The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented economic turn in global economies. The severity and duration is still yet to be determined. Current estimates suggest a £298bn cost to the UK economy in the current financial year. Investors are understandably extremely nervous in funding innovative “high-risk” / “high-reward” projects in these uncertain times.

Yet, innovation is well recognised as the key to improving economic performance by transforming industries and creating new ones – thus creating world-beating products and processes, as well as new and well paid-jobs to boost the economy.

It is therefore great news to learn that last week, Innovate UK announced that they will be launching to the next round of Smart Grants in August 2020 to boost support for researchers and businesses in all technology areas. Project sizes are expected to be £25k-£2million.

The scope for projects is likely to be:

  • A clear game-changing, innovative and/or disruptive and ambitious idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • An idea that is significantly ahead of others in the field, set for rapid commercialisation
  • a strong and deliverable business plan that addresses (and documents) market potential and needs
  • 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
  • A team, business arrangement or working structure with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • Awareness of all the main risks the project will face (including contractor or equipment failure, recruitment delays, etc) with realistic management, mitigation and impact minimisation plans for each risk
  • Clear, considerable potential to significantly impact the UK economy and/or productivity in a positive way
  • Good value for money, which will always be a consideration in Innovate UK funding decisions.

Unlike, loans there is no need to repay Innovate UK for the financial support, and unlike investments there is no business equity dilution.

Do get in touch if you are interested in accessing such support.