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Innovative companies: get help from the Government’s Future Fund

Two engineers in a laboratory. Photo from Unsplash

On 20 April 2020, the Government announced support worth £1.25 billion for UK businesses driving innovation.

In this post, we explain what’s available, who’s eligible and how to get the money.

What’s available?

  • For high-growth companies negatively affected by coronavirus
    Overall, there’s £500 million available in loans.
    The Government have called this ‘the Future Fund’. It’s made up of £250 million Government money and £250 million from private investors. You’ll be able to apply for between £125,000 and £5 million from the Government, with private investors matching or exceeding the Government’s amount.

  • For small and medium companies focusing on research and development
    There’s £750 million available in grants and loans.

These schemes are separate from the other coronavirus support available from the Government.

How will the Future Fund work?

Future Fund loans will be delivered by the Government in partnership with the British Business Bank.

If your company successfully gets a loan, it will automatically convert into equity on your company’s next qualifying funding round, or if it isn’t repaid, at the end of the loan term.

The Government and British Business Bank will publish more details soon.

How will the support for smaller companies work?

The grants and loans will be delivered by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency. There’s £750 million available for “the most R&D intensive” small and medium size companies.

  • For companies who already get Innovate UK funding
    The agency will fast-track up to £200 million in grants and loans for these 2,500 companies, which will have to opt in. There’s also a further £550 million to support these companies.

  • For companies who don’t currently get Innovate UK funding
    There’s £175,000 available for 1,200 companies.

The Government stated that the first payments will be made by mid-May 2020.

Is your business eligible?

For the Future Fund

To apply for a loan through the Future Fund, your business must:

  • be a registered company based in the UK
  • be unlisted
    (not listed on the stock exchange and with shares not available to the general public for trading) 
  • in the last 5 years, have raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors

The Government haven’t yet announced the full eligibility criteria. When we know more, we’ll update this post.

For the support for small and medium-sized companies

We believe that companies already supported by Innovate UK will be contacted about this extra funding.

There’s £175,000 available for 1,200 companies who don’t already get Innovate UK funding but the eligibility criteria haven’t yet been published. When we know more, we’ll update this post.

When can you apply?

  • The Future Fund
    This will launch in May and be open until the end of September 2020. The Government states it will review the amount of money available.

  • Support for small and medium-sized businesses
    We believe Innovate UK will contact companies who already receive funding from them. Other companies will be able to apply for funding too, but the details of who’s eligible and how and when to apply haven’t yet been published. When we know more, we’ll update this post.

Why are the Government offering this support?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the support would protect companies in some of the most dynamic sectors such as tech and life sciences, so they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth. Sunak said,

“Our businesses driving research and development are one of [the UK’s] great economic strengths, and will help power our growth out of the coronavirus crisis.”

Have your say

How is the coronavirus affecting you and your small business? We’re keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

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Sources

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Suzanne Worthington

Senior Writer

Tide Team

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