Business-led innovation in response to global disruption

The government has introduced a competition to award innovation by UK businesses.  We set out our summary below.

What it is

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects. The aim of this competition is to support UK businesses to focus on emerging or increasing needs of society and industries during and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

A qualifying innovation project’s total eligible costs must be between £25,000 and £50,000.  The project finance will be in the form of a non-taxable grant.

As this is EU State Aid, you cannot apply if you have received €200,000 in total de minimis aid over a 3 fiscal year period or if the project funding applied for would take you over this. This includes SEIS and EIS fund-raising.

What conditions apply

Your project must:
•    have total eligible costs between £25,000 and £50,000
•    be able to start by 1st June 2020 at the latest
•    be no longer than 6 months in duration
Further funding and support may be provided to outstanding projects.

To apply for finance, you must: 
•    be a UK registered business of any size
•    carry out its project work in the UK
•    intend to deliver the proposed outcomes for UK domestic or global benefit
As a result, sole-traders and partnerships other than an LLP or Scottish LP are not eligible to apply for this competition.  They may however be sub-contractors to your organisation.

A business may make two applications for different projects, but only project per business can be funded.

Permitted scope of projects

A funding application must demonstrate: 
•    a clearly innovative and ambitious idea, which would realistically and significantly meet a societal need that has emerged or increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic or the need of an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted
•    that the applicant has the capacity and capability to deliver the project successfully and on time during the working restrictions of Covid-19
•    the ability to start the project no later than June 2020
•    that the project represents value for money

Specific themes

The competition is specifically looking for innovation in one or more of the following areas 
•    community support services
•    couriers and delivery (rural and/or city based)
•    education and culture
•    entertainment (live entertainment, music, etc.)
•    financial services
•    food manufacture and processing
•    healthcare
•    hospitality
•    personal protection equipment
•    remote working
•    retail
•    social care
•    sport and recreation
•    transport
•    wellbeing

Non-Qualifying Projects 

Project proposals that:

•    do not meet the competition eligibility or scope
•    cannot be undertaken within the working restrictions of Covid-19
•    do not evidence the potential for their proposed innovation to lead to significant and positive economic and/or societal impact, or value for money that will be achieved
•    are resubmissions of previous Innovate UK applications
•    are focused on aquaculture and fisheries, road freight transport or the production of agricultural products (due to de minimis restrictions)
•    would directly duplicate other UK Government activities already underway regarding the current Covid-19 healthcare situation, such as, ventilators and vaccines
•    do not address in their response how any potentially negative outcomes (e.g. on the environment) would be considered
will be automatically rejected.

Key Dates

3 April 2020
Competition opened

17 April 2020 12:00pm
Competition closes

1 May 2020
Applicants notified

How to apply
SRC-Time are one of the South East’s leading accountancy firms in advising businesses in all aspects of their accounting and tax affairs and we can assist in making an application.

Our expert team is available to provide you with advice and can be contacted on 01273 326 556 or you can drop us an email at  or speak with an account manager to get any process started.

SRC-Time Ltd
2nd Floor
Stanford Gate
South Road

T: +44 (0) 1273 326 556
F: +44 (0) 1273 733 827

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