Fast Start: Innovation

Key Features

UK registered small and micro businesses can apply for a share of up to £30 million for affordable, adoptable and investable innovations in net zero and Healthcare.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £30 million

Opens: 11th Jul 2022

Closes: 26th Jul 2022

! This scheme is now closed


Innovate UK is offering small and micro businesses a share of up to £30 million in grants alongside tailored business support delivered by Innovate UK EDGE. You can apply for up to £50,000 for highly innovative ideas that have a clear route to commercialisation through business growth.


The aim of this competition is to provide a package of targeted support to enable ambitious UK registered micro and small businesses to reach their potential.

Your proposal must demonstrate how one or more of the seven technology areas outlined in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy UK innovation Strategy will be applied to the specific challenge themes outlined below. The seven technologies are:

  • advanced materials and manufacturing
  • AI, digital and advanced computing
  • bioinformatics and genomics
  • engineering biology
  • electronics, photonics and quantum
  • energy and environment technologies
  • robotics and smart machines

Innovate UK are particularly interested in proposals which will help you:

  • develop both your ambitious idea and your business
  • create a new revenue stream, for example new products, services or IP
  • evidence and enable your market, funding and commercialisation plans
  • show what’s feasible, in helping you decide whether to pursue your idea further
  • catalyse further innovation on your path to commercial success
  • respond to changing market conditions

Innovate UK reserves the right to fund a variety of projects. We call this a ‘portfolio’ approach. The portfolio criteria are:

  • specific challenge themes and technologies
  • project durations
  • project costs, including demonstrating value for money
  • UK regions

Challenge Themes

Your project must focus on how one or more of the seven technology areas outlined above, can enable affordable, adoptable, and investible solutions for either:

Achieving net zero and reducing environmental impact through:

  • user-centric low carbon heating and cooling solutions
  • energy generation, storage, management, and active user engagement approaches to energy efficiency
  • zero emission powertrain system development, and digital solutions to optimise transport
  • environmentally focused manufacturing, supply chains and circular economy solutions

Self-driven healthcare, de-centralised healthcare and mental wellbeing through:

  • prevention and self-management of lifestyle diseases using personalised, intuitive, consumer focused and accessible innovations
  • maximising the utility, safety and security of personal health records, including self-generated data
  • assessing new business models and routes to market for products and services related to self-care and self-management
  • developing innovations that support self-management of mental wellbeing


Your project must:

  • have total project costs between £25,000 and £50,000
  • start by 1 November 2022
  • end by 30 April 2023
  • last between 3 and 6 months in duration
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application. If you exceed the total project costs of £50,000 you will be ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered micro or small business
  • not have previously been awarded funding from Innovate UK
  • not have exceeded your £315,000 limit of de minimis or minimal financial assistance funding during the current and previous 2 fiscal years

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

You can only apply into this competition with 1 application. We will only award grant funding to 1 project per business.

You can be a subcontractor in any number of applications.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

See here for the Eligibility tree regarding the competition.


Innovate UK are not funding projects that:

  • do not meet the competition eligibility or scope
  • cannot be undertaken within the working restrictions of Covid-19
  • do not evidence the potential for their proposed innovation to lead to significant and positive economic or societal impact, or value for money that will be achieved
  • have been funded by Innovate UK previously
  • are not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • are not allowed under Minimal Financial Assistance
  • are dependent on export performance – for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • are dependent on domestic inputs usage – for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Up to £30 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Each organisation can apply for a grant of between £25,000 and £50,000.

You can claim 100% of your eligible project costs up to the maximum of £50,000. We will aim to pay:

  • 70% of the grant within a month of your agreed project start date
  • A further 20% to be paid in arrears after approval of your 70% claim and evidence received for your 20% claim
  • the remaining 10% of the grant 10 to 14 days after Innovate UK approve your claim

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.