meets the future demand of vehicle-makers.

APC has allocated up to £30 million to match fund innovation projects in this competition. A project’s total eligible costs must be 50% match funded and between £5 million and £40 million. Applicants must request the minimum amount of funding needed for their project.

Projects must be led by a business working in partnership with others and must include an SME and a vehicle manufacturer or tier 1 supplier. To collaborate on a project, an applicant must be a UK based business, academic organisation, or research and technology organisation (RTO). They should carry out the project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.

Deadline:  4 March 2020.

To find out more click here

ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: feasibility studies

Up to £15 million of grant funding is available through the Transforming Food Production Science and Technology into Practice programme. We are running 2 strands through this competition: feasibility study projects and demonstration projects. It is your responsibility to make sure you are applying for the correct strand.

Your feasibility study must:

  • evaluate the early stage feasibility of precision solutions to transform food production
  • work with end users, such as farmers and producers
  • evaluate, in practice, the potential of early stage ideas that address industry identified problems
  • consider both the technical feasibility and the feasibility of the business model
  • consider the route to adoption
  • enable decisions to be made on the future development of the solution.

Opened: 18 November 2019

Closes: 26 February 2020

To find out more click here

ISCF TFP science and technology into practice: demonstration

Up to £15 million of grant funding is available through the Transforming Food Production Science and Technology into Practice programme. We are running 2 strands through this competition: feasibility study projects and demonstration projects. It is your responsibility to make sure you are applying for the correct strand.

Your demonstration project must:

  • demonstrate the viability of combinations of precision solutions to transform food production
  • demonstrate solutions across different production environments, to encourage their widespread use
  • work with end users
  • produce evidence of technical feasibility and economic viability at commercial scale

Opened: 11 November 2019

Closes: 26 February 2020

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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.

Applications can be made at any time.

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. 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.

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

£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.

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 and 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,  industrial leadership and societal challenges.

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.

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.

Applications may be submitted at any time. Interested parties are asked to complete a form on the funder’s website. They may also email or call the funder on 020 7064 8911 to discuss participation in the programme.

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.

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

EMFF Blue Economy Window Call Open to Applications

Grants supported under the Blue Economy Window Call for Proposals 2019 will address the challenge of developing and bringing to market new products, services, and business models for SMEs that could ultimately create profitable activities. This will be part of a new comprehensive service package offered by the ‘BlueInvest platform’ that supports investment readiness and access to finance for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups in the blue economy. These grants will support projects that accelerate innovation in the blue economy, demonstrate high potential in terms of company competitiveness and growth underpinned by a strategic business plan and which aim to create and maintain high quality jobs in the blue economy. Projects need to involve in particular the sustainable use of marine resources for innovative and/or circular economic activities and contribute to healthy oceans and Europe’s ‘Green Deal’. They may include deploying, demonstrating, or scaling-up new solutions for the blue economy including technologies, service applications. Applicants must be for-profit SMEs legally established in EU Member States.

Applications can be submitted by a consortium of partners or a single applicant. The consortium coordinator or the single applicant submitting the application must be established in an EU Member State.

The total budget for the call is €22.5 million.

The deadline for applications is 27 February 2019.

To find out more click here

EU Prize for Women Innovators

The European Commission has launched the 2020 edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. First run in 2011, the Prize aims to encourage more women to exploit the commercial and business opportunities offered by their research projects and to become entrepreneurs.

Although women are more and more active in research, the number of women who create innovative enterprises is still disproportionately low. Europe needs to unleash this potential to remain competitive and find solutions to key challenges such as climate change, energy and resource efficiency, health and so on.

The EU Prize for Women Innovators was established to address this, and offers three prizes to women who have made significant impact on the innovation ecosystem by transforming ideas into new and advanced products and/or services for the benefit and wealth of European citizens. A single prize will also be made to an exceptional entrepreneur aged 35 or younger in a 'rising innovator' category.

The Prize is open to women who have founded or co-founded their company, which must have been registered before 1 January 2018. The contestant must reside in an EU Member State or a country associated to Horizon 2020.

Opens: 11th February 2020

Closes: 21st April 2020

To find out more click here

Launch of 2020 ECSEL JU Calls

The ECSEL Joint Undertaking, the Public-Private Partnership for Electronic Components and Systems, funds Research, Development and Innovation projects for world-class expertise in these key enabling technologies, essential for Europe's competitive leadership in the era of the digital economy. Through the ECSEL JU, the European industry, SMEs and Research and Technology Organisations are supported and co-financed by 30 ECSEL Participating States and the European Union.

ECSEL JU has launched three concurrent Calls for Proposals for Innovation Actions (ECSEL-IA); Research and Innovation Actions (ECSEL-RIA); and an ECSEL-JU Coordination and Support Action (CSA). These are the final ECSEL JU Calls to be issued under Horizon 2020.

The funding budget for these Calls is €163 million. This is matched with a roughly equal amount of funding from the ECSEL Participating States and investments made by the participants themselves.

The ECSEL JU Programme is open to any organisation that can make a contribution to the RD&I objectives of the programme, although there are specific eligibility criteria relevant in each ECSEL Participating State.

Closes: 5 September 2020

To find out more click here



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