Is your innovative business eligible to compete for the latest round of funding?


The Government is building the future of the UK economy around innovation, research and development. So much so that your innovative business can compete for state funding.

That’s not to be sniffed at when many other businesses indifferent sectors are struggling with cashflow or to secure emergency funding to survive the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With the UK formally leaving the EU at the start of the year, the Government’s attention has turned towards investing in innovative businesses operating in science, sustainability or green technologies.

At the time of writing, there are more than a dozen innovation competitions open to businesses in various sectors. Here’s our round-up of three of the best current and future funding competitions for innovative businesses in Q1 2021.

Current opportunities

As mentioned late last year, the latest Smart Grants competition is open to businesses that deliver “game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation” the chance to apply for a share of up to £25m. The competition closes on 26 May.

Until 10 March 2021, innovative organisations that can deliver greener railway use by reducing emissions can apply for a slice of £9m of the Small Business Research Initiative’s Rail Demonstrations competition.

The Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging competition is open to businesses that demonstrate large-scale innovation in relation to plastic packaging used for consumer products. Three practical demonstrators can apply for a share of up to £16muntil 24 March 2021.

Competitions from March 2021

There’s a big drive to reduce carbon emissions in the farming sector and as such, businesses and research organisations can for a share of £5m to conduct feasibility studies to tackle sustainability and achieve net-zero emissions. There’s also a slice of £7m up for grabs for carrying out industrial research to achieve these goals. The Farming Innovation Pathway opens on 1March 2021 and closes on 28 April 2021.

Round two of the Industrial Energy Technology Fund opens on 8 March 2021, offering grants of up to £14mfor the deployment of energy-efficiency technologies. Further grants of up to£50,000 are available to conduct feasibility studies on decarbonisation. The fund is open until 14 July 2021.

Can you solve these issues?

It’s worth keeping an eye on the new UK Research and Innovation website, which has a useful funding finder to help your innovative business get the investment it requires.

There are a raft of loans, grants and fellowships available from around a dozen funding sources. If your team has creative thinking by the bucket load but is being held back by lack of capital, you need to explore every avenue available.

In most cases, a mix of grants, lending, investment and research and development tax relief will go a long way to giving you the freedom to grow.

Get in touch for support with business planning and grant applications.

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