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Innovate UK -funding update, with something for the creative sector

Innovate UK has recently released details of some new loans and grant competitions, including one aimed at businesses in the creative sector and I have picked out some of the key details below which  I think could be of interest.

I would recommend signing up to receive emails from Innovate UK and checking out their website from time to time – specifically the pages detailing funding competitions.  See links below.

Innovation Loans

These are not new in themselves, but a new competition is open and there is an Applicant Briefing Webinar on Thursday 20 May at 10am – “to find out what Innovation Loans are and what we are looking for when we assess your applications”.

Headlines for this competition

  • Innovate UK has up to £20m available in Innovation Loans for SME businesses looking to scale and grow through innovation, developing new or improved products, processes or services
  • Loans between £250,000 and £1.6m are available to fund later stage research and development with a clear route to commercial success for suitable businesses
  • The Innovation Loans competition closes for applications on Wednesday 2 June at 11am
  • Full details at link

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Projects mentioned include:

Driving the Electric Revolution: Supply Chains for Net Zero


UK registered businesses of any size can apply for a share of up to £22 million for innovation projects focused on supply chain development for power electronics, electric machines and drives


Competition closes: 11am on 30 June 2021

UKRI’s net zero webinar series


UKRI has announced a webinar series focused on how innovation, collaboration and engagement will come together to help the UK reach net zero by 2050. Dates run until November 2021.


Other funding opportunities

The list of open Innovate UK funding opportunities can be found via link or link

These include:

Clean maritime demonstration: strand 1

Clean maritime demonstration: strand 2

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £10 million for innovative clean maritime and smart shipping projects.

(Close:  11am on 2 June 2021)

Innovate UK Smart Grants: Jan 2021


Opportunity for UK registered organisations to apply for a share of up to £25 million from Innovate UK to deliver game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. (Closes: 11am on 26 May 2021)
Creative industries fund: fast start business growth pilot



UK registered micro and small businesses in the creative sector can apply for a package of support to grow their business. This package includes ongoing support from Innovate UK EDGE and funding of up to £25,000 for innovation projects.

To lead a project your organisation must be a UK registered micro or small business that has not previously received funding from InnovateUK.   See further below.

(Closes 11am on 16 June 2021)

Creative industries Fund

I think the grant aimed at the creative sector is the one that particularly sparked my interest. Not only do we have a number of clients in this sector, but also the fact that a project could secure 100% funding, with payment of the majority in advance (i.e. to cash flow the project) makes it really interesting.

The projects being sought are those:

  • offering a clearly innovative and ambitious idea
  • adding something new to your business, with a demonstrable impact to your growth plan
  • creating a new revenue stream, for example new products, services or IP
  • responding to the changing market conditions, such as new modes of audience consumption, or the adoption of new technologies within the sector
  • which will be market ready within 12 months of receiving support
  • which will be able to start rapidly
  • which represent value for money

Creative industries are defined by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), your project must focus on one or more of the following subsectors:

  • advertising and marketing
  • architecture
  • arts and culture
  • broadcasting including sport
  • crafts
  • design
  • fashion
  • film
  • games
  • music
  • publishing

PKF Francis Clark

As any of you who have read one of our blogs on grant funding for R&D funding will be anticipating, I suggest that you speak to one of tax team who specialise in R&D Tax Credits at an early stage of your grant application to understand the interaction between the two.

Also, if projections are required and / or any advice on business structure and/ or complementary fund raising, then please do not hesitate to contact me or your usual point of contact at PKF Francis Clark.

FEATURING: Aaron Lawes
Aaron is a Partner based in our Poole office overseeing the client service team, advising on management accounts and cloud accounting systems, cash flow forecasting,… read more
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