The Government and Innovate UK have announced a future round of the Smart grant programme and Innovation Loans that will allow the UK’s most innovative businesses access a share of £125 million to help them turn their most innovative ideas into world-beating products and services.
Large and small businesses can take advantage of £100 million available from the Smart grant programme that helps take innovative ideas in any field from the concept stage to full commercialisation.
Previous winners of a Smart award include machine-learning company Magic Pony Technology, which was sold to Twitter for $150 million.
A further £25 million is available in Innovation Loans to support late-stage projects that are close to market. The loans scheme is aimed at getting businesses over the final hurdle to commercialisation. Recent recipients include Exeter-based Lightfoot, which is using the loan to extend its technology to reward better driving from the business to the consumer market.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Through our modern Industrial Strategy we are backing our homegrown businesses to boost productivity and create jobs, growth and opportunity in every part of the UK.”
Many UK businesses have benefited from funding to support innovative UK projects. They include digital risk business Digital Shadows, which has raised £20 million in private investment to support its innovation developed through a Smart award, and Oxehealth, which has used Innovate UK funding to develop improved patient care by combining computer algorithms with optical sensors.
Dr Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, added: “Smart grants are an excellent way of supporting innovation in single companies or, generating collaborations between companies, working with our world-class research base.
“Our Innovation Loans suit late-stage-development businesses about to become, or just becoming, revenue earning. Both are awarded to projects that will make a real impact on the UK economy.”
The Smart programme has a rolling programme of awards throughout the year.