Innovation continuity loans: Strand 2 November 2020 follow-on competition

Key Features

Innovate UK can provide additional COVID-19 innovation continuity loans for the continuation of planned or existing innovation activity for applicants who have a new project that follows on from a project with an Innovate UK award that was completed in the last 36 months.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £1.6 million per project

Opens: 5th Nov 2020

Closes: 13th Jan 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The purpose of this competition is to help businesses and third sector organisations overcome barriers to their innovations becoming a successful, commercial reality, particularly where they find themselves facing a sudden shortage or even unavailability of funds resulting directly from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Your proposed project must follow on from a recently completed project supported by an award from Innovate UK ending within the last 36 months. Innovate UK are looking for organisations who can demonstrate that their recently completed projects with Innovate UK have made the best progress in innovation and that their follow-on projects have the best potential for the future.

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clear game-changing and/or disruptive innovative idea
  • a robust and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
  • a team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • awareness of all the main risks the project and business will face, with realistic plans to manage, mitigate and minimise the impact of each of these
  • sound, practical financial plans and timelines that represent good value for money
  • a clear, evidence-based plan to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, as soon as possible after project completion

Innovate UK are looking for applications that show:

  • an appropriate and evidenced loan request
  • a clear route to commercial success with clear, considerable potential to make a significant and positive impact on the UK economy and/or productivity
  • realistic, significant potential for global markets
  • a strong management team
  • a strong rationale for how your project enhances the output of a recently completed project supported by an award from Innovate UK
  • evidence of impact from the COVID-19 pandemic such as reduced access to capital, cancelled orders or increases to your costs
  • why you are unable to fund the project from your own resources or other forms of public or private-sector funding amidst the current financing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • that this funding will enable the project to be carried out despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic


This competition will not be providing Innovation continuity loans to organisations:

  • to continue and complete a live project with an Innovate UK award
  • to carry out entirely new project activity

Innovate UK will not provide funds to match the grant funding of any other projects you are currently or looking to be involved in.


To take on an innovation continuity loan for a follow on project you must:

  • be a UK registered SME or third sector organisation
  • have successfully completed a project supported by an Innovate UK award in the last 36 months
  • carry out your project in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • give evidence that your organisation is suitable to take on a loan

Individuals, academic institutions, research organisations and large companies are not eligible for innovation loans.

Only single businesses or third sector organisations can receive loans, so collaboration with other organisations cannot be funded in this competition.

Funding Costs

Innovate UK will offer loans of between £250,000 and £1.6 million. This is based on your project proposal and their judgement of the suitability and affordability of a loan for your organisation. The Innovate UK Loans Ltd credit committee will decide the final terms, amount and length of the loan offer.

Innovation continuity loans will be:

  1. available up to 31st March 2022 or until the agreed end date of your project if earlier (the ‘availability period’). You can borrow in stages (‘drawdowns’) during this period and will pay interest at 3.7% per annum on anything you borrow, with additional interest at 3.7% accrued and deferred until the repayment period.
  2. extended until the first commercial sales from the results of the project, up to a maximum of 2 further years (the ‘extension period’) after the end of the availability period. You will not be able to make further drawdowns during this period. You will not have to make repayments but you will pay interest on the amount you have borrowed at 3.7% per annum, with additional interest at 3.7% accrued and deferred until the repayment period.
  3. repayable over a maximum of 5 years (the ‘repayment period’) after the availability and extension periods. You will have to repay anything you have borrowed, including interest accrued and deferred from the availability and extension periods, on a quarterly schedule. You will pay interest at 7.4% per annum on the outstanding loan amount.