16 Dec 2020

2020 – a year we will never forget!

Sam Stephens

Wow! What a year 2020 has been! As business owners, a nation and a world, we’ve faced a strange year including rapid changes, challenging times and uncertainty. In this blog, we will review 2020 and some expectations for 2021.

TBAT’s growth

Over the past 12 months, TBAT has grown the team for both sales and delivery, with 5 new members joining to support both Grant Funding and R&D Tax Relief. The pandemic has meant that many of the new members are yet to spend a day in the office. Nonetheless, they’ve integrated into the team perfectly through remote working! You can read more about the team expansion in our blog here.

2020 has also seen TBAT take on clients from all over the UK, working in a variety of innovative sectors, helping them to access crucial funding support schemes!

Notably, 2020 has seen some incredible successes for our clients in accessing both Grant Funding and R&D Tax. The team has helped secure more than £15 million in grant funding as well as over £9 million in R&D Tax benefit (based on nearly £100m of R&D spend) and the year isn’t over yet!

To keep in touch with new and existing clients, without the ability to network as we usually would, TBAT implemented a new webinar series to continue raising awareness for businesses about the funding opportunities available and how to access them! Something we hope to continue into 2021, in addition to the return of in-person events. Keep an eye on our events page for the webinars we’ll be running in 2021.


Grant Funding

The increased demand for funding in 2020 has been noticeably vast! Rounds of the Innovate UK Smart Grants have seen more applications than ever before and that has made them more competitive. We’ve seen a rise in enquiries about supporting the application writing process and have assisted many companies obtain the funds they need!

As businesses navigate the uncharted territory of the pandemic and its effects on business finance, seeking Government funding to de-risk innovative projects has become a “no-brainer”. You can find the latest funding opportunities on our Grant Funding page.

R&D Tax Credits

The same can be said for R&D Tax Credits – as businesses seek additional finance avenues to see them through the tough financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, awareness of the R&D Tax Relief schemes has peaked, with more companies interested in finding out if they’re eligible for relatively short term cash back from HMRC.

With the average SME claim ranging from £50,000-£60,000 per year, for work already completed in previous tax years, making an R&D Tax Credit claim can provide a boost in cashflow and allow re-investment. You can find out how much your R&D Tax claim could be worth by using our online R&D Tax Credit Calculator.


Overall, 2020 has been a fantastic year for innovation and R&D; notably driven by the need for new technology, novel vaccines and faster, more efficient ways to manufacture life saving equipment and PPE. Businesses from all over the UK stepped in to help bridge the gap to support our healthcare professionals, providing surplus PPE, and ventilator design. As we approach the end of the year, we have the fantastic and long-awaited news of vaccines becoming available for public use!

In addition, companies all over the country have adapted working practices and made innovative changes to their business and internal processes to allow remote working, socially distanced working and introduced safety measures to ensure they can continue to operate (which if technically challenging, could be eligible for R&D Tax!)

2021 Expectations

As we enter 2021 in a few short weeks, we look to the future, and in particular our expectations for the innovation landscape.

The UK’s transition period of leaving the EU is due to end very soon and we await to see what that will look like for UK business as a whole; for the Grant Funding world, you can read our thoughts and predictions for Horizon Europe and the UK funding landscape in our Post-Brexit blog here.

As the demand for additional business finance is likely to continue into 2021 and beyond, we expect the interest in both Grant Funding and R&D Tax Credits to remain and potentially increase further; especially as the Government supported COVID-19 funding measures are due to come to end!

Managing Director, Matt Symonds, says “What a year! I want to start by saying a huge thanks to the team; the way that they adapted and carried on with gusto was unbelievable and I will be eternally grateful.

Massive thanks also to the clients and networks that have stuck by us during these challenging times; literally, without them we’d be nothing! Looking around at the stresses and strains that everyone inside and outside of work has been going through, I count us very lucky, in that although definitely different, we have been able to carry on and to grow.

I look forward with excitement to 2021 and what it holds, we anticipate challenges, but are confident we have the capability and drive to push through them together. Merry Christmas all from the TBAT team.”

Director, Sam Stephens, adds “Despite 2020 being the most bizarre year on record, most of our clients have survived in-tact with many prospering and growing in these difficult financial times. Innovation has to be a key driver for these companies allowing them to be nimble in their management, exploiting new opportunities and bringing new products and services to market.

We very much look forward working with all in the coming months and years as we work together to grow businesses and ensure the right innovation funding is there at the right time. Well done all!!

The TBAT team has really risen to the occasion – one day, 25 people in the office, the next, everyone working remotely – and they never missed a beat delivering all projects to time and of the highest quality – a fantastic job. Moving on, 2021 will, no doubt, have its own set of challenges as the economy strives to recover and come to terms with the impact of Brexit. TBAT will be there to support companies anyway we can and every step of the way. I can’t wait to meet people face to face, to have a cup of tea or glass of beer with friends, clients and the team, to go networking, travel round the country visiting companies and helping companies to grow and thrive in the future?

Have a great Christmas everyone, enjoy the break, charge those batteries and let’s make 2021 a great year!!”

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