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Innovate UK innovation loans

Fund Name

Innovate UK innovation loans future economy: round 12

Project Length

Up to 5 years

Project Value

£100k - £2m

Deadline

10.01.2024

Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help businesses overcome barriers to their innovations becoming a successful, commercial reality.

Innovate UK is looking for businesses that can demonstrate that their projects have the best potential for the future. The aim is to make a considerable economic impact which results in significant, sustainable business growth.

Specific themes: Net-Zero, Health and Wellbeing, and Next Generation Digital Technologies.

Check Your Eligibility

Fund details

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • a clearly expressed and compelling innovative idea
  • a robust and deliverable business plan that addresses and shows evidence of market potential and needs
  • a team with the necessary skills and experience to run and complete the project successfully and on time, and take the outputs forward
  • 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 and ability to repay the loan
  • why you are unable to fund the project from your own resources or other forms of public or private sector funding
  • 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

Your project can include:

  • prototyping
  • demonstrating
  • piloting
  • testing
  • validation

These can be in environments that represent real-life operating conditions.

Your application will be evaluated on the quality of your project proposal and the suitability of your business to take on a loan.

Specific themes

Net Zero

  • energy
  • impact of industrial processes and use of materials
  • agriculture and food and other sources of emissions
  • capital intensity

Health and wellbeing

  • tackling ill health
  • enhancing wellbeing
  • diet and food

Next generation digital technologies
Technology families

  • advanced materials and manufacturing
  • artificial intelligence digital and advanced computing
  • bioinformatics and genomics
  • engineering biology
  • electronics, photonics and quantum technologies
  • energy and environmental technologies
  • robotics and smart machines

Eligibility

To receive an innovation loan for a new project you must:

  • be a UK-registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • carry out your project from or in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • give evidence that your business is suitable to take on a loan

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

Projects can last up to 5 years, including both the R&D and commercialisation phases. Projects are expected to start by 1 April 2024. Your exact project start date and first innovation loan drawdown will depend on the timing of the final credit committee decision and completion of loan documentation.

Funding

Innovation loans will be:

  • Available for up to 3 years when the project is underway, but the exploitation has not yet started (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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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