28 Apr 2020

UPDATE – £750 million support for innovative businesses from Innovate UK

Matt Symonds

On 23rd April 2020, we watched an online broadcast from Barclays which served as an update and Q&A regarding the new billion-pound initiative from the UK Government to support innovative businesses.

Ian Campbell, Executive Chair at Innovate UK, was on the broadcast and delivered some useful insights into the upcoming £750m Grants and Loans support package that will be delivered by Innovate UK.

Below is a summary of what was discussed on this broadcast. Please note, the full details of these initiatives are yet to be released; therefore, the below points are subject to change.

Existing Innovate UK customers

For existing Innovate UK customers/grant recipients/businesses receiving Innovate UK funding, there are a variety of support options.

The first being a 3-month, no cost extension to your existing grant. This is already in process of being rolled out and is separate to the funding due to be offered through this government support. Ian mentioned that the Innovate UK team are currently working their way through contacting all of the businesses in their portfolio and to please bear with them if you haven’t heard anything yet.

Secondly, there is a pot of £500m due to be offered in 2 different ways:

A question was posed regarding other funding bodies such as BEIS and what support their grant recipients would receive. The answer indicated that grant recipients of other funding bodies may be included under this umbrella of support, but this is NOT confirmed!

New customers

There is an initiative to offer grant funding to businesses that are currently not a customer of Innovate UK.

There is ~£211m available in funding available and will be offered as grants of up to £175k per company. The limit is a maximum grant of £175k due to current de minimis limits.

Furthermore, Ian mentioned that if your grant is worth £50k, Innovate UK are willing to pay the full amount upfront, and if the grant is >£50k, Innovate UK will pay half of the grant value upfront.

Also discussed, but not clarified fully, is the possibility that these grants will be 100% funded, as Ian mentioned that they’re not asking businesses to match fund.

It was said that the “Business-led innovation in response to global disruption (de minimis)” competition ran in April was a ‘pilot scheme’ for these £175k grant competitions.

These grants will be available to businesses of any size and from any industry sector. They will be delivered through Innovate UK competitions. They will be fast-track and expected to have a 1-month turnaround. Ian stated that these competitions are expected to appear within the next 3-4 weeks, on the gov.uk Innovation Funding Service. – We will update you via our newsletter and social media as soon as these go live!

A couple of questions were raised regarding the rules that will apply to these competitions:

  • The Innovate UK rule of maximum 2 applications per project will apply
  • The State Aid – Undertaking in Difficulty tests will apply

Our 2 big questions that are yet to be answered.

  1. Will Innovate UK revisit and reconsider previous applications that scored highly and narrowly missed out on funding?
  2. What will the application form look like? Will it be the usual 10-question application or stick to the similar to the 4-question application we saw for the pilot competition.

What’s next?

There is a further broadcast by Barclays on Thursday this week that is ‘Part 2’. We hope that this second discussion will answer our questions! You can join us in watching this event by using this link.

We will continue to update you as and when we have news regarding this scheme. To receive our newsletters, please sign up at the bottom of this webpage.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

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